MYSTERY SEA 51| jgrzinich | [phase inversion]


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- "Three tracks of moderate fluctuations of sound in temporal space, infected by the occasional far from equilibrium interventions to diversify the stasis."

"Research notes : Most structural compositions of phase inversion have focused on slow shifts in macrotonal formations, while the rich microstructure has received little independent attention. Presented here is a mystified and emotive soundscape of possible microstructures formed on the basis of margin transformations, kinetic ties, and spatial considerations. Special attention is given to the microstructural features resulting from a three-stage phase separation. Subsequently, these considerations are extended to the microstructure of the inner ear and that of its corresponding neurocellular boundaries. Finally, the features of actual phase inversion structures are heard, imagined and hence interpreted. Phase inversion can be regarded as a form of the instability in the composer, the stability of the process being least at the point of mentalprojection. On the other hand, knowledge of the phase inversion point is essential in the preparation of dispersions in order to obtain the desired listening effect. The fundamental difficulty in understanding phase inversion lies in the problem of conceptualizing the actual mechanism behind the process. Various recording and sound assembly methods are used to generate a trajectory in phase space, which samples from a chosen array of possibilities. This constitutes the random motion of the sounds within the dispersion lattice."

-jgrzinich, July 2008


Currently involved in workshops, and coordinator for MoKS - Center For Arts and Social Practice, an artist-run international residency center and project space in Southeast Estonia, John Grzinich is a nomadic mixed-media explorer whose main tool of expression is sound composition declined in various forms : manipulation of acoustic, environmental sounds & found objects, phonographies, construction of original instrument devices, site-specific installations & performances, collaborative sound actions...
Active since the early 1990s, he has collaborated with many artists & famous names in this sphere such as michael northam, Seth Nehil, Olivia Block... he travelled also intensively through Europe, and published CDs on a plethora of labels, namely for instance : Intransitive Recordings, Elevator Bath, Orogenetics (US), Cloud Of Statics, Cut (CH), Edition Sonoro (UK), Sirr (PT), CMR (NZ), Erewhon (BE), Prele, Tâalem (FR)...

For Mystery Sea, John Grzinich has plunged deep into its own creative process to come back with "phase inversion", an haunting & soothing thorough sound litany...

Sinking slowly within,
oscillating slightly,
in a continuous imperturbable movement
at the heart of an unseen core
lies a point of entry,
a source of multiple diffractions...
Rubbings, vesperal sighs,
microcollisions, metallic asperities,
elemental debris,
tiny fragments recombine in a wordless score...
"phase inversion" turns things upside down,
makes Below becoming the Above,
draws a precise, refined outline
where each detail is like the echo of a new path...
a cognitive retraction...


01. dispersion trajectory
02. membrane formation
03. spectral remnants




VITAL WEEKLY 671|Frans De Waard  
Active since many years now, through solo work and various collaborations (with Michael Northam, Seth Nehil and Olivia Block) and many releases (on Intransitive, Elevator Bath, Orogenetics, Cloud Of Statics, Edition Sonoro, Sirr, CMR etc), John Grzinich, also known as Jgrzinich, is a settled artist. He lives in Estonia these days, where he works on his music and as an organizer. It is not revealed what his sound sources are, nor what kind of process Jgrzinich uses, this new work is exactly what it is that Jgrzinich does. A bunch of acoustic objects, bells, wood, metal, stones, are being played manually and then the sound gets processed with various electronics and layered into thick swirling drone pieces. Jgrzinich never stands 'still', its always on the move. Small crackles from field recordings, majestic drones from electronics, with always something new happening. This is a Jgrzinich as we would have expected. Perhaps a bit like the release by Steve Roden reviewed elsewhere, one
could say that Jgrzinich doesn't change his mode of operation very much, which might be necessary by now. But without that one could easily say this is another damn fine disc. Perhaps not as aquatic as many of the other releases on Mystery Sea.
vital weekly

JUST OUTSIDE|Brian Olewnick  
Three pieces, which I hear as something of a suite (though there's no indication of such), lasting about 20, 20 and 10 minutes. I picked up a kind of "Bohor" vibe here, a very attractive one, though in a narrative kind of way, doubtless unintended by Grzinich. I always imagined the great Xenakis work as a massive mechanical process, perhaps a huge burr boring (burr-boring-bohor, you see) into the earth. In the first track of Grzinich's set, "dispersion trajectory", it's as though we're looking back in on the Bohor sinkhole centuries later, the tunnel having acquired a hollower tone (a wonderful one), its roughness not quite as rocky as before but still capable of throwing up the odd gnar or knot of metallic shavings. There's a underlying swell here, though one that possesses a grinding aspect that funnels back an amount of scree as it proceeds. The second, "membrane formation", seems to revisit the site a few decades hence; the detritus is still encountered, though it's taken on the tones of metal casings playing in the wind against the side of a boat, but the hum has become smoothed a bit, maybe the tunnel has been tiled. The final visit, "spectral remnants", is millennia hence, the tunnel having been thoroughly scoured, the solar wind whistling through, only echoes of its former granularity remaining.

