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NOTEBOOK (techniques of self-destruction)



Seven1878 Blog

"My first encounter with Francisco Meirino was at 2013's Ende Tymes festival in NY. I have a personal disdain for laptop performances. But, I can't deny that the sounds he created were epic. When given the opportunity to listen to, and review, "Notebook," I wasn't sure what to expect. Would this album be as big in sound as his performance was? Released on Gerritt Wittmer's Misanthropic Agenda imprint, the description for this album read : "Eight pieces of abrasive music made of electricity, mysterious forces, sharp knives, dying tape recorders and voices below the threshold of intelligibility."
"Notebook" is a fascinating listen. The album sounds like a lot of hours went into the careful assembly of each layers of objects, oscillators, field recordings, et al. Each layer plays its part the whole with some louder in the mix, others more hidden. The sound of knives sharpening(?), alone, gives "Notebook" a feel of danger like something is coming, ala Bill "The Butcher" sharpening his knives in "Gangs of New York." Francisco has created a masterful work, and I look forward to hearing what he does next."

Radiogwen.ch

"Questo lavoro nasce inizialmente come un'opera su commissione per l'Audible Festival di Parigi nel 2012. Francisco Meirino è un cesellatore sonoro di stanza a Losanna, dove ho avuto modo di vederlo in azione la bellezza di nove anni fa all'interno del LUFF Festival, in una serata che mi lasciò più dell'amaro in bocca, a causa di un programma a mio modo di vedere poco comunicativo e chiuso in sé stesso. Sbagliai a non approfondire il lavoro di Francisco e ne approfitto ora per parlare del suo nuovo lavoro.
Le frequenze manipolate sono fisiche ed affilate come lame e si saturano nei padiglioni auricolari pungendoli a più non posso. L'inizio è bello tosto, squittisce come un animale in gabbia Le Processus De La Signification e mette le carte in tavola. I suoni sembrano una commistione di sintetico e naturale per una sorta di abrasività calda.
Field Tests è un intermezzo che sfrigola e si conclude in trenta secondi, tenendo alta la tensione. Recording Of An Embarassment mantiene un profilo basso, sputando qualche sporcizia sui sibili accennando ad un confronto più fisico, quasi a dei palloncini sfregati e martoriati fino a distruggerli.
Being A Lame Being è gelida soundtrack d'ambiente scricchiolante ed accartocciata, come una città del ventiduesimo secolo abbandonata a sé stessa.

Ecco, forse è proprio questo il punto… siamo abituati per convenzione ad associare la sporcizia sonora ed una bassa fedeltà ad uno scenario d'annata, ripescando, come archeologi, registrazioni di basso profilo che testimoniano l'evoluzione sonora qualche passo più indietro rispetto all'attualità. Qui invece siamo nel presente pieno, con alcuni slanci nel futuro (per la concezione del futuro digitale e freddo che sessant'anni di science fiction ci hanno inculcato) e veniamo stravolti da questi suoni metallici e slabbrati, come i residui ferrosi espulsi da una fresa.
The Separation Of An Assimilation unisce questo concetto con una voce metallica e posta in secondo piano, che ci fa apparire attori in una fabbrica sullo stile coltivazione del pesce in Existenz. Sono rimbrotti e carillon distori che ci abbracciano in You Know Nothing, ennesima creazione di atmosfera realmente filmica, come udire quel che avviene nella stanza di chi preme i tasti in un 2048. Ci creiamo delle immagini senza avere risposta alcuna, seguendo stimoli terrei e digitali, corrosi e materici… qui sembra di udire l'arrotino alle prese con un paio di coltelli che sfibrano le nostre cellule grazie ad un sulfureo contorno di scintille e vaporose sublimazioni.
Techniques Of Self Destruction è una suite in due parti che conclude l'album, soffusa su distorsioni minimali ed accenni melodici che, appena respirano, vengono stuprati dalla pesante mano digitale dell'autore che colma il tutto con la sua cappa scura. Poi il ritmo è dato da quelle che sembrano semplici azioni meccaniche per poi riprendersi e concludere con i consueti sibili gassosi.

Gli sprazzi silenziosi ci fanno riprendere fiato ma siamo oramai sommersi da una spessa polvere silicea che ci fa giocoforza soccombere, quasi come topi di laboratorio come quelli che sentiamo squittire sul finale. Non abbiamo molta scelta, abbracciare questo pungente rumore e conviverci, oppure chiudere tutti quanti i nostri porti e provare a resistergli.

Fossi in voi sceglierei la prima opzione."


AN EXTENDED MEANING FOR SOMETHING MEANINGLESS

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In Revue & Corrigée (page scan)
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In Neural

The audio captures of Francisco Meirino in An Extended Meaning For Something Meaningless become almost inessential – in this case the experimentation is focused on the audio spectrum: the electronics here are static and immanent, with slight vibrations and whispered undertones performed by an artist who doesn't appear to be searching for something particularly essential and specific. The project is articulated in three tracks with no title and lasts about 44 minutes: it is based on the use of tools such as computers, piezoelectric sensors, tape recorders, modular synths, field recorders, electronic instruments and self-made electromagnetic sensors. There is a large range of sound elements: glitches, buzzes, metallic sounds and other singular audio emergencies: in some ways it works like contemporary cooking wherein something with a soft consistency and an involving taste is juxtaposed with more hard and crispy elements. Fraying sounds slowly dissolve, as fragments of memory that make this process of dissipation slow, however raw and expressive: the process constantly recalls a proud form of degradation, that we define magniloquent in its tangled composition. Compelling low frequencies, sharp hisses, crackles and winces are all to be found in Meirino's collection, who juxtaposes the sections with great taste, skilfully arranging the main layers into charming polyphonies. Somehow he conceals the structures thanks to some meticulous "artisan" art. As a result, this work transmits a sense of frugal grace, a presence assembled with few, but vital elements.

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In Improv-sphere

Nouveau solo de Francisco Meirino, publié en CD sur le label Audio Field Theory, avec une belle pochette imprimée par Ben Owen, An extended meaning for something meaningless regroupe trois pièces électroacoustiques. Le compositeur suisse utilise ici un gros set composé d'un ordinateur, de piezzos, d'enregistreurs à bande magnétique, de synthé modulaire, de field-recordings, d'électronique fait maison et d'ustensiles électromagnétiques.
Trois pièces qui ne se basent pas sur grand chose : un léger larsen, des field-recordings basiques, des microcontacts, etc. Et pourtant, à partir de ces bases qui peuvent paraître pauvres, Meirino parvient à construire une musique riche, profonde, et dramatique. Le compositeur joue sur la tenue de sons qui acquièrent une profondeur émotionnelle au fil de leur déroulement, le son n'est pas forcément très riche, mais sa durée le rend petit à petit de plus en plus présent, de plus en plus intéressant et profond. Bien sûr, la modification de chaque source est belle, précise, technique - mais ce n'est pas forcément le plus intéressant, même si le son de Meirino est assez personnel.
Ce que je trouve vraiment bon sur ces trois pièces, c'est comment Meirino parvient à immerger l'auditeur (de force presque) dans des sons qui ne paraissent pas exceptionnels au premier abord. Meirino utilise des sons assez simples, épurés, des fréquences granuleuses, quelques vagues modulations, des field- recordings rustres, et c'est tout. Mais dans la durée, on finit par s'habituer à ces sons, à les prendre en sympathie, à tenter de les comprendre et à ressentir de plus en plus ce qu'ils peuvent exprimer. La musique de Meirino a quelque chose d'une sorte de musique électroacoustique minimaliste et romantique : c'est simple, précis, mais plein d'émotions et de force dramatique dès que l'on rentre un peu dedans et que l'on accepte de s'immerger dans son univers. Bon travail.
Publié par Julien Héraud

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In Vital Weekly

More music by Francisco Meirino, whose work becomes more and more interesting. He works with the lowest means: some field recordings, static electronics, reel-to-reel recorders, modular synth and electro-magnetic sensors.

His latest work, consisting of three parts that make up one pieces, began life as a fourteen speaker installation for a festival, but was later edited into the three pieces we hear on this CD.

Meirino's work is loud and no doubt could easily be classified as 'noise', but the truth is that this is hardly 'noise' in the classical sense of the word. It uses elements from the world of noise, but due to the fact that nothing lasts very long plus the fact that this is collated together in the form of a composition, makes this perhaps more a musique concrete release, and rather not mindless long, numbing walls of noise.

Here something is though out, planned, and constructed, using the raw building blocks of noise music. Meirino's work is far from pleasant, as it more often sounds like walking in a contaminated waste dump with leaking barrels of radio active material, and nearly defunct machinery which was original there to destroy the waste.

Meirino's music is a soundtrack to a dystopian world, or perhaps simply beautiful for those who love their music to have an element of destruction. I enjoy that a lot. (FdW)

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In A Closer Listen

Francisco Meirino is the composer formerly known as phroq; in the past two decades, he's released over a hundred solo and collaborative ventures. After such achievements, most performers would be content to rest on their laurels. Not so Meirino, whose new work continues to display innovation. Because this latest album sounds so contemporary, it would be easy to mistake it for the work of a younger man; instead, it reflects the wisdom of experience.

On the surface, An Extended Meaning for Something Meaningless is an electronic album, but to classify it as such would be to sell it short. It's not an album to which one might dance, groove, or nod one's head. Instead, it's an exploration of electronic timbres, fleshed out with field recordings and reel-to-reel tapes. Auditory Field Theory describes it as inhabiting "the decaying fringe of the audio spectrum", but in the hands of Meirino, decay has seldom seemed so alive. The three untitled tracks, especially the first and third, are packed with pops and hums, metallic pings and modular notes, like a sonic dumpster in the midst of being overturned. Ennio Mazzon is an obvious relative, as is Robert Hampson; Meirino is in good company with such contemporaries.

The irony in seeking to capture the sound of decay is that once it is captured, it is preserved, and as such it is no longer decaying. This album might better be described as a snapshot of decline. The reel-to-reel falters, and in its faltering lies its beauty. The field recording grows corrupted; memory splinters and fades. The middle piece seems to contain the sound of a film projector on its last legs, turning without image as traffic passes outside a neglected theatre. In the alleyway, ravenous dogs scrape the metal lids from garbage pails and search inside. The title comes across as sardonic; once meaning is provided, the meaninglessness dissipates, providing another form of decay.

The closing piece is clogged with motors and turbines, the whirs and clanks of a factory floor crossed with an auto repair shop. In this segment, everything seems to be falling apart at the same time as it is being fixed, as if a pointless, ongoing struggle is unfolding. One might extrapolate a lesson about life, in that human nature is to create and destroy in equal measures: on a larger scale, to die and to be born until the planet crumbles under our weight. And yet the only escape from such a cycle may be the art that reflects it, in this case the magnification of the subliminal and ignored. (Richard Allen)

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In The Field Reporter



On Auditory Field Theory we read:

From the decaying fringe of the auditory spectrum we find ornate beauty in the subtle demise of electronic systems and explore the arcane apprehension of existential degeneration.

The recording looks at how to create something out of almost nothing—basic field recordings, static electronics and failed tape experiments. A 16-channel multi-track piece where reel-to-reel tapes juxtaposition with modular synths, laced in a world of field recordings from late night Osaka to hydrophonic sewers.

The work consists of three untitled tracks with a total runtime of just over forty-four minutes and comes packaged in a letter-pressed sleeve printed by Ben Owen of middle press.

At the risk of sounding harsh and irrelevant I'll begin by asking what the first paragraph actually means. Answers on a postcard please. If an artist is going to preface or interpret their work by means of text, then surely the text is to be taken seriously. So the subtle demise of electronic systems and the arcane apprehension of existential degeneration either means something very profound which lies beyond my understanding, or the intention is poetic, or the words have been thrown together because they look good.

The second and third paragraphs make sense, though Meirino could have done himself a favour by placing himself firmly within a strong tradition and pointing out that making something out of meagre resources has been a staple of experimental music production for several decades now.

