Julien Bayle - Violent Gains of Silence [Elli Media - 2018]Here we have a release that poses, and then answers the question of what can be found in seemingly total silence. The work sees French electronic musician/multidisciplinary artist Julien Bayle recording two hours of silence in 'anechoic' room- then processing it through a Euroack Modular system- to create nine specific length tracks- and the results are both surprisingly varied, creative & often rather noisy.
Violent Gains of Silence appears in the form of a CD on French label Elli Media- coming in a six-panel monochrome sleeve- featuring on its front cover a circular representation of the two hours of recording, which on the back are split up into nine sections. You also get a brief write-up about the piece, and a picture of Bayle sitting in a padded room- which I presume is where the original recording was made.
The initial two hours of ‘silence’ were recorded in an anechoic room at the Mechanical & Acoustic Research Lab LMA-CNRS in France. The room doesn’t create any reverberate- as it's all absorbed by it’s geometric and repetitive structured walls- making it one of the quietest places on the planet.
Then Bayle carefully played back the recording- picking out tiny random variations of physical electronic noises created by the recording equipment. He then created, than cut these elements into nine separate tracks which he processed in different ways through the Modular system. The resulting twenty-two-minute release is decidedly noise-bound, texturing varied & pretty creative, considering the origin/sourced of just 'silence'.
The release opens with the billowing & rushing tonal buffeting of "Dens". Moving onto manically jittering & choppy water-ness of "Sur". Through to the spitting 'n' spurting electro feed static of "Disr". Onto the slurred electro-fed clanging of "Unpr"- which sounds like a more noise-bound & nervy flaying cousin of more abstract Autechre. Through the snapping & popping beat, meets subtle grainy hiss 'n' buzz of "Post".
Initially, I felt a little short-changed by the releases merger runtime of just twenty-two- but really it shows both Bayle focus of his concept, and his ability to not let ego get in the way. Some producers could have really milked & stretched-out the textures here- really going to town on length tracks, but instead, Bayle keeps all nine track short & shape, with runtimes between one & five minutes. So he presents us with the different facets & textures derived from his processes- lets us enjoy the scope & the variation of what he’s mined, but never gives us too much- making you want more.
I can see Violent Gains of Silence appealing to both fans of textured noise, abstract electronica & general creative sound-making. When you read about the concept of the project you may imagine that the end results are going to both over indulgent & pretentious academic, instead what you get here is a short, often sonically shape & highly creative little release.Roger Batty