Anders Dahl, sound image other.

Album cover

Anders Dahl - Doorbells

Label: Bombax bombax
Format: CD-r, Limited Edition, Screen-printed fold-out
Release Date: Released September 2008.
Web: bombaxbombax.com/records/record/doorbells

Tracks

  1. Doorbell, feedback, tapes, electronics (26:12)
  2. Doorbell, tuning fork, crotale, clarinet, recorder, pitch pipe, bouzouki, guitar, electronics (20:33)
  3. Doorbell, electronics, toy piano, sitar, tapes (16:23)

Reviews

The Wire

As I put this disc in the CD player I began to wonder idly if there are many albums that have been inspired by Jehovahs Witnesses or the Avon Lady. Actually, the doorbells that Dahl used to create these three tracks over a four-year period are rarely directly audible or recognizable as such, since the alerting sound is set amongst and modified by electronics, feedback, tape, toy piano, tuning fork, pitch pipe and a number of conventional instruments, albeit not used in a conventional manner. If memory serves, it was Derek Bailey who used to point out that, even if you knew he was perfectly capable of playing Cherokee or I Got Rhythm, it was hardly likely to alter your reaction to his free improvising. Likewise, the origin of the sounds on Doorbells is really only of academic interestbut I like to know these things.

Dahl plays with spatial placement, so that after an initial listen I switched from speakers to headphones, curious to know how different the music would sound inside my head. The drawback with this was that long passages of high frequencies caused overload, even for my ancient ears. The neigbours dogs were fascinated, though.

Each piece is founded principally on sustained tones, some with a vaguely Industrial caste, others suggesting breath, mostly evoking Tibetan singing bowls, but there are many underlying incidents of varying durations. The second piece is divided into `movements by short passages of silence or near-silence (those upper frequencies linger tenaciously among the cavities and ear-bones) but without losing the concentration built up by preceding sounds. The third surprises with a prelude that could be a vinyl run-out groove on an unearthed, poorly-damped turntable, though I assume it isnt.
Earlier flippant remarks notwithstanding, Im a sucker of long standing for this kind of self-reflective, timbre-nurturing electroacoustic creation. The album is issued in an edition of 165 copies with handmade, screenprinted sleeves by Maria Hagglund.

Barry Witherden

Bagatellen

The third release on the label comes from Anders Dahl. A member of Unforgettable H2O but also an established electronic composer and musician in his own right, with a number of solo releases behind him. If Doorbells sounds an odd title for a CD then it probably makes more sense if you know that each of the three pieces on the album utilise doorbells alongside a multitude of other objects to form the music. The track titles detail the items used more precisely. The opening twenty-six minute piece for instance is named Doorbell, feedback, tapes, electronics, yet without the titles to give it away you would be hard pressed to identify the sound of a doorbell here. If such a thing as doorbell extended technique could possibly exist it is used to the full here.

Dahl uses a computer to knit together sections of separately recorded sound taken from improvisational explorations of his set-up. With only one or two minor exceptions the sounds are not treated or processed with the computer, only edited and layered together into a patchwork collage. On the first track there is little repetition of sounds, with most elements of the collage being several seconds in length, thus allowing the music to retain some of the immediacy of improvisation. Rather than anything like the microscopic structures of John Wall I am reminded here of a less percussive Will Guthrie. The music has the raw feel of open circuits and distressed metal rather than the polished, digital shine that is so often the result of similar computer sequenced composition.

The second piece, (with a title listing some nine different instruments) has a softer, more melodic feel to it. The slowly looping chimes present throughout much of the track are perhaps reminiscent of Steve Rodens composition, though the bed of rough electronics beneath them undermines any sense of prettiness.

The third, and shortest track at sixteen minutes in length apparently involves toy piano, sitar and tapes alongside the doorbell and electronics that feature on every piece. After a few moments of soft, brooding drone the track explodes into a brief stretch of blasts of white noise and ugly electronic shrieks. This somewhat violent passage soon dissipates however and a revolving pattern of tinny chimes, (presumably from the toy piano) and gently buzzing electronics rises up from beneath the chaos. This calm after the storm gradually evolves, the chimes blurring into each other as the track, and the album drifts to an end. The music of this final piece encapsulates the sensibility of the album in general, a blend of the beautiful and the menacing placed closely alongside each other. In places Doorbells can be quite an uncomfortable experience, and elsewhere its calmness verges on the soporific, making it quite a challenging album to listen to.

All three of these fine, difficult to categorise releases are available in small editions of just 165 copies so move fast to grab them. I look forward to hearing more from Bombax bombax and its musicians soon.

Richard Pinnell

Textura

Bombax Bombax, a new label entrant in the experimental sound sweepstakes, is the brainchild of Swedish artists Anders Dahl, Magnus Granberg, Maria Hgglund, and Erik Carlsson. That theyve previously issued material on labels such as Hpna and Kning Disk provides an immediate indication of the explorative, left-field music-making the producers collective imprint intends to specialize in. Available in limited amounts (165 handmade, screen-printed copies), inaugural releases by Anders Dahl and Skogen are described as modestly exuberanta curious choice of words perhaps but not inaccurate.

