Michael Pisaro
Black, White, Red, Green, Blue (Voyelles) [CS; Winds Measure]

Patient Sounds my ass. That stuff sounds like Notekillers compared to Michael Pisaro’s Black, White, Red, Green, Blue (Voyelles), a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong-form minimalist composition that unfolds over, correct-me-if-I’m-wrong, more than three hours. Its extreme dearth of earth yields rewards if you persevere, and so you must be brave. The first track, which is Ben Chabala’s rendering of a score Pisaro wrote in shorthand in 2004, isn’t giving anything away early on, and as the first side of the tape progresses he keeps a cool distance, investing heavily in warm repetition and subtle shifts, many of them barely audible. The silent gaps between each glob of sound become more and more pronounced, to the point where you think it’s time to flip the tape, yet it’s never time. Not for another 35 minutes or so, friend. An extended, deep tone, followed by a few more highs and a blurry ambient drone (though apparently most of it was created with a guitar if I’m not mistaken), forms the fulcrum of the remainder of Side A, more Kranky than ever and looking to maybe bust out on the flip. I could be cruel and cliffhanger your ass so you have to buy it, but I know you’re good for it so I’ll go ahead and reveal there is indeed more of an audible presence to be felt when you turn the cassette over. I suspected maybe the elements from A were being manipulated on B, and that is the case to some extent (though tape hiss also is brought in to sample from), though technically Pisaro remixes Chabala’s version of the score with tape hiss. It’s almost like the first set of compositions have been compacted, hot-glued, and rolled in tiny metal shards barely visible to the eye (much less audible to the ear). Then it all cuts out and we’re back in the silent shadows, waiting for day to break. I suppose in the end the second set of recordings were bound to appeal to me more than the almost ridiculously restrained first, but Black, White, Red, Green, Blue (Voyelles) isn’t a study in contrasts as much as an ambitious projection of tonal energy; Pisaro’s remix merely extends Chabala’s interpretation. Look at the time! A pleasure to share such a distantly evocative artifact with you but it’s time to sleep, probably. Check in with Winds Measure and call me in the morning.

Links: Winds Measure


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