When I saw that Russell Haswell and Yasunao Tone were collaborating together, my first thought was something along the lines of “whoever organized this must be one sick motherfucker.” I mean, have they heard Tone’s wounded CD work? Or, say, Haswell’s improbably noisy field recording “Electro Swat?” Clearly, this combination could only yield unparalleled cacophony.
Well, I’m happy to say that, based on the excerpt below, my sonic forecast for this record is pretty correct. Plenty of joyous brutality to go around! However, unlike many other artists who work in the vast realm of digital noise, Haswell and Tone’s methods aren’t based in a desire to explore extreme textures as much as they are in a fascination with the mathematical anomalies of digital technology. Look at Editions Mego’s page for the record and it becomes clear that this project is as much research as it is composition.
Apparently, Convulsive Threshold is the result of deviated MP3s created from Haswell’s specialized digital/analog system that were then further deviated using Tone’s methods. The duo’s seemingly rigorous adherence to this scientifically process-generated technique falls directly in line with the musical philosophy of Alvin Lucier’s work. Like Lucier, Haswell and Tone aren’t in this for expression, but instead to illustrate and to manipulate the acoustic properties of sound itself; similarly, emotional/timbral impact is left up to the listener. Convulsive Threshold may be abrasive, but it could just as easily be beautiful if the MP3 deviations had yielded those results. Haswell and Tone are simply carrying out a process in their work, and luckily it happens to be a very interesting process to listen to.
Convulsive Threshold is out May 13 via Editions Mego. You can listen to an excerpt of the record below.