Track 1 [11:40]

For the first few minutes, apparently, there is a lot going on, a busy and complex sound world seems to be emerging, but on closer listen we discover a mix of the same sounds throughout with some modulation in the looped-sounding passages and contrasting gristle in the concrète sounds. So for the most part we have the illusion or semblance of complexity arising from two or three fairly simple and distinct layers. Then things break down and recommence with more layers. There is an intriguing feeling of agency about the music, in the sense that someone is playing instruments. This contrasts well with what I assume are the field recordings, which have a different semiotic content and which therefore send out a different message. I couldn't hear any evident relationship between most of the layers so I assume the composer is using the material in contrasting ways, which is reasonably successful on the whole. The piece is enhanced by the contrasting use of various sudden cuts and passages of relative calm which create pace and flow. Overall the use of similar sounds which don't develop or evolve run the risk of becoming monotonous.

Track 2 [15:35].

Here we have a consistent sound world made up of some reasonably interesting sounds but also of some rather hackneyed sounds, very few of which show any depth of sonic investigation. The primary layers consist of various multi-part polyphonies with added modulating material, which gather interest by means of some very good passages of contrapuntal craftsmanship. I sensed a lack of concrete sounds earlier on which would have created a more 'material' base from which to develop the music. When these do appear they are confused by the appearance of other less effective sounds which clutter the frame. Some passages of hiss and flutter and interference with the more indeterminate low midrange timbres could maybe have offered a platform for deeper investigation. Nonetheless these are, to my ears, the strongest passages of the album.

Track 3 [16:44]

With this track you get lots of music for your money. Industrial processes are carried out industriously, there are some intriguing instrumental timbres near the beginning but never fully developed as the piece goes the way of the previous two pieces, favouring timbrally simpler crackly and hissy sounds. However this track does offer at times an excellent full- spectrum field without overloading the ears. The piece is punctuated by quite sudden though finely crafted dropouts, perhaps a deft use of dj skills. As it goes along the music becomes more evidently linear despite the impression of complex polyphony. Again Meirino manages to convey a wonderful sense of agency at times, the sense that someone, not a machine, is playing this music. That would be the strength of the album as a whole.

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In Metamkine

Une pièce en trois parties composée dans le studio de l'auteur en 2012-13 avec l'utilisation de bandes magnétiques, de piezzos, de capteurs électromagnétiques, d'enregistrements extérieurs et de synthé modulaire.
Une cuisine interne qui tends à devenir la marque de ce compositeur toujours à l'écoute des parasites et en quête de vibrations électriques.
On pourrait imaginer ce disque comme une nouvelle musique paysagère prenant comme objet d'observation le monde de l'électricité.
Un très beau disque - donc fortement recommandé - dans une pochette carton artisanale.



FOCUS ON NOTHING ON FOCUS

In _ improv-sphere.blogspot.ch/

Focus on Nothing on Focus est un split qui regroupe deux artistes sonores ayant chacun travaillé sur les mêmes sources audio. Un matériau initial très riche, enregistré et échangé durant plusieurs mois, composé d'enregistrements au magnétophone, de prises de son au micro-contact, de synthétiseurs, d'objets, etc. La première face, intitulée "Focus on Nothing", est une composition de Francisco Meirino. Le matériau initial est ici assemblé en une longue pièce qui joue sur la juxtaposition, le montage et la superposition des éléments sonores. Cette composition de Meirino possède quelque chose de cinématographique, ou de narratif en tout cas. Une sorte de post-musique concrète où les éléments sonores sont souvent d'origine acoustique, on reconnaît le frottement d'objets en métal, une sorte d'accordéon ou d'harmonium, et quelques autres sources acoustiques. Mais rien n'est figuratif, la musique de Meirino est construite de manière assez abstraite, les sons perdent leur contenu premier pour ne devenir plus qu'une forme au service de la composition. Meirino construit alors une pièce de manière cohérente et logique, où tout s'enchaine et s'assemble avec clarté, intelligence, avec beaucoup d'attention et de précision aussi. Un très beau collage et assemblage de sources très diverses, qui ne sont pas forcément personnelles en plus. Quant à "Nothing on Focus", la face composée par Kiko C. Esseiva, elle est déjà plus proche d'une musique électroacoustique. On reconnaît les mêmes sources, assemblées d'une manière plus éclatée et moins narrative, mais ici, tout se joue dans l'instant plus que dans la globalité, dans la modification plus que dans la construction. Esseiva cherche moins à assembler les éléments qu'à les travailler. Il y a bien un montage, mais ce n'est qu'un prétexte au travail sur les sources mêmes, à la recherche abstraite sur le matériau sonore même, sur sa réalité physique et acoustique. De nombreux effets et filtres, changements de vitesse, distorsion, saturation, contribuent à extraire des sonorités nouvelles des sources initiales. Un très beau travail sur l'acoustique des sources, sur leurs textures et leurs grains au-delà des seuils de perception humaine. Deux très belles pièces d'art sonore électroacoustique, qui proposent deux directions et deux formes de travail possible du son. C'est riche, très inventif, soigné, travaillé, et beau.
(Julien Héraud)


In : Vital Weekly/

A new label from Switzerland, a daring move in these difficult times. Its inaugural release is a split Lp by two of Switzerland's finest composers moving on the fringes of musique concrete, noise and ambient. The one that is, perhaps, least known is Kiko C. Esseiva, who had a few releases reviewed here (see Vital Weekly 839 for the most recent one). He also had a collaborative concert recording with Francisco Meirino (see Vital Weekly 682). In their split recording they use the same source material, culled from many hours working together. They use reel to reel tape recorders, EMF detectors, piezo transducers, analog synths, various homemade sound objects and electronics. On the Esseiva side the interest lies in creating a heavily layered piece with a strong focus on the acoustic sources. Less inspired than his previous work by Nurse With Wound, Esseiva finds more a voice of his own here. The ringing and singing of objects on surfaces that move along soundwaves - say speakers - give this a strong vibrating side. Meirino on the other side finds more a balance between the acoustic sources and the electronic sounds. Less than in some of his other work he uses abrupt changes to move from one piece to the next. Here it seems as if all is floating more naturally into each other and only once an abrupt change takes place. The electronic sources make up for the drone and atmospheres, both soft and loud, which is another of Meirino's trademarks. His side is more balanced, Esseiva's side is more fixed on single minded sources. A different result from the same origin. Great record, fine start for a label.
(FdW)



In : The field reporter


Whether it's relevant or not I don't know, but immediately before listening to Focus on Nothing on Focus by Francisco Meirino and Kiko C. Esseiva in order to make notes for the final review, I watched a documentary about Joy Division. The record is a 12? vinyl black void with a black label which you might think is a precursor to the abyssal darkness contained within. In fact after Joy Division's bleak visions born of greyscale Manchester streets steeped in rain and the bedroom's so cold, you turn away on your side, it was a relief to enjoy some movement, vibration and a surprising selection of fleeting semi-colours.

four men on a bridge

Assembled in 2012 and 2013 from hours of multitrack recordings as a duo, each artist was given one side of the record to present his individual composition using the original material as the building blocks. As the first release on Andreas Unterkircher's Ausenraum label, the black and white cover picture of electrical equipment cut up and interrupted, repeated and sliced, slid out of place and readjusted, then partially contained within a perfect circle seems an apt metaphor for the processes etched into the grooves here.

she filled her time pushing the pram round Salford

There is an interesting YouTube video of Meirino and Esseiva playing together as a duo in an art gallery or something similar. They are set up against a side wall on a long table next to each other. Various people are seated in the white space, others walk in and out informally. Being able to see all this taking place, the physical approach of each artist is interesting and illuminating and offers some understanding into why each side of this LP sounds as it does.

tear us apart

Meirino stands bent over his black boxes of plugs and wires activating switches and summoning up raw electrical bleed and grime from the insides of these dark objects. He turns a torch on and off at intervals, and the completion and termination of the circuit is heard as a visceral thud. Essevia remains seated at his desk and, amongst other things, manipulates a tape recorder thoughtfully and subtly, reacting and operating within and against the bodily groundedness of the sputtering sound shrapnel exhibiting a concentrated intelligence and sense of purpose. Whether this performance formed part of the substrata from which this LP was carved I don't know, but it is certainly an informative document.

it's a picture of a tomb

For me all Meirino's music seems to exist in a landscape with enhanced perspective and a very remote vanishing point: In other words the sounds are stretched out from incredibly distant thuds occurring below the horizon to crackles and clicks right up against the eardrum, as if generated inside the speakers themselves independently of anything else.

growling like a dog

Meirino places us on a ship negotiating a sea of fluctuating plasma. Creaks and groans from the rigging and the swell of undulating static gives way to scuttling creature in the hold. Early on a filament of light, a laser emission like a bowed violin note repeats a few times as a vestige of the sun's benediction. Later, work of some secret nature takes place. Something rattles back and forth along rails as machines hum. Excited wings vibrate against the microphone and objects drop and roll across the hard floor. People talk, but the men's voices are rudely cut off and are no more. A crescendo of metal and tooled desolation builds from nothing to form a rattling, prison riot cacophony then… suddenly we are in some dead pond where the water (or some other analogous fluid) carries sounds from afar. Unknown denizens of this inky pool signal to each other ever more frantically, again a crescendo… Nothing… Nothing… Nothing… Run-off groove…

Ian's dead

Esseiva is an artist I have never heard before. Seemingly his compositional hand is more controlled than Meirino's and the work focuses more closely on fewer competing strands. This approach yields a completely different experience, yet obviously both sides of the disc are united by their common provenance. Differences aside each promise is fulfilled in its singular entirety.

I came off the phone and went back to the table

Kiko C. Esseiva pledges breath and motors and grinding gears. A ribbon of steady sound unfolds and fades just once. This is a workshop in which the instruments that make this music are being built, and the very building of them is the music itself, and after they have finished playing, the dismantling of them is also the music itself. Sheets of steel and other substances are beaten in frantic rapidity. Tiny hammers pound. Insectoid nano-mosquitoes plague the workspace. Cut. Fibrillating electricity. Cut. A buffeted wire fence with mechanical animoids squeaking and chirruping in iron filing nests. Steel wool ruffles and frazzles. Cut. Dead air. A ball bearing rolls around an uneven plane causing other objects to become infectiously agitated and inexplicably animated. An organ plays itself, just once. Vibrating glass planes, jars, flasks and light bulbs. Cut… Near silence… Readjust to the tiny flecks of vinyl crackle not being part of the whole… And yet in a way they are… It all is… Run-off groove… Click… Click… Raise the needle.

unknown pleasures


(Chris Whitehead)



UNTITLED PHENOMENAS IN CONCRETE

In Neural

This album utilizes 85 sessions of hybrid “audio paint” system HighC/UPIC and field recordings of fallen snow, breaking bones, magnetic filed and insects. The system is a structural model of additive colour inspired by the UPIC works of Iannis Xenakis that date back to the late seventies . Francesco Meirino is not new to dealing with software and his work mostly involves computers, magnetic field detectors, reel-to-reel recorders, piezolectric transducers and various other acoustic devices. In Untitled Phenomenas In Concrete Meirino re-focuses on the concept of sound design; an approach in which he composes, edits and assembles elementary sound objects and molds structures – while being careful to realize a performance that is somehow “aesthetic”. An additional intervention in post-production consisted of transferring and re-mastering the entire work on a reel-to-reel tape, in order to add a sense of analogue warmth to the cold digital feel of the UPIC treatment. This whole process proved to be quite challenging and Meirino invested four years (2008-12) to “close” his research. The sense of synesthesia created by the recordings is magically rewoven, with iterations able to transform objects made of bits into more physical representations (and the other way around too). The listening here is always lively and richly nuanced, and although the external sound elements only number eighteen the composer has managed to create a progressive continuum of thirty-minutes.
(Aurelio Cianciotta)

In Revue & Corrigée

Les nouvelles choses de Francisco Meirino défrichent également des territoires stupéfiants, que ce soit dans A while and awhile, mais surtout dans Untitled phenomenas in concrete, où il utilise un logiciel (High-C) qui reprend l'idée de la machine UPIC inventée par Iannis Xenakis, celle de dessiner les sons et leur(s) composition(s) - et donc de partir dans (ou plutôt depuis) une abstraction sonore plus grande. ce qu'il en fait est juste grandiose, et n'a pas grand chose à envier à (mais non plus à voir avec) la musique de Xenakis. De l'art de faire des disques étonnants et qui, plus important encore, paraissent (ou sont?) importants.
(KTT)

In Vital Weekly

Now here's someone whose work I find more and more interesting. When he was still active as Phroq it was alright, I guess, but not as outstanding. Since he worked under his own name his work is very good. I am not sure why that is, but I guess it is what it is. His latest piece was recorded over a period of four years and uses 85 HighC/UPIC sessions and 18 external sounds, such as snow falling, bones cracking, magnetic fields and insects. The UPIC is 'a computerised musical composition tool, devised by the composer Iannis Xenakis. It consists of a digitising tablet linked to a computer which has a vector display'. Meirino spend four years of drawing and composing, ultimately putting this stuff down to a reel-to-reel tape to get some more warmth out of the music. This pieces lasts thirty six minutes, divided in various parts, all of it of an extreme musical nature. This is music that is quite 'loud' most of the times, but surely 'loud' but not without a thought behind it, nor without sense of a fine composition. Things that I find usually lacking in the world of power electronics and harsh noise. Meirino proofs you can have extreme music that is still detailed, very dynamic (which doesn't equal 'loud', mind you), in which something always seems to be on the move somewhere. Also there seems to be some instruments being used, percussive ones, around the four minute break, which I though added a nice extra layer to this heavy electronic music. It's something which I thought Meirino should explore more too in the future. It makes that I think this is one of his most accomplished works to date. An excellent manifestation of intelligent noise. (FdW)

In Chain D.L.K.

