Jos Smolders – Gaussian Transient (Megaphone_ CD – NVO


There are few sound artists out there that rival the diverse and extensive modus operandi that Jos Smolders brings to his work. Recently, Smolders releases have focused around self-similar sequences, loose narratives, or some kind of overarching central theme that ties the pieces together. Harking back to his early working methods here (Freebasing A Is For Me) and simply homing in on the sounds themselves with apparently diffuse and disconnected themes, Smolders brings us into a world of shape-shifting foci. Here, sound is allowed to just simply exist, so essentially, what you hear is what you hear, without any un-neccesary frills or grand conceptual statements, this is an act of pure minimalism, simple, and concise.

Each piece is a meditation on particular kinds of sounds..the general industrial ambience of a train station for instance,the lowing of cows, or the deep inner workings of a harmonium, recordings of conversations in a street café, or the micro fine clicking and grating of a lighter. These raw, elemental features pull in and out of sharp focus, lending the work a filmic quality, and touching on territory explored by the Hafler Trio, surreal, yet intimately familiar, fused and juxtaposed, obscure, yet strangely familiar. Smolders’ recordings are taut and sharply defined, and technically about as perfect as it gets, particularly when listened to under headphones, one gets the feeling of actually being in these eerie, magnificent environments.

On repeat listenings, it appears that Gaussian Transient (Megaphone) is a linear piece, spliced into segments, each segment being titled after the work of Post Fluxus artist, Tom Phillips, one of a group of artists in the late 1960’s who used words as images, by setting up a text, and then erasing various parts of it to form a kind of obtuse poetry..this technique, no doubt influenced by the works of Gysin and Burroughs at the time, feeds into Smolders’ work, as his pieces similarly appear formed by a process of reduction and erasure. Overall this is a gritty, concise and bold series of recordings, rendered by one of the masters of the genre, Gaussian Transient (Megaphone) will, for me, be listened to again and again.

A true masterpiece. BGN


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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