rm74 | Mikrosport

Domizil | CD

As the dominant means of production shifts from the soldered - or carved - confines of hardware to the elusive spaces of software we're witnessing the progressive and inevitable inward collapse of sound. Freed from the physical restraints of dexterity - the rapid fingers of a virtuoso pianist, for example - sound is collapsing in an unprecedented process of folding, layering and compression.

Software, with its infinitely magnifiable interface, allows artists to explore musical spaces that previously lay far beyond reach, let alone comprehension. Time becomes a factor which can be teased apart or ripped open at will, resulting in a shift in the underlying architecture of audio from minutes and seconds to milliseconds and sectors.

The effect this is having on music/sound is profound: symphonies, rich in a wealth of detail, can occupy minutes; an hour now seems like an eternity.

Hecker, farmersmanual, Oval/Microstoria/Lithops and [insert Mego artist of your choice here], to name but a few, have all mined this fertile seam of collapsing audio to great effect. Domizil's rm74 (Reto Mader) is the latest micro-pioneer to embark on a voyage of discovery along the frontier of electrons, and from the evidence of 'Microsport' the journey he has mapped is well worth following.

Reto Mader's strength lies in his ability to harness melody within the matrix of noise. Occasionally from the surrounding digital scree melodies emerge like sentences surfacing from a sea of unintelligible code, each a perfectly formed study in miniature. 'Fallups' sees a distant piano play counterpoint to an ocean of buzzes and clicks - the abstract noises of machine chatter. Four minutes of hyper-condensed audio it hovers incandescently as if locked in suspended animation.

'Paramors', at a fraction over sixty seconds, shudders and stutters through a distilled series of micro-rhythms which tug at each other, forever threatening to implode. Captivating despite its brevity, it suggests a host of underexplored musical (short)forms which one hopes might be uncovered on a 'Microsport' rematch at some stage in the very near future.

[CM]



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