The Difficulty of Being


"Though Zbigniew Karkowski and I started working together not long after our first meeting in France in 1998, this disk marks our first release. The majority of our activities together had always been focused on live performances or the generating of materials for different works we were each producing individually. When working together, we usually did not speak about specific pieces of music or about what we were going to work on. We did however speak about different ways sounds could be organized, referencing techniques other composers use. The techniques of Xenakis were used as a reference point frequently, as did many ideas and exploitations of concepts by Luc Ferrari's, the microsonic and code of Curtis Roads and also many contemporary works from a multitude of electronic/noise artists. On the day of the recording in Singapore, we took a long (by Singapore standards) train ride from the city to the woodlands on the Malaysian border. During the journey, we had a conversation about the work I did for √Čliane Radigue as her music assistant in the late 1990s. What we both were interested in is how her works progressed through the exploration of slowly moving textures whose constant transformation eludes perception. Radigue's work can create elusive edges that are always in a state of flux, blurring the lines between movement and stillness, forcing the listener to shift into different ways of listening. Shifting from active to passive listening modes, the frequencies wash over your ears and when you switched back from one mode to another, you would be in a different place. All throughout the recording we kept stopping each other from changing the patch, Zbig said at one point with a laugh 'let it Radigue.' On a more technical level the audio sources were created solely using a Buchla 200e. The majority of the sounds from the patch centered around the 266e Source of Uncertainty module, which played a major part in guiding the evolution of the textures with its fluctuating voltages. The time and care we took to build the patch into a performance system was an important factor determining the outcome with the deconstruction of the patch an equally influential factor. The work unfolded by randomly removing both audio and voltage control cables, reducing the system to even more "primitive" structures and interactions of sound. The recent death of Zbigniew Karkowski has been difficult for myself and all close to him. As a collaborator and close friend, I will deeply miss our time working together, performing, traveling, and the ever unfolding hijinks that always ensued when we did, and most of all the difficulties they could often cause." --Brian O'Reilly