Wound_Burner

Cover of Wound_Burner

Novi_sad | Wound_Burner

Assembled, composed and produced by Novi_sad

Wound_Burner was created by utilising environmental + urban recordings which took place in various locations in New York, U.S.A, Gotland, Sweden, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the Greek countryside

Also in use there was the voice of the soprano Irini Kyriakidou

Painting by Andy Denzler (Hiding II, 2015, Oil on canvas)

Sub Rosa release SR407

Listen to a sample from Part 1
Listen to a sample from Part 2
Listen to a sample from Part 3

Reviews:

Touching Extremes

A proficient investigator of overlapping disciplines capable of triggering a riveting audibility, Novi_sad (Thanasis Kaproulias) positions earthy murmurs, human impressions, urban repercussions and computer-generated kernels within works that never fail to throw the percipient in a state of semi-conscious brooding. Wound_Burner – another compelling admonisher about man’s cosmic irrelevance – constitutes a practical example of how the phenomenon of transperception (thanks again, Douglas Kahn) renders every single word enunciated by a presumed “expert” ineffective when it comes to a pictorial transcription of unfathomable causal agents translated into acoustic energy.

Accordingly, there are no specific coordinates in this piece to draw a mental map with distinct reference points. The lone certainty – appearing as a “periodical color” – is a soprano voice (Irini Kyriakidou) heard as a grieving comment of sorts, a soul looking for a way out from a godforsaken place in full awareness that the chances to find it are slim and none. The composition’s remainder shows a relative predominance of heartbeat-slowing frequencies – supposedly of synthetic ancestry – sentiently integrated with tactile/environmental reverberations (is there a howling wolf in there, also?). Infrequent clangorous accents break an otherwise unperturbed current.

People pick up signals in unique ways, decrypting them at varying depths of internal representation. These diversities are graphic symbols of the misconception of verbal transmission, an illusion perennially bound to failure. Music like this suggests the semblance of a promise for a future deprived of egotistical protrusions, an all-encompassing gathering of resonances and refractions incorporating the indispensable messages. Those which remain unspoken as an inherent understanding ultimately materializes. In the pitiful daily jamboree of esoteric theories concerning fairy-tale origins and taken-for-granted evolutions, Kaproulias’ tacit intensity – made explicit by his sound’s unquestionable potential – is a gift to treasure dearly.

Brainwashed

Compared to the multimedia project Sirens from last year, Thanasis Kaproulias’s latest work as Novi_sad is more of a return to his older style as far as composition goes. The single piece that makes up this album may be less concept-heavy, with the only information included being that is is based on environmental recordings in the US, Sweden, Brazil, and the Greek countryside. But even stripped back to just music, Wound_Burner excels in both its diversity and its sense of cohesion. Throughout the 45 minutes he mixes in digital interference, noisy found sounds, traditional electronics, and even voice (courtesy of Irini Kyriakidou) in a swirling, yet structurally consistent and gripping album.

Leading off with near silence and echo-heavy field recordings, the piece is soon broken up with some heavy low end rumble and interrupting knocking noises that sound almost too lifelike. Far off traffic and sirens are made all the more sinister by the rumbling drone that surrounds them, using familiar sounds to disquieting effect. The sounds slowly drift off into silence before Kaproulias introduces a flat, almost vacuum like drone to the mix. It is intentionally monotonous, but is soon broken up by some jarring, violent explosive-like sounds that pummel through with a shocking intensity.

The mechanical, humming-like drone that follows is uncomfortably sparse and repetitive, because based on what preceded it, I was just waiting for another shocking outburst. Glitch fragments and found, rough sounds are peppered throughout, and kept me on edge for another harsh blast to occur. Even when it does not, the droning hum is amplified and becomes abrasive enough, but is soon paired with the voice of Kyriakidou, giving some semblance of humanity to the otherwise industrial disaster mood that preceded it.

This is a turning point for Wound_Burner, because the remainder of the composition is notably less menacing in comparison. Crackling, processed static like layers are blended with an almost conventional sounding passage of synthesizer. The sparse arrangement makes for a nice counterbalance to the chaos that preceded it, and even once some odd found sounds are added into the mix everything stays rather pleasant. The percussive rattling juxtaposes the hypnotic synth drone very well, making for a lovely, if somewhat odd pairing.

Atop the electronics, Kaproulias adds sloshing water and more vocals by Kyriakidou, filling out the mix nicely and taking the second half in a lighter, more inviting direction, even if the mix is dense and there is a significant amount of strange activity going on. Even some chirping birds are added in, seemingly leading the work into a peaceful, pastoral conclusion. Things do not stay as they seem though, and the sound drifts back into noisy territories more than a few times before ending on a slightly bleak, though not necessarily aggressive note.

There may not be a luxurious art book to accompany Wound_Burner, but the latest release from Thanasis Kaproulias stands perfectly on its own as a purely audio product. From its harsh, often jarring and occasionally terrifying first half to the more musical, placid second portion, I found the evolution and development of the work the album’s strongest asset. Never did I find anything predictable, and the strength of the record is not just its varied nature, but also Kaproulias’s expertise in shaping sounds, familiar and anything but.

Textura

Operating under the Novi_sad alias, Athens-based Thanasis Kaproulias (b. 1980) supplemented environmental and urban field recordings collected from New York, Gotland, Rio De Janeiro, and the Greek countryside with the voice of soprano Irini Kyriakidou and sounds generated by digital and electronic media to craft Wound_Burner. Instantiating the ‘cinema pour l’oreille’ (cinema for the ear) approach to sound sculpting, the forty-five-minute soundscape is a production of considerable visceral power, attributable in part to eruptions that punctuate the sound mass early on and keep one on edge, bracing for more.

After blurry urban-industrial field recordings of voices, sirens, car horns, and ambient noise inaugurate the work, a threatening undercurrent of bass-heavy rumble is added as an additional layer near the three-minute mark, its appearance foreshadowing the blasts to come. Seven minutes in, Kaproulias challenges expectations by bringing the material down to a near-whisper rather than continuing the escalation, even if the two jarring eruptions that follow are felt all the more intensely as a result. That event aside, Kaproulias opts for a balanced, smooth-flowing presentation whose mutations occur with patient deliberation. A case in point, Kyriakidou’s mournful voice emerges from a metallic drone episode at the fifteen-minute juncture but so subtly it feels like a ghostly presence drifting through the background. It’s not uncommon for passages of extreme density to alternate with minimal sequences of calmer disposition that allow the listener to relax, even if only for a moment. During one such section, a wavering, organ-like drone dominates until water-based field recordings, Kyriakidou’s wordless warble, and bird chatter are added, layer by layer. An artfully executed reverse trajectory subsequently transpires when the layered elements slowly disappear, leaving the drone to bring the piece to a becalmed resolution.

Put simply, there’s nuance in Kaproulias’s handling of his materials, as well as an impressive display of technical ability in his assembly of the soundscape’s parts. Though Wound_Burner ultimately registers as an abstract work amenable to any number of interpretations, it’s no less engrossing for being so open-ended.

Posted April 21, 2017 in