It seems that the high rate of dumping factor, let's say so, is intentional in Francisco Meirino's sonic research as according to the one who wrote his biography his music primarily "explores the tension between programmable material and the potential for its failure" and this operating procedures permeate this release, where you could imagine an astonishing electromechanical prototypical marvel which fails the test just some instant after it gives the impression it's going to to work well! It could be a wise way to gibe its own skills as I'm pretty sure Francisco knows them quite well. More than 150 live performances in many venues in Europe, Japan and North America and a plenty of collaborations and commissioned releases are enough to validate them. During the listening of Meirino's work, you could easily imagine a supercar with the highest technological content which ridiculously fails the first test for a punctured tire! It's not a negative criticism at all, as I reallt like those skilled musicians which manages to add some funny provocative hints in their artworks! Those abstract lines on black background on the cover artwork refers to the compositional process, which has been used for "Untitled Phenomenas in Concrete", as Francisco fed 85 HighC/UPIC sessions with a set of 18 external sounds (recordings of bones cracking, snow falling, electro-static noises, oscillators, gear failures, magnetic fields and insects!) by means of a device (UPIC) developed by Iannis Xenakis, which gave the possibility to create sounds from drawings on a sort of primordial tablet. I'm not surprised Francisco spent nearly four years to achieve a satisfying result, which arguably manages to reinvent the glitch logic within electroacoustic composition.

In Le Courrier

Comment passe-t-on du rock au noise? En réalisant qu’on est moins captivé par sa guitare que par ses pédales d’effets! L’explication, soufflée par Thibault Walter, l’un des deux directeurs du LUFF qui bat son plein à Lausanne, en vaut une autre. Elle rejoint en tout cas le vécu de Francisco Meirino, ancien musicien de pop/rock lausannois passé depuis plus de quinze ans au bruitisme – et qui se produit justement ce samedi au LUFF. Son travail est d’une précision pointilliste, loin des déferlantes de bruit blanc propres à certains artistes emblématiques de la discipline (Masonna, Merzbow, Whitehouse), encore qu’il en soit parfaitement capable. Le propos d’Untitled Phenomenas In Concrete, nouvel ajout au catalogue du label Cave 12, réside dans le soin extrême apporté au détail de cette pièce de 36 minutes 44 secondes. Francisco Meirino a assemblé 85 sessions réalisées entre 2008 et 2011 sur l’UPIC, un outil de composition assisté par ordinateur utilisant la synthèse graphique, mis au point dans les années 1970 par Iannis Xenakis. Le résultat de cette démarche associant croquis et musique a ensuite été agrémenté de sons externes (enregistrements de neige qui tombe, de craquements d’os, de champs magnétiques et d’insectes). L’immersion dans ces crépitements, cliquetis et ronflements n’est pas nécessairement aisée, mais elle révèle des agencements formels et des sonorités d’une grande richesse. L’oreille en ressort plus intelligente. RODERIC MOUNIR

In Blog de Monsier Délire

Le compositeur-électronicien suisse Francisco Meirino propose, avec cette œuvre, un retour sur le système UPIC de Xenakis, qui permettait de traduire en données sonores vectorielles des traits de crayon sur une tablette numérique. Untitled Phenomenas in Concrete est constituée de 85 séances de dessin et 18 enregistrements de terrain. L’œuvre, présentée d’un seul trait (35 minutes), s’apparente à l’acousmatique française, avec un côté plus imprévisible. Une musique fignolée, dont les contrastes font réfléchir sur la manière du compositeur. Une œuvre consistante

UNDETECTED

In The Field Reporter

The first release on Takanobu Hoshino’s OtO label, is quite a startling and daring launch. The Fukushima based sound artist has chosen Francisco Meirino to kick start his new venture with an album of stark beauty and purity. It requires a deep listening approach. I know that term is a bit of a cliché these days, but this time I think it is truly valid. This work simply will not reveal the truth at its core without respecting its subtlety.
As soon as ‘Undetected’ arrived through the post I couldn’t wait to hear it, so I slid it into the car CD player to listen to on the half hour drive to work. For a collection as subtle and nuanced as this, trying to appreciate the detail and peripheral disturbances involved proved unfruitful whilst motoring. During one particularly quiet spell I forgot I had I had a CD on at all, there was just the noise of the car’s engine until a sudden thump led me to momentarily think the exhaust had fallen off. It was actually an unidentified loud bang recorded in Meirino’s back yard.
I would suggest that this release requires some preparation before listening. Firstly the environment needs to be pretty silent, preferably dark to avoid visual distractions and obviously the listener needs to be comfortable. Headphones are essential. Ideally Francisco Meirino likes to play live in total darkness, and maybe we should follow his example. Some of the sounds revealed here are on the very cusp of audibility, and yet they are essential to the whole.
‘Undetected’ presents sixteen recordings from Meirino’s archives in an unadulterated form. They appear to be the sort of components from which he often constructs his tracks, but in this instance no composition takes place. Like the parts of an engine laid out on a workbench, Meirino invites us to examine these pure and unadorned sonic objects as they sit there in the cold light of day.
The first track follows a gently fizzing oscillator through its death throes. After two minutes of undulating static the device suddenly blinks out of existence forever with an impressive final burst. This sets the tone for what is to come: The sound of carbonic acid decomposing in water via a hydrophone, crisp and sharp: An unknown recording from a lost archive featuring drum rolls of charged pulses: A manhole on a construction site and strong wind on scaffolding. Sounds that in turn explore open spaces, manmade interiors and microscopic events within circuits and machines.
Three separate pieces are concerned with ultrasonic discharges in voltage circuits captured using electromagnetic field detectors. Like tiny stars punctuating the blackness of empty space, flickers of electricity momentarily flare into existence, only to die away in an instant. This practice reminds me of the Dark Matter search experiments carried out in a 1100 metre deep potash mine close to where I live. The depth of rock cuts out cosmic rays by a factor of 1 million allowing for ultra low background particle detection.
Two variations on the subject of falling snow (one of snow falling on a metal plate and one of it falling onto itself) provide a physical counterpoint to the ultrasonic discharges. Similar in the sense that they record points of sound set against a silent background, continuity is maintained. The sequencing of these selections is important. Listening to the tracks as they occur in order provides the best way into this secret world.
‘Reel to Reel Motor and Voltage Discharges’, gleaned from a tape recorder with belt and high density ground problems, begins with high pitched crackling and a thin sustained buzz before a deep throbbing bass sound underpins everything. Meirino’s fascination with malfunctioning machinery and failing systems seems to bleed into everything he does.
The disc closes with a loud, multichannel examination of a hospital’s ventilation system , rattling machine noise and churning turbines forming a deeply mechanical finale to a superb and hugely rewarding release. ‘Undetected’ delivers more secret pleasures with each exploration of its hidden undercurrents.

FREEZING THE MIC

In Vital Weekly

Francisco Meirino has the most conceptual recording here, at least judging by the title and the text on the cover. I assuming that the four pieces mentioned on the cover, 'after 20 minutes (water)', 'after 60 minutes', 'after 120 minutes' and 'after 180 minutes (ice)' reflect the various stages of freezing a mic, as the title promises us. Here we are dealing with four very quiet pieces of sound, but more of a static nature, with hardly any movement at all, or distraction from outside. Minimalist and conceptual, but also a fascinating release.

GHOSTS OF CASE FILE 142

In the Wire

In paranormal research, the repeated sound sample in triplicate is standard protocol for playback of any Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) recodring, of which low volume, radio static, cable buzz or room noise might muddle a ghostly communion with the living. Meirino uses that repetitive trope in this collaborative work with noted EVP researcher Michael Esposito, both emphasising the suggestibitly of syntax and recapitulating those clipped sounds as rhythm in his decentred collages. Meirino collected field recordings at a former school of anatomy in Switzerland ( now a library ) and handed them over to Esposito, who found 43 instances of EVP. Meirino then used those snippets, along with his magnetic field disruptions, as the basis for the album. The result are less about communication with the dead, more an existential allegory about technological malfunction and its impact on the human body, mind and spirit. Meirino has been on a recent jag of incredible records, and this does not dissapoint. (Jim Haynes)

In Neural

This work is based on recordings made in Lausanne, Switzerland, in an ancient school of anatomy that has been turned into a library. They were edited by Francesco Meirino himself at the Shiver Mobile studio between November and December of 2011. Hesitant audio emissions - rather dark iterations, dense with granular drones – are interweaved with atypical frequencies and occasional percussive elements. Patterns are organized without particular conceptual grounding, something made explicit in the unfolding of looping passages and pauses and by the more reactive captures - forming an unusual digitalist mix (although at these latitudes the average listener is likely to be prepared for any kind of union or contamination). The recordings were originally made by Michael Esposito, an experimental artist and investigator of metaphonia (Electronic Voice Phenomena), a methodology or pseudo-discipline concerned with capturing - using a recorder or the radio - words and coherent sentences that do not originate from the surroundings or from radio stations, but "messages" supposedly arriving from alien locations. Without looking too deeply, metaphonia seems vulnerable to “undesirable” interferences, but can be a fertile area for artistic exploration, something Meirino skilfully reveals. If we look in the right places with a rigorous methodology we might find that the true paranormal is our ability to activate subtle associations, to transfigure the everyday, cleaning it of its banality.
Aurelio Cianciotta

In Vital Weekly

More research here into the world of ghosts, the other-world, the EVP. Francisco Meirino went out to do recordings at an ancient school of anatomy (now a library) in Lausanne, Switzerland and then these recordings were part of EVP research by Michael Esposito. Meirino in return 'assembled, edited and mastered' the final results which is an one piece work: 'Ghosts Of Case File 142'. As much as I am fascinated by the work of this CD, or indeed by the whole idea of EVP, I have no clue how this whole EVP thing works, or, and that's the skeptical side of me, if this perhaps a lot of bullshit. I really don't know. I think I like to take these things face value: as a sound carrier having forty minutes of music. Lots of processed field recordings, obviously I'd say, which Meirino has cut together into stark blocks of sound. Sometimes piercing loud, sometimes very soft, but always using a great sense of dynamics - the full spectrum is used. Like I have been noticing before, Meirino is for me one of the more interesting noise musicians. Because its loud, oppressive loud, but also because there is a fine sense of composition in here. At times I am reminded of Francisco Lopez, but then Meirino in his louder moments is much louder than Lopez is, at least on CD. A mysterious piece of music here, with sudden changes, fierce sounds and a sinister undercurrent. Like a great horror movie. (FdW)

