Pure – Home Is Where My Harddisk Is Vol.2 (Feld Records)
Frankfurt-based experimental label Feld is responsible for this record by techno-exile-turned-digital-sound-artist Pure, featuring two live sets recorded 9 days – and an ocean – apart. The first was put to tape (or, more likely, disk) in Brussels, while the second was captured in Winnipeg, and each differs widely from the other.
The Brussels set (recorded at the Argos Festival, October 2004) is 26:13 of digital squips, whirrs and hums, interspersed with brief glimpses of its classical-choral source material. For the most part it’s a good listen, though some of it hints at aimless manipulation – particularly earlier on in the piece, where one feels as though Pure is merely finding his feet. Once he does, however, the results are beautiful. For example, around the 20 minute mark, a lone female singer moonlights for a moment before being ushered offstage, leaving a rambling bed of gently humming snap/crackle/pop. Over this emerges a razor-esque sound which eventually cuts the piece down again. This harsh harmonic ambience is as effective as similar moments heard in the work of Terre Thaemlitz, though more patiently administered.
Track two, from the (((Send + Receive))) Festival in Winnipeg, more plainly recalls Pure’s excellent 2003 release Noonbugs in its crisper, smoother, white-noise-happy sound. This piece flows more serenely from idea to idea, with a much more subtle approach to tweaks. From its hazy beginnings, it draws back to a clean set of light bleeps, before rising again to a spacious sampled-voice crescendo. Then, beneath this, shifts build until the ambience is again replaced by rough twists, eventually dying in a brilliant digital hiss. For its consistency alone, it’s the better of the two pieces.
The notion of a live recording of completely computer generated/processed music may seem irrelevant, but it does place the audience immediately into the scope of the work. And with this live audience in mind, it’s certainly an engaging, absorbing experience.