Joe Panzner and Greg Stuart
Dystonia Duos


4.0
excellent

Review

by MisterTornado CONTRIBUTOR (47 Reviews)
March 9th, 2013 | 39 replies


Release Date: 03/06/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Enter The Void

Since the late ‘90s, Erstwhile Records has been opening eyes and turning heads with an experimental catalogue that is wholly unique. Though notable for incorporation of a wide range of genres, Erstwhile specializes in EAI, or Electroacoustic Improvisation, which is characterized by improvisation through the use of unconventional instruments (prepared guitars, turntables, laptops, etc) that are generally played to expose a more physical and textured aesthetic to sound. Erstwhile recordings typically feature collaborative efforts, usually in pairs (though sometimes more), and are allowed an extreme degree of freedom in recording; be it reinventing the way an instrument can be played, to deconstructing how we perceive the instrument, to taking sound and diminishing its volume to an extreme low or amplifying it to an extreme high. This level of freedom conducts some of the most unique, thrilling, and utterly alien music ever recorded. If the vast cosmic tapestry of music was framed into a universe, the music found on Erstwhile would be the impossible momentum, the invisible forces sucking life and matter into its sunken vortex of darkness and mystery, known here on Earth as the void of a black hole.

Ideally, looming at the center of this black hole would be Dystonia Duos, the first Erstwhile collaboration between Joe Panzner and Greg Stuart. Both artists come from established backgrounds; Joe Panzner fresh off his blistering noise onslaught Clearing, Polluted, and Greg Stuart fresh off the decks of his four album collaborative run with fellow electroacoustic wizard Michael Pisaro, documenting mysterious improvisations by way of droning sine waves and ominous field recordings. Kicking off this collaboration is “Organ b/w Timpani Solo”, opening with a gentle breeze of static and background rustling, indicating a live performance. Slowly a slight whirling sound is thrown into the mix, built up by increased rustling and various carving noises gently moving from ear to ear. Tension is built for the next ten minutes by ultra-thin sine waves slicing make-shift laboratory bleeps, ever so slightly multiplied and increased in volume. This results in a cold, dead air that’s left swaying a mournful choir of distorted electronics and static around an ever-growing drone, slowly pulsating a lifeless, machine-orchestrated death hum.

Guiding the casket is an aching, high-pitched squeal building an extreme sense of tension as barrels of forlorn static and noise fall into the rising pit. From here until its closing moments, every sound is slowly crushed between two walls of rusted, molten hot steel; deconstructing the mix to an unforgiving, hellish end. It’s important to note that, despite the title, a distinguishable “organ” or “timpani” is going to be difficult to decipher. This “organ” (of sorts) is likely processed through a laptop and distorted to levels that would only suggest noise. The “timpani” is likely the same, or tuned so depressingly low that it becomes inaudible. Following this opening funeral procession is “Dissection Puzzle”, gathered by a low static hum and glitched computer noise, before falling to the knees of an omnipresent demon and transforming to the will of his atrocious sonic agenda; a hideous, twisted, and gnarled protrusion of noise. Deafening vacuums of this harsh noise come shooting out of the wicked void throughout the duration of the song. This isn’t just a wall of random, insert-here aggression; this is highly prolific, layered, and dynamic noise that is cascaded by creaky field recordings and glitchy 404_error granting the mix with a sense of purpose and cohesion.

Rebooting the system is “Casa de Pedras”, which (unlike its predecessors) wastes no time in creating tension, evident by the wide histrionic grin on the face of a harsh wall of static that eagerly greets you. Artificial intelligence cries in the background of these walls, as if being cattle-prodded and shipped for mass consumption. The walls of static eventually crumble as a symphony of eerie, cicada-waves chirp inside a metallic barracks. Finally, a beeping, terminally-ill respirator guides Dystonia Duos to a light at the end of a tunnel; casting a series of lucid sine-drones to where life ceases to exit. Dystonia Duos may be utterly cold, harsh, and alien, but it rarely ceases to engage. This is an incredibly mastered approach to noise music, taking the usual doldrums of the genre and injecting it with infinitely layered, dynamic, and prolific production. Dystonia Duos deserves to go down as a definitive noise record; taking music that is generally tedious, laborious, uneventful, and (in some cases) unlistenable, to a void that’s entertaining, provocative, and genuinely overwhelming; thanks to Joe Panzner’s crippling noise background and Greg Stuart’s meticulous sonic abstractions. Black holes are rumored to act as gateways between time and space, and when you find yourself sucked into this one; chances are you won’t come out the same.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is easily one of the best noise records I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. If you’re even remotely interested in the genre, dive in.

Buy it/Sample it: http://www.erstwhilerecords.com/catalog/EA001.html

Rev
March 9th 2013


9439 Comments


Incredible review as usual dude. Will check this out

GiaNXGX
March 9th 2013


4867 Comments


Ordered, Erstwhile packaging is always cool. Can't honestly wait to see the aleatory decompositons of organic matter beneath this black hole's entrance, best label ever?

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Rev. Need to order a copy too Gia. "best label ever?" Yes.

GiaNXGX
March 9th 2013


4867 Comments


yayyyy, thou shallt support. they'll also be releasing a Drumm//Lescalleet colab p. soon, pumped for that one.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:o That'll be wicked. Have you heard Anne Guthrie and Richard Kamerman's Sinter or Graham Stephenson
and Aaron Zarzutzki's Touching yet?

GiaNXGX
March 9th 2013


4867 Comments


Only touching (boring), yet to hear Sinter but from what I've heard it's pretty interesting and diverse.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Touching was dull, more 404_error symphony. Sinter is fantastic, get on that soon

GiaNXGX
March 9th 2013


4867 Comments


Will do

liledman
March 9th 2013


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Strange things are being reviewed. Must be Tornado.

I have to make a large order on ErstDist soon.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Erst can have all my $$$

GiaNXGX
March 10th 2013


4867 Comments


and mine. will ask for a ftr bby lets goooo

GiaNXGX
March 10th 2013


4867 Comments


bingo!

North0House2
March 11th 2013


5880 Comments


Sounds awesome, will listen.

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Able Bodies

liledman
March 11th 2013


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sputnik promoting EAI what will happen next

GiaNXGX
March 11th 2013


4867 Comments


you never know, tuvan throat singing and Andrean folk^~^

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Didn't think my first front page featured review would be this, thank you

omnipanzer
March 11th 2013


21646 Comments


Not Joe
Omni

GiaNXGX
March 11th 2013


4867 Comments


' welcome sir, hopefully sputnik people will now jam some onky••••••

YankeeDudel
March 11th 2013


9313 Comments


where can i listen to this

Digging: Taj Mahal Travellers - August 1974



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