In Fake Dimensions

After a slight delay due to a major fuckup of the CD manufacturing company, the ghosts of 142 have finally been brought into the light of day in all of their intended complexity. Francisco was kind enough to provide a copy to fake dimensions, thanks a lot for that! While the visual design of recent Esposito releases on Firework Edition Records (which has obviously become a pleasant home to the works of Mr. E) was done by Philip Marshall, the artwork for this CD was accomplished by Francisco Meirino. I don't know how, but in some way the art manages to perfectly reflect this overall arcane atmosphere, that encompasses this and most of the other works by Michael Esposito (and so does Philip's artwork as seen on "Ghosts of Ogilvie Station" for instance). Case File 142 is based on recordings Francisco made on site in Lausanne at a former school for anatomy and EVP researches by Michael. It's a one-piece, totalling nearly 41 minutes, a rather quiet album on the whole, compared to some of the earlier releases by both artists. There's a lot of buzzing and hissing on here, paired with very well-placed sequences of nearly complete silence, undoubtedly bearing the hallmarks of Meirino. Most of the time the EVPs are rather looming in the background, ocassionally whispering from somewhere faraway, drawing the attention to something or someone being out there, someplace here or there, far-off or even very close by. Case File 142 is a piece that needs to be listened to very closely, to ensure you don't miss the many small details that pop up repeatedly in the course of this journey. If you listen closely enough it's almost like getting a story told, and although (or precisely because) its ending is vague, you will inevitably stick to it all along the way. (M.Muennich)

In Acquarius

EVP research is commonplace within the catalog of Firework Editions, a Swedish label run in part by the conceptual artist Leif Elggren. One of Elggren's more infamous projects is the Kingdom of Elgaland-Vargaland which occupies a liminal political space between the boundaries of countries; but within the magisterial constitution, Elgaland-Vargaland annexes the psychic realm of dreams and even goes so far as to abolish death. With this proclamation, the kingdom offers citizenship to ghosts, spirits, and apparitions; and seeks communion with such entities through EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomenon - whereby voices of unknown origin mysteriously appear on the electronic mediums of tape, radio, and digital recorders. EVP researchers like Chicago's Michael Esposito claim these voices to originate from spirits beyond the grave; and there's quite of lot of late night entertainment coming from their spooky if questionable paranormal research. Esposito seems to hold more of a metaphysical and poetic agenda in his work, by reaching out to the sound art community as a crucible for his admittedly unnerving recordings. He's collaborated with the aforementioned Elggren, fellow Elgaland-Vargaland cohort CM von Hausswolff, John Duncan, FM Einheint, and now Francisco Meirino.
Esposito's role in this collaboration with the electro-acoustic artist Francisco Meirino is that of a taxonomist, with Meirino doing most of the heavy lifting on the album. Meirino made a series of field recordings in a former school of anatomy in his native Switzerland; and upon hearing something odd in the recordings, he passed everything onto Esposito, who in turn discovered over 30 incidents of EVP in Meirino's original recordings. Those discovered events became the inspiration and source material for Meirino's composition which blisters with static bursts of noise, caustic flares of electricity, and hissing fields of magnetic disturbances. Amidst these jarring events (which come together as a something not dissimilar to the Hafler Trio, Joe Colley, or G*Park), Meirino cycles through the EVP material in repetitive phrases. It's still not all that easy to hear what Esposito claims to be in these recordings, but the mechanoid repetitions lend to a very cold and disembodied aesthetic which couples perfectly with Meirino's splinterings of electro-acoustic sound. Esposito may have been the inspiration for the album; but it's Meirino who makes it all sound so damn good.

In the Watchful Ear

Tonight a CD by Francisco Meirino and Michael Esposito entitled 01″ Ghosts of case file 142. I have a few difficulties with this particular release. not because of how it sounds, which is actually quite good, but with the claims of where the source material originates. The album contains a single forty minute track that was assembled by Meirino from “EVP research” recordings made by Esposito at a library in Lausanne, Switzerland, that was once a school of anatomy. I read this myself casually, while listening for the first time, not really knowing what EVP research might be, but a bit of simple googling later revealed that Esposito’s sounds then are apparently the sounds of paranormal activity. Clearly, obviously, they aren’t, but instead the recordings Esposito has collected are strange anomalies found in the airwaves that offer thoroughly interesting questions around how we can perceive them to be similar to human voices. As a confirmed rationalist then, I will consider this album of music purely for its abstract audio qualities, but its worth noting how remarkable a set of sounds can be found out there if you look in the right places.

The music here then sounds mostly electronic, often not unlike analogue synth sounds, often crossing into shortwave radio areas and with occasional percussive elements. The sounds have been arranged relatively simply, without too much going on at one time and with a fair amount of room to breathe compositionally. The various strange sounds then are placed against one another to that a quiet hum might be offset by a louder queasy throb or feisty white noise might wrap around a gentle chime. Long periods of brooding calm will often suddenly burst into passages of more garish activity, but the album always seems to keep itself generally on the quieter side. While on the whole the album makes fine use of the wide array of quirky, unusual sounds, offsetting them against each other in interesting ways, there is also a fair degree of repetition and looping of sounds that reminds us that ultimately this is a bunch of samples pulled together rather than anything more organic. Hearing the same sounds repeated at times takes away some of the originality of the sounds here, but generally the piece is a well crafted work that makes the most of the spectrum of sounds captured by Esposito. Despite its silly title, 01: Ghosts of case file 142 is generally speaking though a well formed, attention holding work that holds up well as an gentle, airy composition. If you like me you enjoy neatly arranged electro-acoustic constructions with a fair degree of contemplative silence threaded through then this is well worth a listen, if you rare able to separate it from all of the ghost story stuff.

A WHILE AND AWHILE

In Vital Weekly

Like I said last week, I do like noise; when served decently. One of the noise makers I really like is Francisco Meirino. He worked as Phroq until 2009, and since then under his own name. For his 'A While And Awhile) he uses his computer, reel-to-reel recorders, analog synth, field recorder, various home-made electronics, piezo transducers, radio scanner and electro-magnetic sensors. 'With audio and visual data gathered in Switzerland and China', it says on the cover. Noise is perhaps not really present on this release.
Or perhaps: not as such. Things buzz, crackle and hiss, and put together in an interesting fashion through collage techniques. There are nine pieces on this release, but they can also be heard as one piece. I wasn't paying attention to my CD player so its hard to say when a track started and ended. Its not really important either - the tracks have no titles anyway. Sometimes there is a strong buzz and a new piece starts or perhaps in the middle of piece. Faulty lines and machinery are important ingredients in this music. Sometimes the buzzes are layered together and form a heavy drone like machine sound. This is all excellent modern musique concrete music put together in a highly intelligent way from elements from noise music. See, boys from the HNW scene, now that's what I call noise. Use this as your text book example. (FdW)

In The Field Reporter

I have seen a photograph of an open case which is absolutely stuffed full of black cables and wires. Next to these is a metal box with eleven knobs on, each one turned to a different setting. At the side of this case, hanging from a drumstick projecting from the top of a reel-to-reel tape recorder, are several magnetic tape loops. These items belong to Francisco Meirino, and if ever anyone needed an illustration of what ‘A while and awhile’ might sound like, they need look no further.

Meirino seems to be using two categories of sound here: The physical ( flicking switches, starting fans, clanking metal and generally shuffling around ), and the electrical ( low hums, sparky crackles, overloaded circuits and the sound of fingers on jack plugs ). From this palette he blends pinpoint clicks and sub-bass rumbles with everything in between and comes out with a constantly changing and evolving music of chance encounters.The first of the nine tracks for example, unnamed except for its length of duration ( 4.51 ), begins with sounds that might be generated in one’s mouth. Spittle snaps and pops in a salivary display of crepitation. Beneath this a deep, ominous hum takes shape and begins rising from nothing. Before long other mysterious activity, as if from far off rooms carried down ventilation shafts and bounced off walls, becomes apparent.We’re located in a no-man’s land where it is hard to get a grasp of the location. This is certainly a physical world, but power surges and badly soldered electrical components are rendering the infrastructure dangerous. I see from his website that Meirino has a preference for performing live in absolute darkness. I can visualise the air around him igniting and glowing in iridescent flashes as charged particles collide and decay.The term ‘glitch’ is an ugly word, and it seems to have been taken on board by a generation of electronic artists wanting to disrupt the metallic sheen of computer music with carefully placed flecks and meticulously honed cuts. Mereino’s work should not be confused with self-conscious confections of this nature. His art paints a raw and unpolished landscape with surprises and danger at every turn.His music explores the tension between programmable material and the potential for its failure. Track 8 puts me inside a computer, but not in a digital way. Not in the sense of being incorporated into the programme as data like Tron. Instead I’m among the fans that cool the processor. I can hear the data transfers occurring via the wires and I can sense the power coming in from the mains, but it’s all so poorly insulated that energy is leaking out at random points. Instability is increasing. Help!

'A while and awhile' is awash with forces and potentials pulling in all directions. Meirino has developed a purely personal way of articulating his chosen material, and in doing so has created a compelling and completely enthralling piece of work. If this becomes your introduction to this artist, as it was mine, you will want to explore more and search out further examples. Believe me, naked electricity is positively addictive.I would like to end this review with a piece of advice: Never let Francisco Meirino rewire your house! (Chris Whitehead)

KNOWN TESTIMONIES ON THE UNKNOWN

In the Wire

Francisco Meirino last year gave us Recordings Of Voltage Errors, Magnetic Fields,On-Site Testimonies & Tape Tension.
With this cassette he gives us further arcane testimony - a selection of sounds found and unknown, sounds known but forgotten and the chatter of people speaking a language he can't understand. As listeners we are left with plenty of interpretive latitude, but maybe it's best to resist the temptation to subjugate sound to meaning; maybe it's better simply to join Meirino in the dark, listening to these rumblings from the outer limits. (Julian Cowley)

RECORDINGS OF VOLTAGE ERRORS, MAGNETIC FIELDS, ON-SITE TESTIMONIES AND TAPE TENSION

In the Wire

This is a shockingly good album from Swiss power-acoustician Francisco Meirino. Track titles like "The Sweet Smell Of Failure" and "The Persisten Lack Of Self-Esteem" allude to the artist coming to grips with the failings of his equipment and the sputtering sounds they produce. Electrostatic bursts of energy bristle against squealing piezo transducers handling more voltage than they are designed to carry, only to collapse into dead-eyed thrumming from poorly grounded circuits. If internal disintegration weren't enough, some passages sound like Meirino is actively grinding his destroyed circuit boards between two cinder blocks. None of the passages explode with a grand violence. Instead, much of Meirino's gear unceremoniously ceases to function. The sense of psychic and existential corrosion is something to behold.(Jim Haynes)

In Vital Weekly

This is the CDR version of a LP that was released by Misanthropic Agenda in a super small edition of 90 copies only, but then its twelve minutes longer than the LP. In recent times I became quite a fan of the music of Phroq, especially at the turning point when he calls himself by his own name. Maybe it has to do with my own private interest in a more noise based approach these days, but going back to the strictest harsh noise is not my cup of tea. What I do like is that fine combination of loud and soft. Meirino is one of those composers who does just that. Like the title of this suggests, he uses recordings of electric means that go wrong, broken cables, defective plugs, picking up magnetic fields and crackling tape hiss. Amplified to the max - at times - carefully low humming at other times. Sometimes looped around for a small amount of time, but then brutally interrupted by a loud burst and swiftly moving into something new. Excellent use of collage techniques here. I am not sure if I should regard getting this as a CDR and not as a LP, but somehow I think a CDR is better. No extra-static charges from the vinyl, and the dynamics are bright and neat.(FdW)

In Touching Extremes

Naming an album with a 10-word review of its content is an excellent idea to assist poor scribblers. In fact, I was just given a chance of avoiding the umpteenth repeat of preposterous depictions, and concentrate on other types of analysis. For instance, Meirino’s ability of producing modern-sounding brilliance from such kinds of viciously callous emanations. In this release – originally a CDR in super-limited edition, now a luscious vinyl, unfortunately lacking a chunk of the pre-existing material and STILL issued in mere 90 copies – the ruthless ear-quake promoter decided to focus a little more on spacing. This he did through competent grouping and deployment of malfunctioning apparatuses and location recordings (the latter collected in Switzerland and Spain in 2010). The results appear at the same time carefully constructed, perfectly natural and rather startling; when Meirino follows the crunchier discharges with a magnificent drone in “Reel To Reel, End To End” we even get pretty near DanielMencheLand for about thirty seconds, before the usual discombobulating assortments of dizzying frequencies and pumping-from-within subsonics reclaim the possession of our (un)balance. As far as social relation-killing composers are concerned, the guy is approaching the very top of my personal list.
Massimo Ricci

