Orientalism was a conceptual collaboration project of Sustained Development (Gerald Fiebig) and EMERGE (Sascha Stadlmeier).
Field recordings from China
Processed by EMERGE
Stereotyped by Orientalism
Deconstructed by Sustained Development
cover image by Michael Herbst
released April 14, 2013
This side project of Sustained Development processes field recordings from the Far East (with some help from label mate EMERGE) to such an extent that they become hissing, granular sheets of sound resembling, for example, abstract Mille-Plateaux-style electronica rather than anything „concrete“. Reverb and time-stretching make the so-called „real“ sounds recorded during a trip through China into something very different, calm yet faintly ominous, far from the pseudo-documentary pose that is common in “field recordings” as a genre.
To quote Edward Said, who invented the term, “Orientalism is a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient” by creating stereotypical images of “the East.” This release by Orientalism (the title of the album and all tracks being anagrams of the word to hint at the ideological limitations of orientalist clichés) aims to subvert the stereotyping that is latent in a lot of field recordings of more or less “exotic” places because they tend to fix a limited sound image of what “the” Orient (or India, Kyoto, etc.) sounds like. In a certain way, the compositional treatment applied to the Chinese field recordings on this album insists on the right of every sound to become (abstract) music instead of just standing in as a tourist snapshot.
The fascination for drone phenomena and the wish to actively examine them were important incentives for my path into Electroacoustic Music. „Pulsar“ is the attempt to make a repetitively pulsating noise loop function like a drone texture by treating it tonally. / Ein wichtiger Impuls für meinen Weg in die elektroakustische Musik war die Faszination durch Drone-Phänomene und der Wunsch nach aktiver Auseinandersetzung mit ihnen. „Pulsar“ ist der Versuch, einen repetitiv pulsierenden Geräusch-Loop durch klangliche Bearbeitung wie eine Drone-Textur wirken zu lassen.
The three solo tracks performed by If, Bwana on this live recording are based on sounds played on the bassoon, flute, and guitar and make a wonderful introduction to his work with layered, pitch-shifted acoustic instruments. This stuff is among the best you can get in contemporary drone music – rich in texture, sensuous, emotional, and still abstract enough to “clear the mind.” On another two tracks, If, Bwana is joined by his local support group at this July 2012 gig in Germany for an unlikely but happy marriage of his layered sound textures, 50 Hz hum, and lots of electroacoustic sound gadgetry.
Supporting If, Bwana at his concert in Augsburg, Germany on 4 July 2012, local artists Sustained Development aka Gerald Fiebig, elektrojudas, and EMERGE teamed up for a free improvised set using sampled bass guitars, miked-up wave drums and induction coils, monotrons, and smartphone apps, also documented on this 2 CD set. Another two tracks resulted from the trio joining If, Bwana for a demonstration of the possibilities of experimental music, which are endless provided they are approached in an open-minded way. In this case, two very distinct idioms – calm, contemplative drones and fidgety, highly interactive glitch/noise improvisation – fuse perfectly thanks to the alertness of the players.