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WHETHAM, SIMON - Hydrostatic

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Auf Abwegen aatp39
Release Year: 2013
Note: archaic & monumental sounding roaring water-dronescapes full of strange soughs and metallic scrunchings - HYDROSTATIC is a multi-channel performance using sounds from an old Pumping Station - this the true industrial sound massive, mysterious, ghostly..; lim. 300, much recommended !
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00

More Info

" ‘Hydrostatic’ was commissioned by the McNeill Street Pumping Station New Music Festival, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA in November 2011, and presented as a multi-channel performance.
Simon Whetham spent more than a week exploring the site, capturing the sounds of the space, the vibrations of the buildings, the spirit of the community and perhaps the echoes of past activity…
Mastered by Miguel Carvalhais..
Simon Whetham – Biography 2013

Over the past eight years Simon Whetham has developed a practice of working with sound recordings as a raw material for composition. These are often environmental sounds he has captured employing a variety of methods and techniques, in order to obtain discreet or obscured sonic phenomena.

In removing sound from it’s source, sometimes amplifying it significantly, it becomes abstract – familiar yet otherworldly. More recently, when presenting work in a performance or installation, for him the space and the objects within become instruments to be played.

Simon has a large number of works published through many specialist organisations, including Touch Music, Cronica, Dragon’s Eye, Monochrome Vision and Entr’acte; has performed extensively internationally; collaborated with artists from musicians to performance artists, painters to video artists, dancers to poets; has run listening and field recording workshops in UK, Colombia, Chile and Australia; and received a large number of commissions and awards for projects and installations – notably ‘Active Crossover’. Supported by the Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation, the project comprises sound installation, performance, collaboration and workshops. ‘Active Crossover’ has toured six cities in the UK, and also been hosted in Estonia, Argentina, Australia, Chile and Colombia, with future residencies in Germany and Norway in 2013." [label info]


"SIMON WHETHAM, dem wir zuletzt als Eyjafjallajökull-Gestrandeten im April 2010 in Lissabon begegnet sind, treffen wir wieder im November 2011 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Das dort stattfindende McNeill Street Pumping Station New Music Festival hatte ihn mit einem Beitrag beauftragt. Er verbrachte eine ganze Woche in dem einstigen Pumpwerk, um den hydrophonen und postin­dustrialen Genius loci oder Hausgeist zu begegnen. Das Rauschen von Was­ser, der Geschmack von Eisen, Rost und Patina wurden zu Ingredienzen sei­nes Dröhnscapes Hydrostatic (aatp39), den nicht zuletzt der Fluss der Zeit durchströmt. Pfeifende Laute und geisterhaft summende evozieren dabei et­was Älteres als das Industriezeitalter. Hölzernes und metallisches Gestöber suggeriert eine verlassene Geisterstätte, eine Ruine, die nach noch Brauch­barem durchsucht wird. Organum hat schon auf Vacant Lights solche Klänge eingefangen, Ephraim Wegner hat kürzlich ähnliche in verlassenen Hotelrui­nen gefunden. Immer ist damit ein ‘Danach’ verbunden, ein ‘Vorbei’. Latten scharren über den Boden, der Wind faucht, als wollte er noch den letzten Eindringling verjagen. 1887 in Betrieb gegangen, wurde bis 1980 dampfbe­trieben, heute ist das McNeill-Pumpwerk ein National Historic Civil Enginee­ring Landmark. Whetham erschafft mit droneüberwölbtem Getröpfel und Ge­plätscher die Illusion einer Quelle, des verborgenen Anfangs einer Lebens­ader, die hier mit nahezu kultischer Aura widerhallt und wieder als pumpende Mechanik zu ‘atmen’ beginnt. Das Elementare, das das vermeintlich so ratio­nale und funktionale Maschinenzeitalter ignoriert und verdrängt hat, kommt wieder im Denkmal zum Vorschein, nachdem die Funktionalität modernisiert und inzwischen noch unbewusster geworden ist. Ich glaube, es war Ernst Jünger, der zuletzt Zweifel an einer Freiheit hatte, die davon abhängt, dass Wasser, Strom und Gas in unsichtbarer guter Hand sind." [Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy]

"The ever so busy bee Simon Whetham and his multiple travels around the world. Here we find him guest of the McNeill Street Pumping Station New Music Festival in Shreveport, Louisiana in November 2011 where Whetham spend a week going about this pumping installation to create a multi-channel performance of his music. It's not only the pumps, but the complete site, the buildings and the people around it that have been captured by him and collages into five pieces of music, totaling around 53 minutes. With Whetham, I must admit, I am never sure what it is that he does. Obviously he picks up sounds from the environment, that's hardly a secret, but then what does he do? Is he playing them one at a time (which I doubt), is he layering them together, or is there any sort of electronic treatment going on? I assume the latter is the case, but I might be wrong altogether. Whetham does apply 'musical' techniques to create his music, like using loops in the fifth part of a jackhammer, the
melodic drone touch in the third part and such like. He creates all these little touches which stretches it far beyond the mere documentation of a certain area. Spooky and mysterious at times, this is another fine addition to what mounts to a vast amount of releases by now. It's almost on par with his recent 'Never So Alone' (see Vital Weekly 870), which I thought was his best so far. This one is almost as refined I am to say. It's only in the smaller, somewhat untouchable details that I think this is just a bit less. Just a bit, I may add. If the name Whetham is new to you, then 'Hydrostatic' is an equal fine starting point." [FdW/Vital Weekly]

"The globe-trotting British sound artist Simon Whetham found himself in Shreveport, Louisiana in 2011 where he was commissioned to develop a body of work based on the defunct MacNeill Street Pumping Station. This artifact of the 19th Century was the last known steampowered water plant in the United States and has been a historical site for several decades now. He was one of many acclaimed artists asked to contribute to the seemingly inactive MacNeill Street Pumping Station New Music Festival, alongside Tim Hecker, Lawrence English, Mark Fell, Eli Kezler, and about a dozen other denizens of avant-garde soundcraft. It was a great idea to have all of these artists develop compositions, installations, and performances within such an interesting space; and we can hope that the festival is merely on temporary hiatus. Needless to say, here we have the stereo mix of Whetham's multichannel installation that he presented at the festival. His source material consists of drones from the huge metal pools and the network of pipes from that space, focusing mostly on the resonant frequencies of the ghostly drones and watery tones. Overlapping, sinewy electric vibrations tumble into a pool of isolationist dank at the beginning of the album before a reverberant flute utters a solitary bellow amidst the metallic klang reverb articulating two of the techniques of Whetham's sound-hunting - that of the contact microphone on sonorous objects and the open-air recordings of those reflective surfaces. Deep, low-end rattlings gird the bulk of Hydrotasic with wind-swept thrumming, agitated found objects, and plenty of nocturnal clutter being moved around by the ghosts that lurk in the sticky humidity of a Louisiana swamp, or at least that's what it sounds like. Brilliantly akin to the processed field recording work of Jonathan Coleclough, Thomas Koner, and BJ Nilsen." [Aquarius Records]