MUSIC FOR AN EMPTY CINEMA

In Paris Transatlantic

Recorded at Lausanne's Cinema Oblò in 2009 (presumably not in front of an invited audience), this single 38-minute track features local resident Francisco "Phroq" Meirino on computer and magnetic field detectors and, visiting from the other side of the rösti gap, analogue synth whiz and shortwave radio twiddler Jason Kahn. Anyone familiar with either man's previous work will know what to expect: ever so slowly shifting layers of low hum and sizzling drone, lightly peppered with the kind of whirrs and clicks that had me reaching for the mp3 player and wondering if I had the headphones plugged into it correctly. Dumb idea in any case, listening to this kind of stuff on the road through a set of cans – like any good Kahn album it deserves and rewards listening to at considerable volume on a decent sound system. Not sure whether it adds anything new to the story, but that hardly matters when the quality level is as high as it is here.–DW

In The Watchful Ear

Really tired tonight, but glad that week is over and I have a couple of days off now. I haven't been home much for a couple of days, and arrived back here quite late tonight, so have been listening quite intently since getting in to a new CD release on Phil Julian's Authorised Version label, a disc named Music for an Empty Cinema by the duo of Francisco Meirino and Jason Kahn. Meirino is a name that I didn't know, but a bit of simple googling reveals that he released many CDs over a decade or so until 2009 using the name Phroq.
I don't remember exactly where, but somewhere amongst my library I have a CD containing something credited to Phroq, though what and where it is I can't remember. Now using his far more appealing real name, Meirino works on this track with laptop and magnetic field detectors, alongside Jason Kahn's very familiar analogue synth and shortwave radio. The album was apparently initially recorded live at a cinema in Switzerland in 2009, with the material then edited a year later. Whether the concert was a closed door affair, or whether just few people arrived I am not sure, but the album's title suggests not too many people were in attendance, which is a shame as the music is rather nice. In many ways this CD is archetypal Jason Kahn.
Across the disc's song thirty-eight minute long track we hear clouds of hissing, fizzing, crackling, ribbiting distortion as we have many times on his releases. Meirino seems to work with sounds very much along similar lines, to the point that I couldn't really tell which of the pair make which sounds here, even if it were possible to separate them into two distinct sets, which it really isn't. The nearest comparison here is Kahn's work with Asher- a hazy, smudged wall of what sounds at first like white noise, but in fact is made up of much bigger particles, just many of them, constantly shifting, with new elements continually appearing, but the overall impact remaining as one long sheet of sound, like sitting in a room surrounded by twenty or so detuned shortwave radios, which of course isn't all that far away from the truth here.
The difficulty with this album, as with other albums I have heard from Kahn before, is in working how to react to it. On the surface I wonder what emotions music like this could possibly give off, what it might express, but listening closely, losing yourself in the fields of sound, while maybe not singing out with one particular set of sentiments or anything so simplistic, is a deeply immersive, almost overwhelming experience. Turning the music up quite loud, trying to imagine how it must have been heard in the cinema space places you in the middle of a tiny, controlled maelstrom as things fly around your head, buzzing about, seemingly misfiring and malfunctioning. It shard to think about much else while you listen, difficult to make notes, do much else than fend of the music as if it were a cloud of flies about your head. What isn't clear to me is to what extent did the post-production editing change what was played live into what we hear on disc.
Certainly it all sounds quite fluid and uncomposed, but then music of this kind would probably sound that way no matter what. Ultimately it doesn't matter anyway, and this is a fine piece of work that will appeal to those into the more laminal, electronically altered end of improvisation as well as perhaps a number of people crossing over from the more creative end of the noise scene.
The disc also comes wrapped in a card sleeve embossed by the good people at Middle Press, which immediately makes it a more desirable object as well.

In Vital Weekly

It was quiet for Jason Kahn recently, but here he is again, on the revived Authorized Version label with a great live recording with Francisco Meirino. They are credited with computer, magnetic field detectors, analog synthesizer and short wave radio. Maybe, looking at the title, it was a recording made without the presence of any audience, or perhaps not many, but then surely people missed out on an excellent thirty minute excursion in the world of magnetic, static and moving waves. Static it seems, but that's only when heard superficially. If you listen closer, you'll find that this actually moves all the time. Hissy, high pitched, with occasionally a deeper end, crackling with radio waves and all such like. There are even bits of percussive sounds in there, courtesy perhaps of Kahn (perhaps) which adds also the vibrancy of the whole thing. A refined work by these masters of the finest drone around. (FdW)

FLUPENTIXOL / LAMOTRIGINE

In Vital Weekly

Together with Lasse Marhaug, Meirino recorded a 7", 'play at 33 or 45 rpm', with some medical theme. 'Flupentixol' is a swift montage (even at 33 rpm) of sounds glued together, like found sounds from old reel-to-reel tape snippets found on the floor. I thought I heard snippets of James Bond movies, but I might be wrong. The whole demontage of sounds reminded me of old Mixed Band Philantrophist LP, which acted in a similar craze. 'Lamotrigine' is less speedily collage of sounds, but a rather concentrated effort of magnetic fields, intercepted by electronic sounds towards the end and other sounds dropping in and out. It makes two entirely different sides, but together a great 7". FdW)

FIVE YEARS OF WORK FOR A STRANGE RESLUT

In Insound

This five year mail-collaboration brings together veteran sound artists Francisco Meirino, better known as PHROQ and Brent Gutzeit, a member of TV Pow. These artists compose bleak melancholic soundtracks using field recordings, electronics and noise. More music concrete than harsh noise, this release would fit in more closely with Luc Ferrari than Merzbow.

In Neural

Flawlessly integrated in this project - the result of five years of collaboration - are the broken electro-acoustic frequencies of Francisco Meirino and the drones and highly sensitive, intense pulses of Brent Gutzeit. These are two experimenters very familiar with dynamic digital jumps and unconventional sound research. The former is well-known for his interesting releases under the moniker Phroq, while the latter is a specialist of elegant noisy caesuras, very versatile and still active in TV Pow, a laptop trio, a combo which also includes Todd A. Carter and Michael Hartman. In this release it is not always easy to determine the moments when one or other audio-artist assumes control, whether the ruptures are the result of light beats or the opposite, but this matters little in the overall economy of the ten different tracks, which are juxtaposed in a hyper-vivid continuum, never dull, sometimes melancholic, whispering and highly imaginative. There are also field recordings between the grooves (never predominant in the sequences) that have been heavily processed and combine to express a collage of very refined and intriguing sounds. (Aurelio Cianciotta)

In Paris Transatlantic

The self-explanatory title indicates the lengthy data-swapping process at the basis of this work, showcasing the combined skills of two sound artists whose past achievements (notably Meirino's excellent works as Phroq and Gutzeit's fantastic Drugmoney) guarantee good taste. Painstakingly constructed, fragmented and reassembled, the innumerable frequencies generated by this perfect pair spread across the whole spectrum of audibility, and beyond (careful with your pets). Earthquake-like vibrations are perceived as subliminal messages of wondrous threat, as hordes of squirrels are spindried at impossible speed by a nuclear washing machine and sandblasted by ferocious discharges of filthy electricity. Shifting panning, penetrating munchkin squeals, distant drones and crumbling edifices transposed six octaves down are but a few of the treats on offer. Occasionally disturbed by snippets of humanoid voices, and replete with moments of exhilarating tension scientifically alternated with nearly absurdist abstract intermissions, this one deserves an awful lot of replays.(MR)

In Vital Weekly

Its been a while since I last heard music by Brent Gutzeit, formerly (?) of TV Pow, but also with some solo albums to his name, which I didn't all hear. Meirino, formerly known as Phroq, is perhaps more active, or perhaps more of his music lands on my desk. He's one of the more interesting composers that go beyond playing 'just' noise: he composes with the notion of noise in his mind, but adds balance to it. Not just an onslaught of loud sounds without much depth, but also adding more dynamics and at times something 'soft'. There is always an element of subtleness in his music. Gutzeit proved to be a master of more sustaining, droning pieces of music, so let's see what five years of exchanging audio data brings us.

Its probably not easy to say who does what here, and perhaps I haven't got all the insight to say something about it, but this seems to me more an album of Meirino playing around with the sound input from Gutzeit then vice versa. There is a fair amount of drone like soundsto be found in these pieces for sure, there is no mistake to be made there, but there is also a (greater) amount of noisy injections to be found here, which I assume as Meirino's work. Heavily computer based in its methods of processing, the ten pieces make pretty strong collages of sound. Things buzz around on end, and there is always that low flying engine bass sound to be spotted, that will rip your speakers apart.

A highly dynamic set of music, that, clocking in at almost an hour will never bore the listener for a single second. A strange buzzing and ringing sound will remain long after this is over. (FdW)

WE ARE NONE OF US

In The Wire

Many listeners describe difficult music as "abstract". The connection to abstraction in visual art possibly informs this distinction, but it seems to me that it is traditional music that is abstract, where sweeping symphonies must, through melody, rhythm and harmony, evoke such things as pastoral landscapes, thunderstorms and birdsong. Dave Phillips (member of Schimpfluch-Gruppe, the European Aktionist Noise/performance collective) and Francisco Meirino (formerly Phroq) have collaborated on a gripping, confusiing CD that vacillates defty between abstraction and representation, blurring the distinction between the two.

We Are None Of Us follows the compositional logic of many Schimpfluch-related releases : long periods of near silence are sharply interrupted by cat-scare blasts of harsh electronics, but Meirino's signature digital sizzles and crackles define the soundscape. Phillips often incorporates themes of animal righs and anti-anthropocentrism into his work - his recent US tour performances included videos of animal torture, and he has released albums of untreated insect sounds that rival Merbow's brutality. Those insect sounds reapper here, enabling some fascinating effects. Meirino's chirping electronics, which until now I've always assumed were referent, are placed alongside field recordings of insects, and all of sudden, overmodulated square waves begin to sound like the rubbing of chitin on chitin. The bugs and the synths bleed into each other until the listener isn't sure what is or isn't electronic anymore. Phillips's recordings have transformed Meirino's music into a kind of sonic portraiture. Elsewhere, muffled voices, children's choirs, traffic and beer cans are augmented and imitated by digital synthesis, the two worlds always weaving into one another, confusing electronic for acoustic. The press release claims that Phillips and Meirino were inspired by horror film soundtracks, citing composers like John Carpenter, Krzysztof Komeda and Goblin. In the Noise scene, this is a pretty mudane and well-trodden path. We Are None Of Us is, frankly, too excellent to be dismissed as part of any Giallo-worshipping lo-fi routing. It tells a story, one that is at times quite frightening, but has more in common with Hitchcock than with gore porn. (William Hutson)

In Vital Weekly

Some weeks ago I received the official announcement that Francisco Meirino is no longer using the name Phroq as his moniker, but from now on wishes to work under his real name only. I wrote about this tendency before, and no doubt it has something to do with opting to be taken more seriously (by whom I wonder?). Dave Philips works as such for a much longer period of time. There is an interesting parallel to be drawn from both artists, which is that both work with what I call intelligent noise. Both of them use the collage/cut-up in a dramatic way. They have various building blocks of electro-acoustic sounds and field recordings at their disposal, which they cut together. Sometimes deceivingly silent and quite, which can linger on quite a bit, but just when you don't expect this, they cut it out with some harsh, nasty sound. That happens a few times on their collaborative work, as its hardly a surprise that both man work together. The six pieces on this work, which took four years to create, are excellent examples of their work. There is a great sense of story telling in these pieces, although its not obvious what this story is. Its captivating music throughout, very intense and thoughtful. Sometimes this puts you off, since there are odd changes and interruptions, loud as hell, but you can not help but sucked into this music. Definitely from the background of noise music, but with so much more to tell and with so much more pleasure to hear. Excellent collaboration. (FdW)

