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by String Noise

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dvntshaku Amazing album with fantastic pacing throughout. I especially love the Mincek - the prolongation and pacing is breathtaking. The harmonic and timbral motion especially between minutes 4-6 is tectonic and incredibly beautiful and unpredictable in the best way. The Lamb provides an incredible counterweight to the intensity of Mincek’s duo. So good I was in tears the first time I listened - loved every second of this album! Favorite track: Alex Mincek: Way.
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String Noise (Pauline Kim Harris and Conrad Harris, violins) returns for their second release on New Focus, a follow up to Eric Lyon's "Giga Concerto" which featured them as soloists with the International Contemporary Ensemble. "Way" highlights their dedicated commissioning work with some of the new music scene's most inventive composers. Featuring works by Alex Mincek, Catherine Lamb, and Lou Bunk, String Noise explores vanguard sonorities and textures, demonstrating their prowess for delivering challenging repertoire with expressivity and understanding.

Alex Mincek’s title track is inspired by a poem by Antonio Machado (“Caminante, no hay camino”) which describes the uniqueness of every path taken. Mincek structures this epic work around that concept, establishing restrictive parameters for each section and then slowly exploring various “ways” of working through these restrictions. Opening with steady, non-pitched bow sounds, Mincek begins to reveal a fragile pitch world beginning near the two minute mark. Repeated intervals over a drone migrate between timbral techniques, pushing and pulling against the overtone series created by the pedal point. As the timbral diversity fades away, Mincek focuses more on microtonal discrepancies between pitches, always within an insistent, repetitive context. The eight and half minute mark brings more angular figuration over the droning intervals, and soon thereafter, polyrhythm is introduced as a new parameter. The midpoint in the piece draws down to silence and when it re-enters, it is with a halo of ethereal, high register harmonics. Four minutes from the close of the piece, we hear a quixotic passage of disembodied, sotto voce figurations, with the two violins rhythmically misaligned. Mincek closes the expansive work with the two in rhythmic unison once again, in a somber chorale that exhales after the force of earlier sections in the piece.

Lou Bunk’s Field is in five movements – both of the first two are longer than the final three combined. Field is a meditation on the function of silence and return of material in music, and the impact context has on both of those phenomena. In the opening movement, Bunk establishes a conversational dynamic between the two violins, circling consistently back to familiar gestures shaded with different dynamics and emphasis. Movement two is less active, focusing on rarefied textures of harmonics, airy bow sounds, and sustained intervals. Restless music pervades movement three, which opens with the creaks of overpressure with the bow and travels through glissandi and tremolandi. Movement four is pointed and angular, with strident pitches traded between the two violins connected by sinewy passagework. The final movement focuses on non-pitched and half-pitched bow sounds, creating a breathy texture from a wonderful array of timbres.

Catherine Lamb’s music places pitch and verticality under a microscope, mining the most subtle changes for expressive and structural meaning. in (tone) is a twelve minute meditation on these fine subtleties, presenting sonorities that shimmer with internal beatings, separated by contemplative pauses. Lamb’s work is, in a sense, very quiet music despite often being saturated with sound; it possesses the timeless quality of being invited inside the essence of pitch.

– Dan Lippel


released May 13, 2022

Recorded at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, New York on October 4, 2017, June 16, 2019 and September 9, 2021

Produced by Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris

Recorded, Edited, Mixed, and Mastered by Ryan Streber

Graphic Design and Layout by Dustin Krcatovich/Golden Feelings

Cover Art: Detail of "Moon/Sun" (2004) by Alex Mincek

Liner Notes by Catherine Lamb, Lou Bunk and Alex Mincek


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String Noise New York, New York

Recognized for their distinct blend of disparate genres, from arrangements of songs by punk legends to conceptual minimalist treatises by Alvin Lucier, String Noise has recorded for Northern Spy Records, Dymaxion Groove, Black Truffle Records, Cold Blue Records, New Focus Recordings, Infrequent Seams and Nouveau Electric Records and has been featured on WNYC, WKCR, WFMU and BBC Radio. ... more

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