Robert Worby Factitious Airs (Electronic Music)

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12" vinyl / digital download

This LP focuses on recorded sound and structures made with recorded sound. How the original sound was produced and the objects used in the production of the sounds is of secondary interest. Tiny details in the sounds are important and what might appear to be insignificant, dull or uneventful is often salient. Acute, obsessive listening brings these elements to the fore. More info

Side A

Stumble Bum Junk Heap [ 5:44 ]
Everything is staggering, desperately trying to stay upright, like a drunk at a wild party. After some wobbling collapses a few sounds manage to float quietly above a landscape of debris and detritus. But it’s useless. After more crashing around, a blast of noise brings everything to an abrupt halt.
Cody’s Receiver [ 4:39 ]
Shortwave radio voices bubble and babble and jostle with musics of the world. The piece is shaped by energetic, bursting interventions that cause sudden shifts in dynamics and direction.
To Come Speedy Upon Them [ 4:57 ]
The title comes from John Milton’s Paradise Regained. Sounds swoop and dive and spin like birds in battle. They climb and tumble and circle and flap. But sounds are not birds and birds are not sounds. The piece was made and the analogy discovered later when watching blackbirds fend off magpies.
The Blind Momentum of Catastrophe [ 5:17 ]
Piano music, musique concrète style. Piles and piles and piles of pianos crash about, vying for position and attention. They run around between the loudspeakers relentlessly. They cannot escape. There is nowhere to go. They tumble into a grinding heap. Then, they’re dragged along and upwards by a host of jangling high notes, only to crash to the ground leaving just a single harmonic: a thin, wispy trace.
TekTone1 [ 5:16 ]
Twisted pulsing. The piece snakes along, through an obstacle course that tries to nudge things in new directions. This is a sonic pinball machine with rubber legs.

Side B

Drawing the Nerves [ 4:34 ]
Scat singing. It’s all made from one sentence about unconscious life. A single, shredded voice is accompanied by a bass drum, water and a small piece of copper pipe bouncing on concrete.
Electronic Sound from Belarus [ 2:35 ]
In the mid 1980s, in the city of Leeds, England, an old man, who came from Belarus, died. A suitcase was found in his attic and in it was a collection of audio tapes. This piece is made from sounds found on those tapes.
Factitious Airs (Parts 1 & 2) [ 7:37 ]
An air is a light, flowing, song-like musical structure. Using sounds of the human voice (controlled escaping air), this piece begins with energies shaped like conventional song. The 18th century scientist Henry Cavendish referred to hydrogen as ‘factitious air’; carbon dioxide was ‘fixed air’. Breath is ‘fixed air’: the music is light and volatile.
Night, Without Edges or Face [ 6:35 ]
This is a kind of urban, English pastoral. The piece began with a bad recording of a diesel railway engine idling during a winter dusk at a suburban London railway station. The darkening sky, the silver-grey, monochrome light and the nearby squalid scrub all contributed to the strong sense of place.
Sea-Worn Gravity [ 4:15 ]
A huge railway station in the sea. A crazy orchestra gives way to a little tune. A light, rattling machine starts up but is overtaken by the orchestra. The tune and the sea glide through the railway station and exit, leaving only the resonance of the cavernous building.
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