IIC

Cover of IIC

Novi_sad | IIC

”IIC – International Internal Catastrophes” is published as a CD with Cover Artwork by Stanley Donwood (Radiohead).

The two audio parts have been composed by processing recorded sounds from Iceland and New York.

Listen to a sample from Part 1
Listen to a sample from Part 2

This edition contains a printed poster and it is limited to 500 copies.

IIC POSTER


€17 EUR | $20 USD | ¥2,200 JPY (worldwide free shipping)

Reviews:

Touching Extremes

A quick web search reveals that IIC stands for “International Internal Catastrophes”. The origin and evolution of this multimedia project, conceived by Thanasis Kaproulias/Novi_sad and visual artist Isaac Niemand, are also described in various sites. For the idlest, it’s a 31-minute experimental film utilising imagery from remote regions of Iceland in conjunction with a soundscape mainly engineered via field recordings (Iceland as well, plus the vibrations of bridges in Manhattan and Brooklyn; the latter constituent appearing particularly sinister to this writer following the recent collapsing of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy). The music is distinguished by two rather distinct sides, both of them dramatically remarkable. The first half, tense and inauspicious, is informed by the kind of elemental energy found time and again in selected areas of Daniel Menche’s output. Static harmonies thrive underground, making their presence felt through storms of gravelly/distorted frequencies combined with infrasonic events. The second part is heavily characterised by the sample of a Bosnian mother mourning the death of her child during the war. As the multiplicity of sonic layers turns into an overpowering mantra – we tried to find a shelter, afraid of the headphones getting shattered to pieces – the crying voice of the woman emerges stronger, the scene conveying a mix of awe and anguish. It all stops abruptly, a veritable fracture leading to a shocked silence. The ears are left ringing for several seconds. Once more, Novi_sad shows how it’s done to the pretenders attempting to carve niches in the overpopulated area of sensory testing. The live audio/video experience would obviously be ideal to complete the inner assimilation of the piece; however, the sheer acoustic intensity of Kaproulias’ reworked materials speaks for itself, projecting us straight into the eye of a hurricane made of concrete fears and portentous sonorities.

Brainwashed

The latest work by Thanasis Kaproulias, like 2016’s Sirens, is the audio component of a larger, more multimedia focused piece of art. The other half, a film by Isaac Niemand, is not included this time around, however. These two distinct audio pieces are unified and based on field recordings in two very different locations, the first being the natural climate of Iceland, and the second from New York City. Even with the different sources, both pieces fit together wonderfully, with a harsher first half and a more pensive second. The first half is based on nature recordings from audible and processed inaudible phenomena. Right from the beginning Kaproulias weaves together some crackling distortion and cleaner, underlying tones into a blast of sound that occasionally teeters into gratingly harsh. The noise is shrill and panned side to side, occupying the higher frequencies and at times becoming quite unpleasant, especially at high volumes.  Eventually he reigns in the static, allowing the low drone to morph into something more pleasant and melodic. By altering the frequencies and dynamics, Thanasis rearranges the work into something more inviting warm, compared to how it began at least. At around the midpoint, the piece transitions to its second half, largely constructed from recordings of bridge vibrations in New York City. Oddly enough this is, at first, a more conventionally tonal work. The sounds are processed and treated to almost resemble strings, layered and piled atop one another.  Kaproulias keeps these largely calm and tonal, but soon the noise begins to creep back in. Soon he adds in a sample of a Bosnian woman mourning her children at a funeral, and unsurprisingly this heralds a change to darker, more depressing realms of sound. As the voices appear Kaproulias brings in noisier layers and passages to exacerbate the depressive turn that the piece takes. The build is gradual, but steady, and it ends up getting rather ugly overall. This is especially pronounced in the final few minutes where the noise is pushed far into the red, ending the piece at painful, deafening layers that could potentially damage playback equipment (and ears). It is a fitting conclusion that brings things around to where he started with the work. Even divorced from the visual element, ”International Internal Catastrophes” is an exceptionally nuanced, at times painful and challenging work. Again Thanasis Kaproulias is consistently showing his developing skill and ability as a composer, attempting new approaches without becoming stagnant. I have found some of his previous works to be somewhat difficult (in a positive way), and this one is definitely up there, especially in its bleaker, more aggressive second half.

