Limited edition CD (100 copies) + download
Released on MVK’s own imprint clinamen (C07) on March 1, 2019
Inspired by the field of thermodynamics, philosopher of technology Gilbert Simondon uses the term ‘metastability’ to refer to a system state that transcend the classical opposition between stability and instability, and is charged with potentials for a ‘becoming’.
What can a drum machine become? ‘ER-1’ by MVK (Matthijs Kouw) provides an answer to this question in the form of 10 de- and reconstructions of the ER-1, a versatile drum machine and percussion synthesizer first released by Korg in 1999. All tracks on ‘ER-1’ were created by manipulating recordings of the ER-1 using granular synthesis, feedback, and various plugins.
To some extent, the choice of source material in electronic music is arbitrary. The voice of electronic musicians has tremendous reach due to the multitude of discrete and radical transformations enabled by a growing arsenal of tools.
Rather than emphasizing the radical possibilities of sound manipulation, ‘ER-1’ plays with degrees of recognizability of its original source material. The drum machine can be nearby or very far away. Beats morph into drones and noises. Rhythms and patterns emerge and dilute. An incantation of possibilities stretching the ER-1 beyond literal use.
The potential of the ER-1 has thereby not been exhausted. ‘ER-1’ renders the ER-1 metastable, on the cusp of new becomings, suggesting new directions for the exploration of its sonic potential.
“Kouw melts, breaks, transforms, pitches and bends his sounds into something much more ambient, and something much more obscure. Kouw plays the mood music card quite effectively and within these fifty minutes, there is some fine dark rippling and rumbling of sound waves. The fact that this is a drum machine is no longer of real interest, and not mentioned on the cover (only on the website), and instead, it could have been really anything that went into the processing machine. This is very abstract music, and while it is moody and both ambient and industrial, it is at times also quite abstract, such as the eighth piece here and altogether makes up some great, delicate music, expertly mastered by Jos Smolders at EAR labs.” Vital Weekly 1173.
“Een kruisbestuiving van musique concrète, drones, dark ambient, noise en allerlei experimenten, die schuurt, schraapt, zwelt, krimpt en net als bij de thermodynamica zelf telkens voor interactie tussen de geboden delen zorgt. Hiermee weet Kouw je stevig maar gewillig een kleine 50 minuten in de houdgreep te nemen. IJzersterk album!” De Subjectivisten.
All music by Matthijs Kouw
Mastering by Jos Smolders
Artwork by Herman van Boeijen