ANTHEMS FOR UNSUCCESSFUL WINNERS

In Vital Weekly

Up until last year Francisco Meirino used the name Phroq as an alias, but like so many he left that behind and now works under his own name. Its interesting to see that similarity with Joe Colley (formerly known as Crawl Unit) and Andy Orthmann (Panicsville).
There is also another parallel to be drawn between these three. They all have a background in good solid noise, but when working under the own name, their all seems to have opened up the noise approach in favor of musique concrete. By incorporating electro-acoustic sounds and field recordings, along with heavily processed versions thereof, they create their own approach to noise, and one that is actually all the more interesting.
Meirino here has the same approach as on 'Connections, Opportunities For Mistakes' (which I don't got reviewed here): the beauty of failure. Gear breaking down, the death of a PA system, electro-static noise and such like. These events are not presented 'as such', but the sounds are used in various combinations, in a strong musical collage. Sometimes dense, sometimes stretched out, but then also at other times abrupt endings (the failure ending in a full stop), swift changes in the material. The cover says we should hear these six pieces as one track (although individually titled), which then probably even makes more sense.
A pretty strong work, I'd say. If more noise was like this and not the storm of distortion, then I'd be more than happy.
Even when this release opens with 'Winning Is Overrated', I'd say this is a winner.(FdW)

In Scalatympani

Comme s’extrayant d’une carapace larvaire pour révéler une apparence plus aboutie,Francisco Meirino quitte le Phroq qui lui collait à la peau depuis 15 ans et se présente désormais sous sa véritable identité. L’artiste serait-il arrivé à maturité ? En réalité, la mue imaginale était déjà amorcée depuis quelques temps et le changement ne paraîtra pas radical à qui se souvient suffisamment clairement de l’excellent Connections, Opportunities for Mistakes(2008). Le thème du dysfonctionnement est à nouveau central dans cet opus bourré d’électronique fumant qui, dans un assemblage de « victoires sans succès », explore les limites de systèmes pas toujours identifiés. Une intrusion nocturne au cœur de la salle des machines permet d’en éclairer brièvement quelques portions ; il y a des câbles un peu partout que Meirino dénude avec les dents, tentant quelques branchements de fortune pour ranimer des appareils moribonds mais recueillant plus souvent leur dernier souffle. L’agonie n’est pas de tout repos : des fréquences tranchantes comme un faisceau laser découpent l’espace dans toutes les dimensions, des mouvements mécaniques manquent de défaillir à chaque itération, des montées en puissance sont stoppées net par des chutes brutales de tension et des éruptions volcaniques enregistrées sur dictaphone troublent une friture imperceptible de particules. On ne reste jamais tranquille très longtemps et à peine commence-t-on à s’installer dans un environnement que l’on s’en trouve délogé par une décharge ; une instabilité qui renvoie à l’image d’un électrocardiogramme pas très vaillant, auquel on reste suspendu en attendant l’issue fatale. Bien sûr, l’interprétation de tout cela reste essentiellement subjective et, avec son titre le plus pertinent, Meirino annonçait déjà ce qu’allait être cette chronique : une « unsuccessful attempt at trying to explain the meaning of these sounds » !

In Tranzistor
(translation by Yiorgis Sakellariou)

"Anthems for unsuccessful winners" by Francisco Meirino, that was recently released on Echomusic, is an album that shows Francisco's turn towards more electroacoustic paths, gradually leaving behind the noise-extravagantza of the past, under the moniker Phroq. Not that at that time there were not moments were he put out amazing pieces, like the relatively recent Half Asleep Music, on Entr'acte, but his gradual turn from noisescapes towards more electronic/electroacoustic soundscapes show new potential that he can develop. So, at least, it seems from the 6 pieces of this CD-R that can be listened to as one track or autonomus (or randomly) and that are thicker of more frequency based. I'm curious to see what he will present in the future.

BRUT

In Foxy Digitalis

This collaboration between Francisco Meirino (f.k.a. Phroq) and Bob Bellerue—and especially the first track, "Lausanne, 2006"—is required headphone listening. As "Brut" is a noise record through and through, that might be obvious, but not just any headphones quite make the experience. I tried listening to the disc on both regular speakers as well as open-ended cans, and it sounded like what you'd expect from a noise record with lots of drones, nerve-tickling static, acoustic-electronic textures, etc. In this genre, it's easy to catch yourself getting lost trying to figure out what computers/tapes/instruments are actually producing what's being heard, which is a challenge unless you see the performance or it's noted somewhere in the production credits (this CD-r is vague in this regard). But what Meirino and Bellerue accomplish here transcends the sum of its various components, essentially dismissing the question altogether. More interesting is how the duo make use of stereo space, so if you can, find some noise-canceling earbuds, and plug this thing in as close to your brain as possible for maximum effect.

At first blush, "Lausanne, 2006" (Meirino's re-edit of a Bellerue composition), might come off as a little boring, consisting of a limited palate of sounds that wallow slowly and build over time. But a closer listen reveals the piece as a stunning example of two channels, left and right, performing together in concert—likely an element added with Meirino's mixing in post. The track consistently causes my head to actually cock at an angle as the left ear sounds concave with sunken effects that dip into billowing depths with low, ominous grumbles, almost pushing inward. The right channel, meanwhile, concentrates higher frequencies to oppositely pull out as a grouping of tones slowly cluster in a discordant mess, gradually picking up volume and intensity before the clamorous climax of a finish. The track's production helps transform what might be a more simply constructed noise composition into a physically intensive mind-fuck of a listen.

"Brooklyn, 2009" (Bellerue's re-edit of Meirino's track) is a much more sonically balanced and direct effort. It's also a much busier work, claustrophobic at times, hiccupping with screeching tones that dive-bomb in and out of the folds, even incorporating brief flashes of open space. Unlike its predecessor, "Brooklyn" is more nervous and unsettled, never satisfied with a solid mix and constantly fluctuating. The piece works itself into a terrifying roar at its apex with a disturbing, demonic-sounding vocal that bobs its ugly head from the underworld in desperation, the whole effect of which is reminiscent of digital hell-raiser Kevin Drumm.

This feels like a classic pairing of two composers at the height of their creative abilities, showcasing unique but aligned sensibilities through a trading-off of performance and production roles. Though it?s fairly clear that Meirino shines a little more brightly (mixing-wise on the first cut, performance-wise on the second), "Brut" as a whole is an economically devised CD-r that, at its relatively short length (25 minutes total run-time), is a surprisingly easy thing to enjoy with repeated spins, especially so for a noise record. Just enough to get your teeth grinding, never too much to risk losing a filling over. 9/10 -
(Crawford Philleo)

CONCERT A L'OBLO

In Vital Weekly

A much more recent recording, from March this year, is by Francisco Meirino (sometimes known as Phroq) and Kiko C. Esseiva. The latter plays "tape recorders and realtime tape manipulations", whereas the first does "computer and contact microphones", which they call electro acoustic music, here captured in concert.
One piece of forty minutes of quite 'present' electro-acoustic music, with a strong love of 'continuos' sounds.
It's not easy to describe what's going on on this release.
The sweeping sounds of tapes, crackles and hum of the computer and contact microphones make music that is quite dense, but also a true delight to hear.
Mysterious, dark, intense, but also delicate and precise.
Improvised but almost sounding composed, save a for a few moments here and there.
An excellent work.
Pretty intense music.

CONNECTIONS, OPPORTUNITIES FOR MISTAKES

In Asymmetry Music Magazine

Francisco Meirino?s 2009 release is all about the sounds music machines make when they?re failing–minidisc players, P.A. systems, cassette recorders, and so forth. And very interesting and musical sounds they do make, to be sure. But it?s not just a lot of nice sounds that makes this album so rewarding to listen to. It?s the keen ear and musical intelligence of Francisco Meirino creating complex, cunningly layered tracks, some only seconds long but still carefully and lovingly crafted. Or are they? The phrase makes you wonder: opportunities for mistakes. Is that about the failing machines, or is that about being open as a composer for the unexpected or the unplanned? Either way, the results, for us, are nothing but delightful.

Track one is called Stress recording of distress. After some loud, high frequency bursts, it settles down to a complex wall of grit and static, with a subtle throbbing underneath it all. Various high pitched, pulsing electronic hums come in, to the front and middle of the sound stage. (The recordings are all crystal clear and the axes of height and depth come across very well, even on a modest home system.)

This is followed by the very short (22 seconds) Minidisc failure, which is hiss, loud clanks, hiss, very loud, high shrieks.

Highspeed pulse deterioration is a very rich, dense piece–and ?dense? is probably a misnomer, as every ?line? is so clean and distinct. There?s a lot going on in this piece is all. After a fairly steady (complex but regular) state is achieved, there are added all sorts of asynchronous other bits, some of which are close enough to machine-like regularity (without actually being regular) to be really disorienting.

Track four, The death of a P.A., is also quite short, and also quite sweet. A very loud opening followed by a soft, thumping section with some metallic ringing sounds. It sounds, I assure you, much more beautiful than that bare description.

The sound of failure is a mix of acoustic and electronic mechanical sounds. This, again, is more interesting to listen to than it may sound from that description, if only because the line between acoustic and electronic here is rarely distinct. In fact, were I to find that it?s all electronic, I wouldn?t be surprised. The steady whir and clank of machine sounds, in any event, makes a nice background to the more randomly distributed creaks and chirps. Added to that are some other regular repetitive sounds going on at different speeds. The piece builds very slowly to an excruciating climax.

The title track, Connections, establishes two continuous lines, one very high and one very low. Other little sounds come and go until a loud buzz appears, swells louder, and fades away. After that, the other sounds are not so little any more, more prominent and more persistent. A sudden sharp sound ends the piece.

The last two tracks, Broken cassette recorder and Alternate attempt of ending, are, like tracks two and four, very short. They are also, like two and four, very sweet as well.

Not that you?ll ever listen to this album track by track as I did to make this review. In fact, there?s an instruction on the back of the jewel case, right underneath the track listing: ?Continuous playback recommended.? I recommend it too. I also recommend playing this CD over and over again. You won?t be sorry!(Michael Karman)

In Heathen Harvest

Usually reviewing noise can be trying. Noise can end up sounding quite anonymous if it's not done well and the experience can be tedious – at best, and annoying at worst. "Connections, Opportunities for Mistakes" however is a breath of something very minty fresh into the coffee smelling noise landscape we all love.

From the very begining this promises to be an experience in old school analogue noise, and very ominous noise at that – however also very low key and ambient. The lengthy track builds slowly, utilizing sounds that seem culled from the world of electro accoustics. The sound makes me think of faulty insulation in electric circuits. It's a dangerous kind of goodness. And, as the press release informs us "'Connections, opportunities for mistakes' is based on the idea of recording what is not supposed to be: minidisc recording failures, the death of a PA system, electro-static background noises, broken cassete recorder etc..." Measured against this goal, the album is a complete success.

It is hardly surprising that Phroq is quite accomplished as a musician, and visual artist as well. Under his given name Francisco Meirino he has published a great deal of music, in addition to visual art of various types, since 1994. This dedication to art shines through and the concept behind the album is very consistent and perfectly executed. There is no doubt that one is actually listening to sounds of failing equipment.

As per the nature of the material the tracks vary in length, from the very short and interruptive "minidisc failure" to the meditative, and long, "Stress recording of distress" or "Highspeed Pulse detorioration". This variation is consistent throughout the record, varying from abrupt to soothing. From slowly building to sudden and disturbing. None of the tracks are boring, not a sound is superfluous and everything is drenched in thick atmosphere. It's really impressive, considering the source material, how the compositions can sound so dynamic, moody and calming. While we are certainly deep inside noise land, there is nothing harsh or unpleasent about this piece. The few seconds of edgier sounds only serves to deepen the rest of the cd. The only drawback is that the tracks are hard to distinguish from each other, but this is a minor thing. The tracks are meant to set a mood, and the CD should be considered as a whole. The track markers are in fact somewhat redundant. I can't imagine listening to this cd without going through the whole thing, and as such it is hard to point to a single track that surpasses the others.