Vital Weekly

The name Novi_sad, also known as Thanasis Kaproulias, doesn’t pop up very often in Vital Weekly. Since 2007 there have been a few releases, on Sedimental, Gradual Hate Records and three on Sub Rosa; seven albums in total, eight if you count ”International Internal Catastrophes”. I am not sure why there isn’t more but I believe much time goes into traveling, concerts and installations. Likewise I couldn’t say if I heard all of them; I doubt I did. This new one doesn’t have any information, except the somewhat cryptic poster ‘Music Is Our Answer To Death’ and it consists of two distinct parts, “which have been composed by processing recorded sounds from Iceland and New York”. Novi_sad is, as far as I know, mainly a laptop artist and in the first piece, which, including silence, is about fourteen minutes he offers a very heavily processed versions of field recordings. It is hard to say what these field recordings are; it could the rustling of leaves or some form of white noise. It kicks in, after a minute of silence, in full force and stays there, more or less, until the very end. It is quite brutal, perhaps keeping the word ‘catastrophes’ in mind. The second half, roughly eighteen minutes, builds from very quiet to very loud, and the field recordings have been on a meltdown course in a blast furnace and the result is a blast of organ like drones, in which in the final part of the piece has a similar heavy treatment as the first half. Screaming voices (or voice, I am not sure) can be recognised occasionally in this section, which adds to the creepy feeling of the music. If you equal laptop music with warm glitch drones, then this new Novi_sad release should give you a serious rethink. This is some excellent scary music and it cuts out abruptly as to make the full force darkness complete. This is some fascinating music.

Toneshift

”International Internal Catastrophes” is the latest from the always intriguing Grecian sound artist Novi_sad (Thanasis Kaproulias). This is his first-ever self-released effort in his recording history of just over a decade, his earlier work residing on Sub Rosa and Sedimental among others. This is one long 32 minute track that starts completely abruptly over a minute in, and then grows and corrodes simultaneously. The backing drone is fierce and constant, the action is industrially thick, like a giant spinning machine tumbling gravel, whirring away until he adds a higher set of tones over the already mesmerizing layers. The startling Bauhausian-styled cover art and poster insert was illustrated by Stanley Donwood who has worked with Radiohead. The systems fade out about halfway through to a sublime quiet. That single tone sprouts smaller minors that sort of braid themselves to and from the central core of the track as Kaproulias adds a rocket burning percussion, little by little. One would imagine this would be a great work to experience live, in the round, and feels like an evolution in style after having only seen him in this context eight years ago. The sound is in a gray-area that I appreciate – denser, and better presents the formation of a slow-build crescendo that at its peak genuinely pulsates and radiates with a heady brilliance. In its final minutes the piece looms large and like a ball of superimposed tv snow patterns that abruptly end the way it began.

The Wire

Novi_sad is the moniker for Thanasis Kaproulias, and this album represents a soundtrack assembled for a film project made with Isaac Niemand. Together, the two brought their interests in the relationship between architecture and sound for an exploration of cinematic sound production and landscape phenomena. Split into two parts, the soundtrack features one section composed of 2012 field recordings from Iceland; the other is assembled from 2007 recordings from Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, and then produced in Athens on the night of the 2008 riots following the murder of student Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The result is a broiling assembly of gritty rumblings and the sound of wind resonating through monumental structures overlaid with tones that retain a sense of awe at being on the precipice of something tenuous.

Textura

”Music is Our Answer to Death” proclaims the text on the Stanley Donwood-illustrated poster included with the CD package for ”IIC – International Internal Catastrophes”, the latest challenging offering from sound artist Novi_sad (Thanasis Kaproulias). However unsettling that text is, it’s dwarfed by the CD’s thirty-two minutes of music, which are powerful indeed. The project involves two audio parts that were generated by processing recorded sounds from various parts of the globe: in the first section, sonic material was captured at one of Earth’s more hostile environments in Iceland; the second incorporates vibration recordings taken from NYC’s Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges as well as the anguished voice of a woman mourning the death of her children during the Bosnian civil war in 1996. It’s a gripping listen that fully engages the senses—even if its first minute is devoted to near-silence. At the sixty-four-second mark, the first part proper kicks in with a beehive swarm of granular static and bass throb that pulsates with relentless force. Gradually that droning mass is smeared with rippling noise that grows increasingly violent until the whole begins to take on the character of a roiling, seething cyclone. One-third of the way along, organ-like tones pierce the swirling haze with their own droning declamations to add one more layer to an already ultra-dense presentation. Rather abruptly, the first part subsides and the second part takes over. As thick chordal masses swell and the material assumes an industrial sheen, tension builds, with the listener almost certain that an implosion of some kind will happen at any moment. Two critical moves follow in turn, the first after the twenty-five-minute mark when the mother’s screaming voice surfaces, her words obscured by the merciless churn of the intensifying sound design around it, and the final one six minutes later when the sound mass climaxes with a blistering, face-melting roar that would do Merzbow proud. To be honest, it’s not entirely clear to me what precise meaning we’re supposed to glean from Kaproulias’s project or how exactly bridge-derived recordings relate to a Bosnian mother mourning her dead children. There’s no denying, however, the impact of the material on pure listening grounds. If ever the word visceral applied, it does here.

Posted April 17, 2018 in