(A review of Skogen used to be here)

The same applies to Anders Dahls Doorbells, an hour-long collection whose three track titles give a strong hint of their content all by themselves: Doorbells, feedback, tapes, electronics, Doorbell, tuning fork, crotale, clarinet, recorder, pitch pipe, bouzouki, guitar, electronics, and Doorbell, electronics, toy piano, sitar, tapes. Theyre immersive, long-form sound worlds of constantly mutating character where electrical tones stretch for minutes on end while manipulated sounds converse using sometimes industrially-tinted phraseology. The second piece benefits from the inclusion of acoustic sounds such as woodwinds whose overlap turns them into droning pedal points. During its twenty-minute reign, bell tones cross paths with electronic fuzz and exhalations of varying character. An unexpected interval of silence occurs halfway through before high-pitched electrical tones re-emerge which are slowly fleshed out by gamelan strikes and other engine-like noises. Though occasional sounds of relatively more natural character appear, the third piece is more brutally electronic in character in its first half and dominated by the cold fusion of sputtering noise patterns and rumbling splatter. Thankfully, the second half brings the piece down to a less tumultuous level to end the album more peacefully.

Vital Weekly

Music by Anders Dahl was released before by Kning Disk, Hpna (see Vital Weekly 528) and Con-V (Vital Weekly 443, a collaboration with Henrik Olsson). He has three long pieces here, each made with a doorbell, plus whatever extra, which is all mentioned in the title: feedback, tapes, electronics (#1), tuning fork, crotale, clarinet, recorder, pitch pipe, bouzouki, guitar, electronics (#2), electronics, toy piano, sitar and tapes (#3). No mention of a computer, but no doubt that plays an important role in his music. The doorbell is something that is hard to recognize in these pieces. But I believe that is hardly important. Its perhaps more like a conceptual pun. In each of three pieces, Dahl uses a different approach to the same subject. He wants to play music that is highly atmospheric with slow developments, but because of the different instruments used per track, the ideas are sketched out differently. Computer processing seems to be playing a big role, it seems, but it doesnt always hide the sound of the real instruments. The processing sets the background. Despite that Dahl also maintains a certain lo-fi quality in the music, a sort of New Zealand attitude. This release is the only that is composed in a more traditional Vital Weekly sense and was graded best out of three here.

Frans de Waard

Reviews in Swedish

Gteborgsposten

Rating 4 of 5

Double review: Unforgettable H2O - Flatefjll & Anders Dahl - Doorbells

Tv skivor frn ett nystartat experimentbolag hemmahrande i Stockholm och den lilla bohuslnska orten Skrve. Kombinationen av det stora och det lilla r en del av pongen. Musiken r full av storslagna och oansenliga ljud, abstrakta och konkreta klanger, men det vsentliga r knslan av frihet. Hr blir vrlden nyupptckt och omskapad utifrn ett material som mnga skulle uppfatta som irrelevant, en form av skrp. Ljuden frn leksakspiano, drrklocka, klarinett, radioapparat och dator finns dr som en serie potentiella fantasiriken, och varje gonblick r en ppning in i det som gr verkligheten ttare, mer gtfull. Sknheten ligger i knslan av vntan, i de utdragna gonblicken av frsjunkenhet som gr lyssnandet vidppet.

Magnus Haglund

Sound of Music

I Anders Dahls musik finns bde skrhet och obnhrlighet. Till varje stycke redovisas fr ljudkllorna med drrklockan som gemensam nmnare. Jag frvntar mig d en substantivrik musik av konkret slag. Redogrelsen frespeglar en naiv upptagenhet/uppgrelse med sinnevrldens fenomen. Men till exempel tredje styckets konstaterande doorbell, electronics, toy piano, sitar, tapes vittnar i lyssnarsituationen illa om vad jag upplever. Det fascinerar mig, eftersom det snarare blottar ett tvivel p dessa ting varav musiken tycks best: ungefr som Duchamps om man knackar p ngot r det inte alltid man knner igen ljudet. Igenknningen lses upp, s som sprket gr d grammatiken frgasas.

Det finns en frenande klockklang som ledmotiv i albumet. Vissa ljud plockas fram som enkla enfingersmelodier, sm tonslingor av dslighet. Andra rrs ihop med rytmisk styrka och stegrande dynamik till riktiga ovder. Det viner kring ronen. Anders Dahl har en stark frmga att finna ljudblock, rrelser, klangvrldar som ltt fastnar i minnet. Och jag vet inte om jag vertolkar, men istllet fr ljudstudier av vass konsekvens har han byggt upp rum av knslor. Ur substantiven har han lockat ovntade egenskaper, det har blivit ett album fyllt av adjektivens energi och mjlighet att locka fram vemod. Fremlen, den normala betydelsen och identiteten, m vara upplst, men nd finner jag i Anders Dahl en grammatiker av rang, dr den exakta interpunktionen, ocks d bisatserna r mnga och slingriga, hlls hgt. Det r s att sga ltt att flja med. Det finns en andning och ett hjrtslag som hos en bra text.

Det r drfr fldet r s starkt och vertygande. Samtidigt anvnder sig Dahl av klanger som oftast knns eroderade, slitna, ntta, skra. Drfr ocks intimt nrvarande. Det finns inte den elektroniska kraften hos vervldigande volym. Inte heller smrtan vid rundgngen. Mer liknar det Duchamps nyfikna knackande p fremlen. D man r mindre frutfattad och sjlvklok och mer undrande och vgar frundras och ryckas med av vad man sjlv funnit mer n av andras frvntningar.

Sist men inte minst, jag frlorar snabbt intresset fr varifrn ljuden hmtats, drfr att det faktiskt svnger p ett alldeles egenmktigt vis.

Thomas Millroth


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