Suss Müsik is finally getting around to updating the digital discography. Now available via your streaming vehicle of choice are Ex Post Facto, Paraphasia, Co-Process Volume 2, and ::. Soon to come are SixOverEight and an 80-minute version of Quiescent. Also available are the Egret Zero releases I Want To Have Faith and Exploring Shackleton, both of which received very kind reviews. You can read explanations of all releases distributed under the net label Lůno.
Suss Müsik was interviewed as part of the Maker Faire Philadelphia podcast series. Topics of discussion include: DIY instruments, Suss Müsik’s surprising influences, what compels artists to create, the significance of being “crepuscular,” and the best time of day to feed birds.
Over the past year, Suss Müsik has enjoyed working with visual artist B.G. Madden on a series of art/sound collaborations. One piece explores system in nature to reveal hidden relationships between the natural work and synthetic technology. Another piece uses Madden’s work as graphic notation, rendering pigment and plaster into polyrhythmic fields.
This partnership has produced three new pieces built almost entirely from audio scans of Madden’s newest work: a series of open compositions inspired by the sculpture of Richard Serra and the architecture of Tadeo Ando. Both of these visionaries transform the brute aesthetic of their chosen materials into delicate studies of ever-shifting light.
Suss Müsik sought to accomplish a similar synthesis in sound. Madden’s work was scanned using a computer algorithm. These unendurable blobs of static were processed in real time using the major pentatonic (five-tone) scale in keys of D# and F#. The process resulted in a rich library of sonic overlaps.
The first piece, titled Montessori, combines two dissonant (yet seductive) surface textures to form an engagingly simple configuration of glitchy ambience:
The second piece, titled Corbusier, references building architecture less subtly in both its title and single-chord scaffolding. The title is derived by the educational approach that focuses on behavioral observation:
The third piece, titled Dovum, was created from Madden’s more Jan Dibbets-inspired work. The title is a mashup of the words doven (prayers recited in a Jewish liturgy) and ovum (a cell that reproduces when fertilized by its counterpart):
Marc Weidenbaum of Disquiet wrote a very kind analysis of Dovum that beautifully sums up what Suss Müsik has been trying to achieve since 2015: “a digital purity of sound that is employed to present materials whose cumulative chaos strives to approach that of the natural, analog, flesh-and-blood world.” Thank you, Marc.
The entire B.G. Madden collaboration is available for listening on SoundCloud. Discussions are underway to release a proper album and play some live dates. Stay tuned.
Update = Yet another new collaboration has arisen. The piece is titled Oort, named after astronomer Jan Oort who discovered a sphere of icy objects at the edge of our solar system and from which comets are believed to originate.
Original graphite works by B.G. Madden are shown below:
Suss Müsik took a bit of a flyer on a recent piece entitled Tourbillon, which is named after the part of a watch mechanism that negates the effect of gravity. It’s also, as Marc Weidenbaum notes in this lovely review for Disquiet, the French word for “whirlwind.” We weren’t quite certain how the result of phased piano, voice and Hammond organ would sound when looped and replayed live upon each other; at best, we envisioned a sort of a “drone-meets-Steve Reich-‘Six Pianos‘” type of thing. At worst, we imagined an unholy mess of repetitive dissonance (and not in a good way). We certainly relate to Weidenbaum’s description of “a sheer haze that is pitched high and given an intense sense of forward motion,” which seems to correspond with the latest Suss Müsik aesthetic: a particle cloud of decisions and events blurring through the senses as life carries on.
Suss Müsik has been engaged in a number of productive collaborations with the wonderful artist and musician Marc Manning. Most recently, the partnership has resulted in a piece entitled Melting Square. Within 24 hours, the track attracted the most favorable attention in Suss Müsik’s short history.
The track was subsequently reviewed by Disquiet’s Marc Weidenbaum, who called the track “a moment of reflective calm before all hell breaks loose.” Mr. Manning and Suss continue to work on new material, so perhaps the comparable respite of Melting Square is short lived!
Marc Weidenbaum wrote a lovely and interesting review of Suss Müsik’s piece Augmentative, which Mr. Weidenbaum describes as “a dream-state in which a vision of travel is, in fact, a metaphor for some entirely other deeply rooted anxiety.” It’s almost as if he can peer into our souls.
The themes of Disquiet mirror the essence of Suss Müsik’s occupational ethos: “Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code.” The entire blog is worth your time (many wonderful reviews of unknown composers to be found), as are the quietly intense images that comprise the author’s Instagram gallery.