Saturday, 6 August 2016

Gardening

Music for Gardeners

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AMN Reviews:
Gardening by Dutch sound artist Michel Banabila is electroacoustic scrutiny of the pastime from the point of view of the flower bed; a musique sol rather than musique concrète, if you will. Field recordings looped, lengthened and lingering, the earth is sprinkled with water from cans, automatic sprinklers and the clouds and irradiated by a synthetic sun. Rubber boots cross the lawn and “Chance the Gardener” from Jerzy Kosinski´s novella comes to rhythmically tend the weeds with his rakes, spades and trowels as children play just within earshot but beyond its high walls. As their commotion drifts off, the piece itself ends and an ambient remix drifts in. For this extended release, Banabila has added a healthy appendix of remixes, one by himself and six by fellow countrymen and a couple of associates from abroad. In remixing as in gardening, “as long as the roots are not severed”, as Chance himself would say, “all is well”. Each artist conscientiously worms down deep into the earth. Machinefabriek isolates a few of the sounds, rounds them off, and hints at gathering bad weather. In a live radio broadcast mix, Radboud Mens charges the air with the buzz and burrow of insect life and joins the serenade on accordion. Peter van Cooten´s remix is delicately arranged, a quiet, microclimate symphony, while Naoyuki Sasanami lets himself in through the gate and gives the foliage a good spray. Banabila returns to offer a watering can gamelan. The final two contributions, by Lukas Simonis and Zenial, respectively, arc from the children´s perspective so close to the gardener that, as he tends his plants, we can hear him strain and breathe. (Stephen Fruitman).

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VITAL WEEKLY 879:
Another work of electronically processed sounds, but with extensively use of field recordings, and judging by the title of this work, as well as what we hear, these field recordings might have been taped while gardening. The amplification of a spade for instance. Raking the grass, picked up with a rusty contact microphone. Then electronic processing which Banabila uses here is not heavy, or extensive, but rather gentle. Sometimes he creates a loop or two, which by itself already form a small song, and let's the other crackles just continue. It's not music for which we could use the word excessive, but it's not exactly 'ambient' either. Intimate seems to me a word that is more appropriate for this music. A tinkle on the piano, more loops, but essentially also a work of gardening, which if it always sounded like this, I would indulge in it too. But gardening is easily in the top three of activities I don't like. Listening to 'Gardening' is of course something else. This is great! Thoroughly relaxing music, and with the balcony doors wide open because spring more or less seems to be arriving, this is a most pleasant release. Banabila's work spans eight tracks, but also invited seven friends to do remixes of this work, and those seven remixes follow straight after his eight originals. Here we have many of his Rotterdam chums, such as Radboud Mens, Lukas Simonis, Machinefabriek but also Peter van Cooten, Naoyuki Sasanami and Zenial. They all seem to capture a similar atmosphere in their pieces, but all seem to be using more electronics to transform the original sounds, which are a bit removed/remote here, except, funnily enough in Banabila's own remix, and make occasionally massive waves of sounds, such as in Machinefabriek's work. It's very nice to have these remixes as an added bonus, but maybe altogether it wasn't that necessary to have a an equally strong album. (FdW)

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MOUSIQUE.NL
Gardening is feitelijk musique concrète: alledaagse omgevingsgeluiden (found sounds) worden electronisch bewerkt om een collage-achtige compositie te creëren. Tegenwoordig wordt dit genre vaak `field recordings’ genoemd, maar dat is toch net iets anders en gaat hier bovendien niet helemaal op: Banabila heeft de geluiden daarvoor teveel bewerkt en er tevens hier en daar extra klanken aan toegevoegd. Toch houden de composities wel een `field-recordings’ achtige sfeer: je hoort een breed palet aan min of meer herkenbare `natuurlijke’ geluiden: ritselen van bladeren, veeggeluiden, voetstappen over verschillende ondergronden, krakende bomen, piepende scharnieren, spelende kinderen, vogeltjes, verkeersgeluiden op de achtergrond, zagen en kappen van hout, allerlei tuingereedschap, hamergetik, de ratelende rotorbladen van een grasmaaimachine (gokje), regendruppels, de wind, onweer, etc. Banabila ordent deze geluiden zo dat er ritmische patronen worden gevormd, dat het muziek wordt. Vervolgens kleurt hij het geheel verder in met subtiele electronische geluiden en klanktapijtjes. `Digitaal tuinieren voor gevorderden’, schreef Jan Willem Broek er vorig jaar over. Banabila bracht het album vorig jaar dus al uit, maar toen alleen als digitale download. Inmiddels is het album alsnog in een gelimiteerde cd-uitgave van 100 stuks beschikbaar (op=op dus), en dan aangevuld met 6 naadloos in elkaar overgaande remixen (exclusief voor de cd-versie) door Machinefabriek, Radboud Mens, Peter van Cooten, Naoyuki Sasanami, Lukas Simonis en Zenial. (Peter)

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WORM / CONCERTZENDER:
Another work of electronically processed sounds, but with extensive use of field recordings, that sound as if indeed they were taped while gardening. The amplification of a spade for instance. Raking the grass, picked up with a rusty contact microphone. No heavy electronic processing, but rather gentle. Sometimes a loop or two, giving the feeling of a small song, backed up by other tiny events. It's not music in the generally accepted sense, but it's not exactly 'ambient' either. Intimate seems the right word here. (Mariette Groot)



TRBOP 14 ℗ Tapu records
Recorded August 2012 in Rotterdam & Krzezsowice.

Michel Banabila: field recordings, turtle flute, shakers, rainstick, balafon, garden tools, wood, grass, water, found objects, cymbal, electronics, pianostring, Szymon Kaliski's microtones app, Michael Norris plugins, Micropony by Skriða., Korg Monotribe, and Logic pro. Recorders : Olympus LS 10 & Tascam DR05.



Discogs

Gardening (2012) from Michel Banabila on Vimeo.




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