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Featured Artist: Ezekiel Honig

by Maria Papadomanolaki on May 9th, 2011

"Folding In On Itself" (2011, Type Records)

Ezekiel Honig is a NY based music producer, sound artist and founder of two respected labels – Anticipate and Microcosm – well known in the circles of music connoisseurs and art enthusiasts. Many people, including myself, have fully embraced his solo work with the beautiful and enigmatic “Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band” (Anticipate, 2008). Aside from having released six studio albums and an equal amount of singles/EPs and splits/collaborations since 2003, Honig has also been producing sound for picture as well as being a constructive audio thinker.

Ezekiel has generously shared his latest release with me on a rainy Thursday afternoon of April. From the first seconds of this recording I immediately sensed that I am entering a very private territory.  It brought me to a place that was warm, organic, and, strangely enough, familiar. The sounds coming from Honig’s latest album blended exceptionally well with the moody cityscape outside my window as if they were the reflecting voices of the neighboring buildings or the sighs and the pulses of the passers-by. “Folding In On Itself” carries Honig’s signature sound but its textural palette tells a more personal story that ties the artist to the city he inhabits and the city respectively becomes the skin and bone of Honig’s aural canvas. A minor difference worth noting compared to his earlier offerings is that Folding In On Itself is released under the Type imprint, home to artists like Xela, Helios, Goldmund, Deaf Center, Mokira and Rene Hell among others.

Folding In On Itself Record Release Party is on May 12 at Littlefield. The bill also includes a DJ set by John Xela (founder of Type) as well as a set by Borne. More info about the event can be found here.

MP: Does “Folding In On Itself” summarize your personal soundprint within the collective memory of this city and its past?

Ezekiel Honig: Well, it’s a tiny sliver of that, an example of moving through cities.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling it a summary, but more a version of it.  Similarly, although New York City dominates the album, there are moments from Torun, Poland, and Milan, Italy as well.  In a way, any city serves the purpose and the symbolism, even though the heart of it and the majority of the outdoor sounds do originate in New York.  I recorded all the original sounds so it’s all remapping experience, wherever I was when the recordings happened. Continue Reading More »

Featured Artists: Deaf Center

by Maria Papadomanolaki on April 19th, 2011

Deaf Center (Image: John Twells)

Behind the alias of Deaf Center are Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland, too pals from Norway. They are equally fascinated and inspired by the lights of the cities, an atmospheric walk in the empty forests of Norway, the dark yet disarming emotional contour of the movies of David Lynch or Kubrick. Erik has recently moved to Berlin where Deaf Center recorded, within three days, their latest album Owl Splinters, in Nils Frahm’s studio. He also runs Miasmah one of the most distinguished labels of experimental music and has being releasing solo work under a variety of monikers, the most prominent Svarte Greiner (Black Leaves in English). Otto has also been actively producing work for Nest, among others, as well as taking care of his home in Norway. I first encountered their music when exposed to the beautiful sincerity of Pale Ravine (Type Records, 2005). I was impressed by the density of their modern classical-ambient soundscapes, knowing that both considered themselves classically untrained or to be more specific self-taught musicians.

I had the chance to see them perform live here in New York as part of this year’s Unsound Festival’s Beyond the Dark – a tribute event for the music of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki at Judson Church in Manhattan. Erik has also performed as Svarte Greiner with Polish-German percussionist Paul Wirkus on the live soundtrack for Murnau’s German Expressionist classic “Nosferatu”.

