Review: Sound Reasons Third Release ‘Epiphany’

30 April 2014

Sound Reasons, a festival for sound art, electronic music and contemporary jazz, has up to this date, three recording projects under its belt. The latest offering, Epiphany, put together by Ish S, brings together various artists associated with the entity. The new album features 17 tracks from artists including Andy Guhl, Jasch, n0ngrata, edGeCut, Robert Millis, Salomé Voegelin, Petri Kuljuntausta, Gennady Lavrentiev, Cisfinitum and Grischa Lichtenberger. The result is an eclectic amalgamation of ambient and experimental electronica with elements of Western classical, and occasional strains from the Indian musical traditions.

Two of the tracks 'vertex y,z' and 'point l,m' are from live recording sessions at the December 2013 instalment of Sound Reasons, the second version of the music festival. Themed by free improvisation and flow, the live sessions are recordings of Andy Guhl, Jasch (Jan Schaner) and Ish S (edGeCut + diFfuSed beats).

While German sound artist Andy Guhl is a founding member of the Musicians Cooperative Switzerland and a pioneer of cracked and bent electronics, the compilation also features Moscow artists Gennady Lavrentiev and Cisfinitum (Eugeny Voronovsky) whose work inhabits the contemporary and darker shades of the ambient spectrum.

Author of ‘Listening to Noise and Silence’, Swiss writer and sound artist Salomé Voegelin also features in Epiphany with a track titled 'Exactly three minutes’. A composition that focuses on everyday material performed, recorded, and manipulated to become noticeable events that attain a rhythm. In the same vein is Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s work, an effort to draw the listener’s attention to an innate and pervasive sound-field present even in a presumably silent empty-space of the city

The other Swiss artist featured is bass clarinet player Hans Koch who demonstrates his circular breathing technique on the instrument while collaborator Ish S uses his trademark glitch and compound rhythms. Ish, the mastermind behind the release, has been prolifically presented, having collaborated on many of the compositions in addition to contributing a solo piece while compiling all the works together.

Choir voices end the work of Eisentanz, otherwise defined by bold rhythms and industrial sounds. Grischa Lichtenberger’s track 'let C targ' bases its narrative structure on samples derived from a Sufi concert at Mehboob Elahi; a famous Sufi shrine in the heart of Delhi, to combine with his fragmented, futuristic impressions.

In another interesting composition, Gauhar Jaan, one of the first ‘gramophone celebrities’ of India, is paid tribute to in Robert Millis’ piece 'Gauhar', consisting of collaged and processed sample of early acoustic 78rpm recordings, many of which are hers.

As much as the compilation is remarkable for the virtuosic lineup of artists, what it impresses is the way the compositions weave seamlessly together in a sonoric, stirring wave of resonances, something akin to - you guessed it - the feeling of an epiphany.

**Listen to the album in full below and if you're in Delhi you can catch the Epiphany release party on Friday 2 May at TLR.**

Words: Sonali Udaybabu


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