Mecha/Orga ~ 41:38

41-38It’s always a temptation to revisit previous works ~ to tinker with the words or sounds, to edit, to re-write or re-record.  This is especially true in the digital age, when such things can happen quicker than ever before and be shared in an instant.  Yiorgis Sakellariou went back to two older, unedited works and created a pair of sound collages, which is now 41:38.  (Guess how long it is!)  Without hearing the original versions, it’s difficult to tell if they have been improved; suffice it to say that one track is okay and the other is amazing.  Helpfully, the album only costs half the price of a normal disc.

Unfortunately only the earlier sample is streaming online.  The untitled piece offers long stretches of constant chortle, offset by areas of soft sprinkle.  While dynamic contrast is present, the elongation of segments makes it a difficult piece to enjoy on subsequent listens.  The ear is drawn to the “standout sound” at 6:55, perhaps that of a subway car reaching its last stop.  This is also the beginning of the quiet drone, which gradually builds for five minutes until it is vanquished by jackhammer tones.  Somehow the elusive silence takes shape again, guiding the listener to the end of the piece.

Track 02 is a different beast, and perhaps Sakellariou presents two types of works in order to explore their contrast.  The second rises from the quietude of the first, yet it swiftly develops into a study of resonance, with objects struck and dragged along the way.  Some ring, some echo, and some produce dead timbres devoid of reverberation.  A rising drone is again apparent, linking the two pieces; but the second possesses so many different timbres that it comes across as a buffet instead of a fixed menu.  This is where Mecha/Orga finds his strength, heavy on the “Mecha”.  By the fifth minute, the piece has already produced more menace than the entire preceding track.

At 5:46, a different sort of subway sound is produced: screeching, clacking, adjusting, as active as the previous sample was passive.  It’s the sound of humans in the machine.  (We hear the actual humans a minute later.)  This is superlative sound design, reminiscent at times of Slavek Kwi and Tarab.  Track 02 alone makes the album worth the price of admission: it’s one of the densest, most dramatic pieces we’ve heard in quite some time.  By the time the subway sounds reemerge in the twelfth minute, we’ve been taken on a journey deep into the boiler room of a factory and back.  We’re checking our arms for scars, and the floor for fallen gears.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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