John Hudak | Birds and Reeds

Aesova | 3

During this fading year the music of New York based artist and composer John Hudak became a favourite listening experience for me. A pioneer in the field later labelled '.microsound', Hudak has been actively developing his musical language since 1985 in addition to creating installations for white cubes, public spaces and the virtual rooms of the world wide web and radio.

What becomes immediately striking is the clarity in his work: all of Hudak's music I know grows from one single, small source of audio, often acoustic events captured en plein air. His processing of material seems to focus on magnifying small, but evident details to the point where those hidden sounds become a world of their own, inviting the listener to wander around, forget oneself and probably get lost until one comes to the point where you suddenly recognise where you are - in a field of 'tall grasses', looking at the ever changing sky from underneath the mirroring surface of a 'pond', or having the radio send up coded signals 'from where I am'.

'Birds and Reeds' seems to come from the opposite direction. Based on recordings by Regina Beyer made at different ecological areas of a closed landfill in Staten Island we obviously hear birds, reeds and the wind in a landscape. But this landscape seems to be formed of tin foil, the birds seem to be part of a slowly spinning metal mobile. Compared to his other releases, Hudak allows his source material to be itself, but nevertheless in its strange concreteness the music seems like reverbations from another time, another place than this, like a field recording engraved on a wax cylinder.

'Birds and Reeds' presents one track of twenty minutes duration and yet again this little sounding object finds itself spinning in my room for hours and hours. Hudak's musical work is one of a very pure and therefore difficult kind. Once you've found your way in however, it is highly rewarding, probably even addicting.


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