Joel Stern & Michael Northam, Wormwood

Five tracks, all labelled “Untitled.” Makes it easy to listen to this as one piece—in five movements. Certainly the overall sound of the thing changes very little from “movement” to “movement.” Nor does the basic aesthetic change much either. In other words, it’s a consistent piece from start to finish fifty-two minutes later.

If it sounds like I’m describing something that doesn’t change much, not to worry. It’s as various as anyone could desire. It’s a feast of clattering, whirring, plucking, tapping, clanking, droning loveliness. A mess of electronic noise will suddenly give way to a completely acoustic sound, either instrument or voice or some sound from a field recording, a sonic photograph as it were from one or other of Joel’s travels. The effect is startling, of course. The “natural” sound sounds newly strange coming in a context of “unnatural” electronic noises.

Not that Wormwood is at all about startling us. This music is about small sounds (some amplified so they’re quite loud), which clink and hiss and whine in a world of constant activity, with very little repetition, but which always sounds like itself and nothing else.

This entry was posted in Composers, Labels, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Upcoming Events

    Festival Mixtur 2017

    30 March through 9 April

    Music by

    Fausto Romitelli
    Jean-Claude Risset
    John Cage

    and many more, including people who are still alive, of course.

    Présences électronique

    14, 15, 16 April

    Most of the names I did not recognize, which makes me even more sad that I cannot attend this year. But you can. And probably should. If you love your ears, attend this festival.

    SIME 2017

    24 – 28 April

    Probably, though I'm not sure how it is possible, this will be the best SIME yet. Attend. Let me know.


    3-6 May

    Opening Performance Orchestra
    Terrible Orchestra
    Echofluxx Ensemble

    And film and more music and more performers. More of everything.

    Monaco Electroacoustique
    4, 5, 6 May

    Francis Dhomont
    Horacio Vaggione
    Annette Vande Gorne
    Hans Tutschku
    Robert Normandeau

    And many more. Two festivals that overlap is just cruel. But go to one or the other of these. Monaco or Prague, you choose.

  • Recent Articles

  • Donate to Asymmetry

    • Donations may now be made from anywhere in the world.
      For US residents, all donations to Asymmetry are tax-deductible. Asymmetry has been serving the new music community for almost seven years now. With your help, it can continue its mission indefinitely.
  • Facebook