In the following questions I try to focus on Deaf Center’s creative process, their thoughts about computer sequencing as opposed to live instrumental performances, and the power of words in their music-making. Continue Reading More »

Unsound Festival NY 2011 Recap

by Helen Homan Wu on April 12th, 2011

Ben Frost, Daniel Bjarnason, Sinfonietta Cracovia with film manipulations by Brian Eno & Nick Robertson (Photos: Stephen Cardinale for Unsound Festival)

It has been a highly provocative and musically charged past week and a half. For those who have been following Artcards Review, I’ve been covering Unsound Festival 2011 here in NYC since its opening on April 1st.  And yesterday was the final wrap up of an entire week and a half of experimental music and sonic arts events. The shows were aesthetically diverse and seemed to have opened up new pathways for a lot of local sound art enthusiasts. Besides igniting interest through cross-cultural collaborations, audiences also got a chance to get a closer look at the artists’ practices through “conversations” during Unsound Labs. In retrospect, Unsound 2011 seemed to have a much less focus on electronic music per se, with a more diverse palette on genres ranging from Iceland’s Ben Frost and Sinfonietta Cracovia, to Lustmord and Deaf Center, both deep, dark, and ambient in its own ways, to the Bunker nights of techno music to the finale disco party by local hosts Kiss & Tell. Even though I wanted to attend it all (trust me, I penciled it all in my calendar), I would not have been able to write this recap if I did. But apparently Stephen Cardinale, Unsound’s official photographer shot through the entire week of events, and here it is below. Continue Reading More »

Unsound Festival New York 2011

by Helen Homan Wu on March 29th, 2011

As we approach the horizon of the 2011 Unsound Music Festival NY, I can feel the anticipation building up. If you are a fan of electronic music and sonic arts, like I am, you probably know that Europe (particularly Germany) is the place to be. Beginning April 1st, New York folks will be in for a treat.  It was only until a few weeks ago that the 2011 program has been announced, but it was well worth the wait.  Last year’s line-up was amazing, but this year’s will not disappoint. The Festival officially opens on April 6th, with a preliminary week of screenings and lectures opening on April 1st under Unsound Festival NY Labs.

View full program and artists here.

Genre in Music

by Ezekiel Honig on October 20th, 2010

Honig performing at "Happy Oasis" (Photo: Jenna Duffy)

Our guest contributor Ezekiel Honig is a composer of ambient music, a sound artist and designer, an electronic music producer, and founded the music labels Anticipate and Microcosm. He recently scored music for the film “Florent: Queen of the Meat Market” (2010).  Last month Zeke performed at “Happy Oasis” a show that I produced, proved to be a smooth and yielding experience to work with a truly professional music artist. As we’ve been exchanging thoughts and philosophizing on art, music and life, I invited him to write a column focusing on just that–music. In the following words Zeke amplifies his thoughts and different takes as a music artist on the definition of “Genre.” Continue Reading More »

Sleeping in Public

by Megan Seelie on July 30th, 2010

A tall slight man carried a blank sign through the sea of seated people silencing them in his wake. Then Liz Harris, of the music project Grouper, trickled through the crowd and the sounds began cascading down from the cement balconies that comprise the University of Berkeley’s Art Museum. Grouper’s installation performance piece SLEEP is part two of four Friday night ‘Gatherings’ curated by David Wilson at the Berkeley Art Museum. In this performance Liz Harris uses tape-collage, live instruments and the cavernous architecture of the Berkeley Art Museum to create a ‘downward-pulling current, lulling with the hiss and resonating pulse of watery sound and light’.

Continue Reading More »

unitxt by Alva Noto featuring poet Anne-James Chaton

by Helen Homan Wu on May 19th, 2010

When I was told that Alva Noto would be performing at the Kitchen last night, I braved it to Chelsea just in time before he started his set. Carsten Nicolai a.k.a. Alva Noto is a minimalist sound artist, post-techno electronic musician. I started following his work since his early collaborations with Sakamoto Ryuichi. What I didn’t realize is that Mr. Nicolai also produces visuals. Last night’s performance was mind-blowing, literally, the heavily broken beats, blips, and prolonged static are sounds from faxes, modems and the telephone. They were in sync with the intense visuals which was manipulated real-time by Mr. Nicolai himself. There is something quite ecstatically surreal in this work in which he uses old technologies (with recordings by poet Anne-James Chaton) that throws you off the chair. It is the art of minimal simulation to the max. The show is presented by the Pace Gallery.  More photos to come.