Hong Chulki/Ryu Hankil - Objets Infernaux (lossless)
Lossless AIFF (16bit/44.1kHz)
A collaboration between two Seoul, South Korean sound artists - Hong Chulki and Ryu Hankil - both performing on no-input mixer & objects for an album of electronic, glitch and sputtering sound with an extreme dynamic range and twisted purpose.
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1. Objets Infernaux 1 (16:20)
2. Objets Infernaux 2 (5:58)
3. Objets Infernaux 3 (16:32)
4. Objets Infernaux 4 (4:39)
5. Objets Infernaux 5 (11:48)
(released March 27, 2014)
recorded in January 2014, Seoul, South Korea
images by Lee Hangjun
design by Yuko Zama
"5 tracks, 55 minutes. 'Parrots and tigers take a hacksaw to your automobile and then attempt to drive the remaining parts around with defective radio controls. (Whatever is actually happening, this record rocks.)" - Michael Pisaro
Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
Two great korean artists working with feedback, turntables, opened hard drives... What they call infernal objects. A stream of noise accidents.
A molten, scalding stream of sound. Looking back, I see it's only been about seven years since, via the recordings issued on Manual, I first became aware of the improvising scene in Seoul; seems like longer, maybe I'm forgetting something. But the musicians involved were clearly up to something new and exciting, carving out a distinct area that often involved repurposed electronics, possibly in various states of disrepair, extending and substantially reinvigorating the broken electronics work of Voice Crack, etc., but dispensing with any pulse framework and ranging far beyond that kind of work, eventually encompassing small motorized objects, typewriters and more. Some of it could be quite extreme in terms of the noise quotient and I found, in turn, that my own reactions would vary a good bit from absorption to skepticism, but I've always been very intrigued to hear more (I've never been in the position to see any of the musicians in a live setting, unfortunately).
On "Objets Infernaux", no instrumentation is given but the general environment is more or less consistent with what I've heard before though the one thing that stands out, for me, is an increased thickness, a partial consequence of the pretty much unrelenting aspect of the performance. Five tracks, most of which are quite full and active, writhing with sizzles, glitches, iterative cycles (like that derived from the interiors of computerized machines), needle-sharp whines and more. The excellent cover images, by Lee Hangjun, actually do a fine job of conveying the nature of the sounds within--hot, infested and uncomfortable. On the first several listens, this onslaught proved problematic for me. The fourth cut excepted, I could hear much of it as--if I "disregarded" the specific sound sources--as essentially a solid enough improv session, somewhat overactive to my taste, ok but not thrilling. That fourth cut, though, with its relatively more expansive sense of space, kind of acted as a kernel, a beginning point, to hear outward before and after its occurrence and helped elucidate the rest of it substantially, establish something of an overall form. Entirely unfairly, I happened, while spending a few days with this disc, to listen to David Tudor's extraordinary recording of Cage's "Variations II", in which the furious torrent of sound is at the service of a through-going idea that gives the work a seething life. Not that I expect many other recordings to live up to that standard, but something of a pervasive idea would go a long way toward lifting sessions like this one from a good, wiry, cantankerous improv outing to something "more". I hope I'm not overlay harsh here because "Objets Infernaux" is a very good recording, just that in my head, musicians like Hong Chulki and Ryu Hankil are capable of upping things a few notches and I look forward to hearing that. And, to my ears, the depth achieved in that fourth cut gives an indication that my own, perhaps idiosyncratic desires will one day be attained.
Bill Meyer, Dusted
This CD's cover image seems to writhe with artificially generated heat, but its first seconds impart the opposite sensation. Static bursts spray icy spicules inside your ear, bracing as a damp November morning that has somehow colonized the air around your tympanic membrane. The two aspects that they have in common are key - electricity and movement. Chulki and Hankil would be hard put to make the racket on this album without the former, since their instrumentation consists mainly of cheap electronic gadgets that they misuse and repurpose. Without batteries, you wouldn't get much sound.
And movement? Not only does this the action proceed restlessly from one cantankerous outbreak to the next, but it imparts a sense of occurring within space. This may well be an illusion, since the time I saw one of them perform in another duo, their physical actions often seemed tangential to the sounds made. Actually, there were times when the two Koreans barely moved at all, but sat back and watched the mayhem as, say, an open CD player spun a lick of sticky tape in the air, or an activated vibrator slowly shuddered across the table and fell to the floor. A word of advice: if you ever get a chance to see these guys, show up early and get a good vantage point. Their visuals are priceless.
So why should you pay for this CD? Because in its own way, it's as rambunctious and surprising as that concert was. Sonically, it strikes a middle ground between Kevin Drumm's first album and Voice Crack. Like the Swiss cracked electronics duo, they make their instruments by breaking them, and revel in whatever they find rather than try to make it into something else. And like Drumm, they take things that have sounds of their own and turn them into conduits for pure electricity. You've heard of bottled lightning? This is lightning set loose in a room, careening against the walls, upsetting the furniture, and singeing the hairs that sprout from your elder uncle's ears.
Hong Chulki was born in 1976, Seoul, South Korea. He is an improvised/noise musician. His selection of instruments includes turntables (without cartridge), mixing board feedback, laptop, and other electronics. One of his central projects is astronoise (the first noise act of South Korea in 1997) with Choi Joonyong. After several years of playing guitar in a few indie rock bands and spending time for military service around 2003, he began to deviate from the more conventional way of making/listening music and to explore the area of free improvisation with everyday record/playback devices such as CD players, MD recorders and turntables. Since then he has developed his interest in collective non-idiomatic improvisation with acoustic/electronic noise objects. He participated initially in Bulgasari, the first monthly free music concert series in Seoul organized by Sato Yukie and later co-founded RELAY, the free improvisation meeting directed by Ryu Hankil.