Puremagnetik Tapes is pleased to announce its fourth release: Quetico, from sound artist and composer Micah Frank. It is a free (name your price) digital download until August 12th.
Quetico is a flagship recording for the label and lies close to the roots of Puremagnetik. Frank himself considers the album to be collection of "sound sculptures,” sonic objects in part assembled and in part sculpted from the basics of waveforms, timbres, and the concrete sound-objects of field recordings.
“Almost all of the tracks,” Frank explains, “were at least partially realized through a custom built granular Csound environment that I spent two months coding.” (Csound is a free programming language that is used by academic electronic composers. In the community/collaborative spirit of the system, Frank will make his Csound program available on his Github page as an open source project.)
The field recordings on Quetico include the sounds of geysers in Yellowstone, experiences of the night in Big Sur, and pieces from other wilderness environments. Frank then processed these through tape loops and his granular Csound program. He describes the final step as layering these textures and timbres—without “predefined harmonic parts” and rhythms—through generative processes and improvisations, methods that he has been moving ever closer to in his music making.
The two sides of Quetico are made up of six tracks. Side A features “Metameric Clutch,” which hums, lows, and sings like an enormous wind organ with a distant, looping throb underneath. As an uncanny result of Frank’s generative processes, the layers of sound come together into a shimmering, harmonic mass that itself pushes out bits of melodies.
Side B is, in Frank’s words, “heavily inspired by the acousmatic sound work of Bernard Parmegiani.” Field recordings are a clear element to the side, which includes the two-part “A Sun Will Always Sing,” which in elegant acousmatic fashion evokes memories removed from their specific origins.
A classic ambient record, Quetico expands through space and unfolds in time, and its dimensions define their own unique place, one that exists for the duration of the album. Frank advises it is best heard through a “multi-speaker or ambisonic sound system,” and adds “my hope is that Quetico is a cohesive listening experience that takes you on an adventure.”
Released July 24, 2019
Mastered by Taylor Deupree at 12k Artwork by John Whitlock