It's hard to sum up this cd as anything short of a master piece. Impressive, really impressive.(Batcheeba&Gird09)

In Neural

In this project Phroq, aka Francisco Meirino, uses malfunctioning minidiscs, cassettes and CD players in a work that investigates the glorious end of an amplification system. Together with continuous interferences and electrostatic noises - expressed in different forms and intensities - they reach the status of an interesting sound-art overture, revealing influences that have been around for a while in the international electronic scene.
Starting from an awareness of modulating unusual sounds in audio events, carefully oriented to a sensitization of our auditory apparatus, 'Connections, Opportunities For Mistakes' is explicit in following a long line of contemporary experiments that deal with the 'poetics of error' - interweaving recombinant influences and media short circuits in an aesthetic characterized by strategies, both ethereal and post-human.
It's the last generation of noise, multi-faceted in references and inspirations, including environmental and free form perspectives.(Aurelio Cianciotta)

In Paris Transatlantic

"This disc is based on the idea of recording what is not supposed to be, gear failures, the death of a PA system, unknown background noises." So writes Lausanne-based Francisco Meirino, aka Phroq (where did he get the name from, I wonder?), and that's all the info we get on the back of the disc along with a brief note to the effect that the music was assembled and mastered in San Francisco (local noiseniks Scott Arford and Randy Yau get a namecheck).

It may set out to document the sound of failure – that's the name of one of the album's eight tracks too – but musically Connections is a resounding success. It may be interesting to know where the sounds come from (malfunctioning cassette recorders and minidisc players are also listed), but what matters is what Meirino does with them; these are carefully crafted compositions, assembled with meticulous attention to detail and a keen ear for structure. Meirino's been fine-tuning his art for a decade and a half, and it shows.

Listeners to EAI and noise will be familiar with the sounds – buzzes, beeps, crackles, fizzes and the odd blast of devastating feedback – but it's great to hear them channelled into coherent compositional forms.

Come to think of it, this review probably belongs in the Contemporary section above – and the disc itself belongs in your record collection.(Dan Warburton)

In Bagatellen

As writers and chin-strokers increasingly step up the rhetoric on the death of EAI, Francisco Meirino, aka Phroq, quietly places two new releases on the shelf for our consideration, both of which are reminders that lateral thought benefits music, be it through the formulation of new techniques or the exploration of tonal relationships.

Meirino's been around for a while, and in his 15 years of sound dissection he's certain to have seen a thing or two, not least the occasional emergence of debates around the viability or general health of certain music. These days, Meirino is primarily interested in something akin to a Cageian environment. While he doesn't seem married to the concept of environment-as-accompaniment, he has some excitement about the ghosts in the machines themselves. For instance, it could be argued that a failed disk drive is a casualty brought on by its surroundings, but we're not so interested in the why here as much as the what.

On Connections, Opportunities for Mistakes (Shiver Sounds), Meirino explores and exploits the relationship between programmable material and the potential for its failure. Any improviser can tell you that the best riffs are often found by accident perhaps resulting from the failure of others to keep up. A relay within a circuit is commonly placed to allow for electronic continuity in the event of component failure. Often a system's continuity succeeds with glitches undetected. One of the most interesting tracks is the shortest at roughly 20 seconds, "Minidisc Failure" is amplified n times to expose a device's aural characteristics on a bad day. The disc's ruling effect is its harsh ambiance, cleverly crafted using sources that would not have a place in music otherwise.

...You guys should definitely check out the Phroq discs if you get the chance.
Very highly recommended.(Alan Jones)

In Octopus

De Chop Shop à Joe Colley en passant par Gert-Jan Prins, un certain nombre d'artistes se sont interrogés sur les failles de la technologie. Ou, plus exactement, ont pris le parti d'en tirer profit, insufflant de nouvelles vies à des machines anachroniques, recyclant des matériaux périmés, extrayant du sens de dispositifs qu'on croyait réfractaires à en produire. Francisco Meirino (revêtu comme à son habitude de sa parure pseudonymique : Phroq) fait partie de ce lignage. Sur ce disque réalisé entre Lausanne et San Francisco, deuxième parution de son propre label Shiver Sounds, il explore l'esthétique de l'échec, de l'accident sonore, du résultat fortuit, du parasitage jugé nuisible jusqu'à ce qu'il forme une matière à sculpter par l'artiste. Certains titres permettent peut être de mieux cerner la problématique : "Stress Recording of Distress" regorge de subtils grésillements électroniques, socle grouillant que viennent coloniser grillons inoffensifs ou termites destructrices. "Highspeed Pulse Deterioration" utilise des éléments semblables auxquels s'ajoutent une dimension gravitationnelle et quelques signaux de détresse émis par des satellites en voie de perdition. Le fascinant "Sound Of Failure", qui pourrait être le sous-titre de l'album, offre également une variété de textures abrasives qui évoluent imperceptiblement. Ces longs morceaux de bravoure sont entrecoupés de courtes incisions où, tour à tour, lecteurs de minidiscs, de cassettes et amplis déraillent et rendent l'âme. Pas mal de casse au total et un très intéressant travail de sauvetage de ce qui ne peut apparemment plus l'être, le tout assorti d'un sens aigu du détail.

In Vital Weekly

Francisco Meirino has been around for quite some time, as Phroq and has produced a bulk of releases on a variety of labels, such as Ground Fault, Banned, Even Stilte, Entr'acte, Solipsism, Gameboy, Carbon and others. Shiver Sounds is his own label. Failure is one of the things that interests him. Wether by accident - something breaks - or by his own fault, Meirino is interested in continuing the creative process. For 'Connections, Oppurtunities For Mistakes' he uses minidisc failures, the death of a PA system, electro-static background noises, broken cassette recorder and more. Phroq's music is based on the recordings of these failures, which he then puts together as music. This he does here with some refined class, I must say. It would be too easy to say that Phroq uses the idiom of microsound and that he has put in some extra loud noise elements, but it comes down to just that. Electro magnetic charges running up and down, and then a loud bang of something breaking. Some of these
sounds get looped around and further processed. Thus the failure becomes the basis of a creation. Every sound can be used in whatever way, and that's exactly Phroq's point. He does a great job here, with some highly intelligent music. Its dynamic range for one is a fine thing. Ranging from the superloud to the super quiet, makes this an intense and tense release. Clever compositions of electrical sounds made into electronic music. Music with a dramatic content. Of course there are others who worked in this field, Möslang/Guhl's cracked everyday electronic comes to mind or Joe Colley, but Phroq seems, at least to me, to take things into the world of composition, and that's a great thing. A very fine disc, the best thing I heard from him so far.(FdW)

HALF-ASLEEP MUSIC

In The Wire

The 24 untitled pieces gathered here were all recorded on the brink of sleep and, in terms of timespan at least, they?re incredibly various, ranging from the vanishingly brief to the positively sprawling. But there?s a unity of mood throughout the disc. The sensation is not unlike being a child in a strange house at night — every rustle and creak is amplified in the imagination, and every pause is pregnant with the unknown. Track three ratchets up the tension, a scratchy, fluttering drone which remorselessly rises in pitch even as it diminishes in volume. Track five gestures towards primal, ultra-entropic Techno, with the faintest whisper of structure exerting gravitational pressure on a cold cloud of dancing fragments. The final piece stretches out over 16 minutes — sussurations writhe like bacteria from some abandoned experiment, and distant metallic impacts swim in and out of focus. It could be the death throes of a Cold War power station — or could it be just the central heating playing up again?
Half-Asleep Music plays sinister tricks on the mind through-out. Muted and monochrome it may be, but it achieves,nevertheless, an unlikely potency.(by Chris Sharp)

In Brain Dead Eternity

Mystifying snippets of pragmatism and bewitching sonic pictures of seductive stimulation form a somewhat disjointed narration, where both condensed fragmentariness and surrounding spheres of nerve-tickling frequencies have the same right of citizenship. The high quality derives from Meirino?s capability of shaping the fruits of his research into something that sounds like a consistent totality which, at times, becomes consuming to the level of near-debilitation. Yet the juxtaposition of opposite kinds of source, such as superimposed and manipulated electric hum and human mumbling, penetrates the ears without damage, any aesthetic judgement banished in favour of the pure enjoyment of a now alarming, now hospitable chain of events. Inconveniences in the compositional building are entirely absent and even the most radical episodes do possess a sturdy logic, which is what renders the overall process almost faultless. As far as the timbral relationships are concerned, let?s just say that Phroq is a noncompliant musician and leave it at that.
Definitely ineligible for the soundtrack to nocturnal quietness – indeed one wonders how Meirino managed to avoid trouble with neighbours whilst working on these pieces - Half-Asleep Music is a gutsy exploration of the semi-unknown aspects of transfixion bordering with illuminated edginess. A highly recommended, rewarding listen from every angle.(by Massimo Ricci)

MAGNETIC GHOSTS

In Bagatellen

Magnetic Ghosts (Sentient Recognition Archive) consists of minimalistic play with a 1970?s cassette player, some antiquated audio gear, damaged tapes, and contact mics. The questionable predictability of tape— by way of hidden artifacts —has been cause for study for decades. Ilhan Mimaroglu was bisecting and overdubbing before extensive comparative studies could even be launched.
Meirino is more overt in his exposition, as the track titles say (?Head Cleaning,? ?Auto-Reverse and End?). Like the other disc, Magnetic Ghosts renders preconceptions of the material futile. The tracks consist of variations on mechanical repetition with little recognizable sound — tape hiss features prominently in a few spots, which, in tandem with the other components, comes off surprisingly structured.
Elsewhere Meirino transforms the tape player?s tiny motors as makeshift drone sources, interspersed with the faint clicks of second-stage moving parts and tape heads. It?s an examination of the potential of discarded materials, which may or may not have been music documents in themselves, and it works.Alan Jones

RECORDINGS OF VARIOUS VIBRATIONS AND STRESS SITUATIONS 

In Neural

Francisco Meirino - under the pseudonym Phroq - continues unabashed in his fascination with bugs and micro-sounds. His is a meticulous investigator, pushing the limits of the audible, cataloguing the frequencies and hums of electrical equipment under stress. The sources of the samples - in the different elaborations - are personal computers or "simple" stereo piezo transducers, pipes or microphone contacts, broken headphones used as speakers and external hard drives. Even the sounds of water dripping in a refrigerator, sampled separately and then reassembled, peek from the recordings. In addition we are treated to sounds from three separate live performances: one at the Espace Julien in Marseille in 2004 (using Max/MSP and a broken subwoofer), another from a live set at Paradox in Tilburg in 2006 and a third from 2008, at the Totally Intense Fractal Mindgaze Hut in Oakland, which made the venue's parquet floor vibrate. Such a diversity of materials and techniques are then reduced to a self-referential aesthetic, creatively pursued and entropic. Aurelio Cianciotta

EAGLE KEYS

In Bagatellen

Super-crunch with honey drones.
Tim Olive, last seen with Supernatural Hot Rugs and Not Used, is credited only with electric bass here though I?m challenged to hear anything remotely resembling even extended technique output on such. But I?ll take his word for it. Francisco Meirino (aka Phroq), seems to have taken Olive?s sounds, transmogrified them via insidious means and egested two tracks worth of blustery, difficult, clangorous, wheezing and altogether obstreperous noise.

It?s pretty good.

There are elements, if you take your life into your hands and lean close to the speakers (on a few occasions, enormous enough sounds emerge, capable of cracking nearby thin glass—beware) which you can actually pick out that may have had their origins in strumming, though it?s in the manner you might expect to hear from Frith?s great-great-grandchildren. But who cares? This is one of those recordings where the result seems so far removed from issues of touch that you simply either wallow in the rough ?n? tumble or don?t. If I find the longer track somewhat more engaging than the shorter, it may only be because it raised more bruises. One intriguing aspect is how strong the drones, which one might initially relegate to background status, become on subsequent listens. There?s more than enough going on to reward many return listens. Just remember to bring those safety glasses.

In Touching Extremes

Eagle Keys are Francisco Meirino (aka Phroq) on computer and "acoustics", and Tim Olive on electric bass. While I'm familiar enough with the latter's work and enjoyed his Supernatural Hot Rug And Not Used records with Nisikawa Bunsho quite a lot, this is my first approach to Meirino - unbelievably, one would say, since he's released over 30 albums in various formats, working "on the tension between programmed and accidental results". Introduced by the fabulous artwork of Marc Bell, the CD is riveting all the way, presenting loads of miasmatic drones and knotted contortions that spell "freedom" without the need of a programmatic manifesto. For large portions of the first track, Olive seems to be the motor after a series of impenetrable hums - often graduating to "impressive rumbles" - that create substrata over which Meirino clatters, chatters, wheels and deals, his riposte to his companion's calmness an ever-dangerous, lucid destruction of conventional codes that maintains a firm stranglehold on our aesthetic desires. At the same time, we're left contemplating finely chiseled sonic tissue and sparkling details, a testimony to the extreme care put by these musicians in their cultivated articulations; the jangling low-resonance string layers in the final section are a thing of beauty, propagations recalling motor airplanes in the sky before a massacre of Merzbow-like noise discharges. The same hypnotic mantle wraps the beginning of the second part, deranged music boxes and bell clocks lodged in what sounds like distorted shortwave to determine once and for all our extraneousness in a conversation that is as subliminal as bodily. Piercing high frequencies and half-discreet interference put a worn-out cloth on a subterranean pulse, then we're back to desolation all over again, the final ten minutes of the album reminding of how charming ugliness can be, if only observed by a different perspective.