....I like music that summons forth images like this! :-) Fine work, recommended for those who enjoy Olivia Block, among others.
just outside

IN PLACE|Jez Riley French  
'Phase inversion' (Mystery Sea 51) is the latest disc from John Grzinich, currently resident in Estonia & part of the MoKS team.
Having just spent a few weeks in residence at MoKS & going on several field recording trips with John it's still a mystery to me what sounds are used on his releases. I can guess at extended tensioned wires & large plates of metal on scrap piles but the exact sources remain to be pondered. Listening to this new release, a set of three intense pieces that fit in to but also expand on Mystery Seas penchant for drone based works, one is aware that this is field recording based work that seeks to be music in & of itself. I dare say, without reading the sleeve notes, most folks would believe the sounds to have been generated by other means. There's an impressive choice of source material on display. Generally I'm not someone who always needs to know what object / process makes which sound but I have to admit that these pieces contain such seamlessly blended elements that I am left trying to work out what environmental sources I'm actually listening to. Having spent some time with John & also witnessed a great live performance from him I have to say that if you're interested check this release out of course, but better still try to get to one of his workshops or concerts. The combination of experiencing all these aspects of his work leaves one wanting to know more.
in place

John Grzinich’s Phase Inversion is a giant murmuring, always on the verge of blooming, though largely because it seems always to be fading, growing darker the deeper it dives, where steel scrapes and grey glitches break its surface and paradoxically makes the cold, barren atmosphere more intimate.
If the climate of three works here is somewhat cryptic, it is a good deal more inescapable. Pieces pass with an incessant, circular motion, but it’s a motion done on the spot, heading nowhere. The first selection is the strongest. A solemn undertow spaded with placid tones hovers in the distance. A deceptively mischievous manner appears to hold it in place, though steadily it encroaches, not so much transforming as revealing a network of growling mechanical distortions occasionally pocked with echoing synthetic pings.
The closing pair of works are hewn from the same dark matter, but their rubbings are more feint, corroded, as though they now stood at a certain distance from themselves. As fine as they are, there is a sense in which they aren’t quite heavy enough to fully make good on the potential of the albums initial stirrings. This remains, still, a fine example of Grzinich’s never overwhelming, but far from benevolent, rattling streams of sonic distillation.

cyclic defrost

Jgrzinich is a name that's been hovering around the edges of my attention for quite some time now but it took the ever wonderful Mystery Sea label to finally wave him in front of me.  Phase Inversion is a set of three contrasting compositions.  The first, 'Dispersion Trajectory', is a long undulating drone marked by the addition of skitteringly amorphous insectile sounds. The second, 'Membrane Formation', is a melding of washing tone and drone with clattering and sawing instrumentation and the third, 'Spectral Remnants', is a short, gentle set of gong-like tonal ripples.
I found the first to be a little too cold and remote for my tastes the slow addition of the scuttling extra sounds helps open the track up but I prefer a little more warmth in my music.  The second is easily my favourite track here.  It seems fairly minimal in it's strategies but there's a humanity to it's composition that envelops the listener.  The final track offers a small coda to the album that's perfectly formed and full of interest but is a little too brief to fully immerse oneself in.
If I have seemed a little negative towards this album then I apologize.  It's fair to say that Phase Inversion isn't my favourite album this month as, for the most part, it all feels a little too clinical for my tastes and I struggling to hear the composers personality but, it is extremely well made and most definitely a worthwhile listen as are all Mystery Sea releases.
wonderful wooden reasons

Among the genuine masters of this game, acquired Estonian John Grzinich gives a showing of his strength with a gorgeous accumulation of drones and found objects, the latter mostly verging on the softly metallic/distantly clattering side of concreteness. The record presents exactly what was expected, this commentator well acquainted with a good number of the artist’s past releases (published on the best labels in this field, from Cut to Sirr, to Elevator Bath – you name it, he’s been there); yet there’s something distinguishing his work which is called class. I don’t know how to explain it, this has probably to do with a deeper perception of the vibrating particles of a particular source, or the shape of a chosen environment, or maybe just comes from a highly developed inner ear. A Jgrzinich drone sounds dissimilar from a regular buzzing hum: it appears more like the layering of a thousand desolate murmurs bathed in amniotic liquid.
The static façade hides hundreds of inherent movements, muted throbs, sub-harmonic changes that nevertheless make the whole sound as an immobile stifled choir, silently spreading resonances which, in conjunction with the dissipating energies represented by those faraway rattles and clangs, represent a memento of how to behave ourselves in front of the vague, a symbol of the unconcern we should always demonstrate when the worst is approaching, be it the fear of an uncertain future or the sheer notion of death. Perhaps a record like Phase Inversion could help someone to get in touch with that inside dimension which is inevitably left aside when one is intent in “living” by filling the brain with figments of imagination and innumerable illusions, only to be given a final bill at the end, still ill-equipped and even more frightened.
In actual fact, life itself is a phase inversion. On the contrary, many people are convinced of giving lessons to others, not realizing that what they believe to have “invented” is just the chewed-up remnant of a truth that everybody sees in a wholly individual way - all of them completely wrong - and that will finally rape everyone’s abstruse beliefs concerning human evolution and a presumed afterlife - not to mention reincarnation - except for the obvious transformation of the corporal matter into food for worms (or ash, if you’re sophisticated enough) and energy into some substance that might be useful or less, according to the quintessence of that erstwhile “being”.

brain dead eternity