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Aural hallucinations

KEITH BRAMICH listens to the
95% post consumer sound
of Ellen Band

XI Records    XI 124

Ellen Band: 90% post consumer sound (c) 2000 XI Records

'No sound is ordinary', writes Ellen Band, 'and all sounds, whether pleasing or irritating, are worthy of attention.' Five nominally ordinary sets of sounds come under her spotlight on this disc.

Railroad Gamelan (1992), for example [listen -- track 1, 5:59-7:01], which begins the disc, is a collage of the sounds of railroad crossing bells, traffic, horns, hooters and trains, recorded and presented in a way which encourages the listener to notice the sounds for what they really are, to revel in the patterns and the details, rather than dismissing them for what they normally represent.

Tim Perkis, one of five writers contributing to a fascinating CD booklet, coins the term 'Aural hallucinations' -- an accurate description for what Ellen creates from these field recordings of natural sounds. In Swinging Sings (1992) she juxtaposes the sounds of a squeaking child's swing with those of violins, bowed in a manner that produces a similar sound to the swing. The binaurally recorded Minimally Tough (1997), possibly the most spooky of these pieces, is created by five (otherwise silent) 'performers', moving their arms whilst wearing leather jackets [listen -- track 5, 7:49-8:35].

Inhabiting the same kind of perceptual world as (and influenced by) Cage and American minimalism, you may love it, hate it or just find it confusing ... but is it music?

Copyright © 5 October 2002 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


Ellen Band - 90% Post Consumer Sound

XI 124 ADD Binaural 60'53" 2000 XI Records

Ellen Band, violin; Adele Armin, RAAD violin, Jen Barnicoat, Donna Coppola, Dane Johnson, Jeremy Keller, Nuko Luomo

Railroad Gamelan (1992); Swinging Sings (1992); Radiatore (1998); Closet Bird (1976) (excerpt); Minimally Tough (1997)



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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews