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On Dark Silent Off

by Wyn Nikolia Kenn
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EAN
0790377042412
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Wyn Nikolia Kenn
Vienna's leading experimental outfit Radian is the trio of Martin Brandlmayr (drums, electronics), John Norman (bass), and Martin Siewert (guitars, electronics), who have been influenced by and shaped the city's vivid scene of electronica in the early 2000s. Vienna is currently a wide open creative home to many new music composers and innovators. Today, the members of Radian are pillars of that community. On Dark Silent Off features guest performances by acclaimed saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, and marks the first Radian album since guitarist Martin Siewert joined. The album has been in the making since the early 201 Os, with each piece being meticulously crafted and re-constructed over time. Debut track Scary Objects began its life as a live score to a Ben Russell film as part of his Trypps series, and features Radian's signature blend of dynamic, percussive grooves with nontraditional instrument timbres. The title of the album, On Dark Silent Off, is a nod to Ad Reinhardt, whose art and theory has been influential on the trio. The juxtaposition of extremes (on/off) is present in Radian's work: the contrast between light and darkness; and in musical terms, sound and silence and brightness/ darkness of timbre. Radian creates a field of tension between extreme dynamics, freely improvised parts and meticulous construction, an inherent contrast between soft sounds and sharp edits. Radian's recording/creative process takes a central role in shaping the pieces. It is a two-fold process of creating material through improvisation, sound experiments and processing on the one hand, and a routine of carefully selecting and editing this material on the other. It is often the case that mere snippets are used out of hours of sound material. The contrast between the magic of the moment, spontaneous live performance and its subsequent careful construction shape the quality of the pieces. Radian likes to deal with sound that could be seen as byproducts of a musical process and incorporate them into its pieces the sound of a cable entering the socket of a guitar, the sound of a switch, hums, sound of the fingers tapping on the string of a bass or the sound of the hand gliding between two chords of a guitar. These sounds are not deleted, or hidden, they are often transformed into central elements of the pieces. The track Blue Noise Black Lake was built around a sample Radian recorded of Mats Gustafsson playing the pads of his saxophone. Radian uses the method of microscopic recording to zoom into sounds that would more typically be overlooked: the rattling of a marble on Brandlmayr's crotale placed on a snare like in Codes and Sounds the beauty and richness of cymbals, acoustic guitars played quietly and recorded closely. The album finds Radian playing more direct and more physical than they ever have. This might derive from the fact that that pieces like Pickup Pickout, Rusty Machines, and Dusty Carpets have been centerpieces of their recent live shows. On Dark Silent Off has a totally unique groove and is a remarkably individual musical statement.

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