ATTEMPTS TO REACH USA

In Vital Weekly.

Phroq is a world traveller, playing concerts everywhere. And just like many he made an attempt to reach the USA, and unlike others, he succeeded to reach the country. On the disc with the same name we find several pieces recorded at his 'west coast collapse tour' of september 2005 in California. Back home he edited the concerts into this release. The cover lists: macintosh, contact mics and beer cans. There are four longer cuts and six shorter interludes, which are all relatively soft. In the longer pieces (two of which are over twenty minutes) the music is hellish noise wise. Here he attempts to reach the Merzbow kind of noise, even when here too he knows how take back control and let things go smooth, if that is a term that might be close to what he does. Its all relative matter I guess. Listening to both in a row is a perhaps a bit much, but in a small dose, Phroq is certainly one of the more interesting noise makers. This one has a great professional cover also.
(FdW)

COLLAPSE

In Bagatellen

Noise. How do you possibly make qualitative judgments about noises? How do you say,?This noise is lovely, this one boring. This one profound, this one shallow.? It seems to be a fool?s errand, certainly when you?re dealing with the actual, first-hand noise experience. Does it change when a given noise is?lifted? out of multi-dimensional reality and transferred to disc? Damn it, it appears to. Unlike your basic melody, which you might find banal whether encountered in a concert hall or on your stereo, there?s a discriminatory filter that manifests when you know you?re listening to something that, for better or worse, is being presented as an art form. It?s difficult to imagine, for myself anyway, bumping into any sort of naturally or artificially occurring noise in an everyday environment (leaving aside, for the sake of argument, the physically painful, though even there?) that I could possibly?dislike? or find boring any more than I could see a color that, apart from its context, could be deemed ugly. It?s a sound, no more, no less, with no value judgments attached. Chances are, if listened to closely, a?simple? sound is more complex and chaotic than initially perceived just as a white wall is never white. Delivered into a recorded medium, something is, one presumes, inevitably lost but not only that. The listener senses intent behind the action of inclusion and that, I think, is what tinges one?s reaction to the music, the?whys? of its having been introduced more than the sound itself. Unfortunate? Maybe. Inevitable? I?m afraid so.

The thing is, phroq?s (aka Francisco Meirino) album doesn?t really sit as well with these concerns as I initially thought. On first blush, ?Collapse? seemed to be a selection of tracks that fluctuated between muted, rumbling pieces that sounded carefully considered and explosions of sheer, mono-dimensional noise of the type designed more for inner-brain laceration than contemplation. But closer listenings revealed not only a rich level of detail in the quieter works (one that I suspected was there from the first) but also more complexity and nuance in the shrieking, roaring ones. If the latter, ultimately, are still not found as rewarding, they?re also not nearly as brittle or willfully arch and self-conscious as originally heard (viz, some prior releases from Ground Fault that I?ve written up here)

There are four ?attempts? among the pieces, numbered 4, 2, 1 and 3. They?re short, quieter works, closely examining narrow areas of sound: crinkly textures in the first, soft rumbles in the second, faint whistles with a bit of background clatter in the third and human breath sounds in the last. Each is thoughtful and considered, manifesting an individual and real presence and each is entirely satisfying. The title cut begins with a several second onslaught that will have you leaping for your volume control lest your speakers combust but quickly subsides into some enticing, static-laced subsonics that, if you?re listening on headphones, are like someone idly tapping their fingers on your eardrum. It gradually mutates back near the level of the first few moments and, though you can pick out a number of elements within the maelstrom, there?s something lacking to these ears, some thinness that I don?t pick up, for instance, in some of the more successful, high-volume work of Francisco Lopez. Maybe it?s the difference between feeling like you?re really inside a jet engine or merely in a computer simulation of same. ?Music for French Writing? begins somewhat similarly, all squiggly squeals and corroded bleats, complete with some loopy sine work. But when, a minute or two in, it settles into its gravelly roar, there?s a naturalness, almost a groove (!) that?s very appealing. The ?whys? of this one working more successfully, sounding more of a piece, are difficult to delineate, but it?s arc seems right, it?s length appropriate, nothing more being said than what?s necessary. But the standout track is ?Psychotest, last attempt?. Beginning with ultra-delicate pings right out of Xenakis? ?Concret PH?, it unfolds into a soundscape evoking calving glaciers, enormous engines heard from the next valley, scattering fauna (I gather sourced from field recordings) before ebbing back into those tiny prickles. Beautiful piece, reminding me of some of the better Tsunoda work I?ve heard. The final two cuts veer somewhat between the profundity of that piece and more flamboyant, wildly thrown out aesthesia, a little more hit and miss, a bit more of a grab bag, the last humorously employing something that almost resembles a walking bass line buried somewhere beneath a mountain of noise.

Some real good stuff here on ?Collapse? as well as some work that walks an interesting, risky line. If phroq strays and falls off into unnecessary excess on occasion, it might be unfortunate, but it?s tough to hold against him too long, given the several high points attained. (Brian Olewnick)

In Vital Weekly

Following his two recent CDR releases on Solipsism and Carbon Records (see Vital Weekly 477), here is a new CD on Ground Fault Recordings. Phroq is Francisco Meirino, who lives in Switzerland. On 'Collapse' he plays around with electronic manipulations of contact microphones and field recordings made in Spain, Japan and Switzerland. Just like on his previous releases, 'Collapse' is a very dynamic affair, ranging from quite soft to intensely loud, as loud as some of the Merzbow material. But it's this balance between the loud and soft parts that makes this into a pretty varied CD, balancing well on both. Although the CD lists nine different tracks, I strongly would recommend listening to this in one go and not as nine separate tracks. It works much better when seen as one longer work. Intense when loud, lulling to sleep when soft, and Phroq can go either way.
(FdW)

In BitRot

I purchased this CD as soon as it arrived on the Ground Fault catalog last year, but haven't listened to it nearly enough... This is a hard-to-categorize album, in that it is certainly not a harsh noise release in the tradition of anything Japanese. Francisco Meirino, the sound sculptor behind this calculatingly violent recording, composes meticulous layers of ear-piercing feedback at different levels of volume, with short bursts of rolling static, grinding sounds, and a cruel sense of harmonic dissonance. The buildup of fluctuating feedback tones is almost too much to take...even for me. I had trouble listening to the album much after its purchase last year, and I can't really say why other than it was just too painful. The title track has so many movements over the course of its 11 minutes that I'd consider this, in parts, an avant-garde composition rather than a popular noise release. But track 4, "Music for French Writings" marks a return to roiling harsh noise, albeit a complex digitally-recorded incarnation. "Psychotest, Last Attempt" is my favorite on the release, with its glitchy, minimal textures, rolling seafoam, and insect- and bird-like expressions. Overall, a solid, endlessly varying release. It's my first Phroq acquisition, and it has really grabbed my ear with its clear sense of vision. Those who believe harsh noise shouldn't interact with computers need to hear this thing. The most blistering tracks, "Pulse and Impulse," "Music for French Writings," and "The Litigation," are as chaotic and violent as you could ask for. And there's a lot of quiet time, too...

In Le Temps

Des stridences miniatures, des orages saturés, des nappes soyeuses parasitées par de brusques accès de distortion. Difficile de décrire plus en avant le travail sonore de Francisco Meirino, alias Phroq. Depuis plus de dix ans, ce Lausannois explore les diverses déclinaisons du bruit électronique et de l'enregistrement de terrain, publiant ses disques à un rythme soutenu sur différents labels internationaux. Suite climatique et nuancée, Collapse agence d'envoûtants plans sonores tendus entre les deux extréminités de l'échelle des nuisances.
(Nicolas Julliard)

In Asymmetry Music Magazine

The sudden change from soft sounds to loud noise is shocking, as is the sudden change from loud noise to soft sounds. You get some of each (some, not a lot) in Collapse, which may be more a description of what happens to the listener rather than of the album.
In any event, each change encourages us to attend to detail, especially when going from loud to soft. Each little sound, each little nuance of layering, of harmony (simultaneous sounds), becomes, it seems, clearer, more sharply etched, when it follows a bit of loud, abrasive noise.?Collapse,??Music for French Writing,? and?Litigation? are particularly tasty in this regard. (The clip is from Litigation.)
Noise fans may think there?s not enough of it, but I assure you that what there is is scrumptious and satisfying (and loud). Having said that, I must say that I was most taken with the long, softer bits, and with the changes from one state to another.
A most listenable disc, indeed.

In Feedbackzine.ca

This CD came out in 2005. Phroq ?.what the hell is a phroq, oh well what?s important is that Phroq makes some spaced out experimental bizarre as fuck noise. Collapse starts out with what sounds like a campfire but upon closer inspection, I don?t know what the hell is happening there. Keep in mind this is very quite , than about a minute in you get an extremely harsh blast of noise for a second maybe a second and a half.. Then back to a very low synth rumble, accompanied by random swells of feedback and static. Creepy yes?..a little, boring?FUCK NO!! keeps you on the edge of your seat. The rest of this disc follows this pattern of low volume feedback and harsh spazztic noise. Great noise!!!
(Ryan ONeill)

CONFUSION

In Le Temps

L'auteur d'une myriade de parutions confidentielles, la Lausannois Phroq développe depuis dix ans une recherche opiniâtre sur le bruit et les accidents sonores. Démarche radicale qui lui vaut de se produire aux quatre coins du globe, empruntant les réseaux souterrains de la nébuleuse noise. Synthèse un rien plus accessible de ses travaux bruitistes, Confusion, commande de Pro-Helvetia, orchestre une plongée passionnante au coeur du vide, nourrissant ses nappes sourdes et suraiguës de sons piégés par de tout petits micros baladeurs.
(N.Julliard)

In Vital Weekly

In Vital Weekly 408 I discussed a previous release by Phroq, the monniker of Francisco Meirino. That concerned a live concert in Japan, but here, I believe we are dealing with a studio work with the total of nine tracks over some forty five minutes. Still Phroq is in noise territories here, but I must admit it's noise of a much higher interest for me. He plays around with contact microphones on object sand surfaces and processes the resultant sound into quite an interesting body of work in which dynamics play an important role.Sometimes things are on the silent edge, such as in the nineth piece but sometimes they burst out in full noise blast. It's quite a step forward from the previous work I heard from him. If he would succeed in transforming his studio sound into a live concert, I'd be interested in hearing that concert.
(Frans De Waard)

In Fear Drop

Paru sur Shiver Sound (dist. Namskeio), Confusion de Phroq (Francisco Meirino) arpente des reliefs voisins, même s'ils sont moins accidentés. En se détachant un temps de ses excellentes compositions noise pour des constructions plus apaisées, il réussit même à trouver dans la rigueur glaciale qui caractérise ses sons une délicatesse qui confine à une sorte de poétique de l'objet (celui de la pochette dont le corps principal est une canette). Si les abrasions sont toujours présentes, elles affleurent uniquement et se fondent dans des contextes évolutifs et particulièrement méticuleux, pour n'être plus que les courts moments de narrations plus subtiles et sensibles.

In ???

In this new release, he explores the frontier between order and chaos, he works on the tension between programmed and accidental results. The Lausanne-based composer uses a contact microphone that he introduces into an empty beercan, recording the unsuspected noises it contains. He also wires a tinfoil that he clenches according to his desires for sound. He mixes this with the inevitable breath of a no-input mixdesk directly connected to the computer, in order to arrange the chaos, to seduce the tension. As a result, the listener will be shocked and charmed by the depths contained in a can, by the abundance of an aluminium foil, and by the distressing suspense contained in the air.