|signal to noise|
|circuit I (enclosure)|
|circuit II (alienation)|
|circuit III (commodification)|
|circuit IV (consumption)|
|circuit V (contamination)|
a ph.d. candidate in environmental politics at toronto's york
university, rich oddie revels in the interplay between politics,
theory, and music, and
plies all three into the fabric of his new album for hymen, circuitbreaking.
"this definitely informs my music," explains oddie, who has been
recording as orphx both in collaboration and solo since the early
1990s, moving from
the rhythmic industrial noise of fragmentation (1996) to the minimal techno-industrial hybrid of nullty and vita mediativa (1998) to the
electro-acoustic experimentation of 2001's the living tissue.
"circuitbreaking was inspired," continues oddie, "by learning more
about how different groups around the world are trying to address the
of economic globalization. there are samples here and there from protests, speeches, and films that touch on this theme, but i wanted this to be
subtle, rather than overpowering the music with an explicit political message. hopefully, the music works on its own."
and indeed it does - so well, in fact, that hymen will release two
versions of circuitbreaking. the full-length cd will include 10 tracks,
arrangement consists of thematic, melody-driven pieces punctuated by precision experimental electronics that range in timbre from the textural
calamities of akira rabelais and autopoieses' noise patterns to the tone-pulse configurations of ryoji ikeda and carsten nicolai's microtonal minimalism.
titled "circuit i-v," these almost interstitial pieces buffer stark,
techno-infused tracks like "signal to noise," which with its riveting
electro overtones and ceaseless crisp bass pulses brashly acknowledges its debt to the detroit underground. "simulacra" and "simulacrum" share strong
ties to laptop glitch and rhythmic noise, both spinning around a shared sequence of unchanging tone sounds and downtempo industrial beats. and if
one track on circuitbreaking wears its political orientation on its sleeve, it's "critical mass," a martial beat pattern with jeering crowd noise that's
equal parts berlin techno and "join in the chant" by nitzer ebb.
as full of musical variety as it is, circuitbreaking nevertheless
succeeds in conveying a singular conceptual theme, one which, as rich
at the heart of people's connections with one another.
"i'm interested in how people communicate with each other and with
the world around them, and how communication breaks down or is
explains. "the interruption of 'dominant signals' relates to the social/political ideas above but can also point to the idea of listening as
a metaphor for living - openness and sensitivity to others, the voices of dreams and nightmares, the effort to communicate or make a connection that
makes you think beyond yourself or lose yourself."
hymen encourages you to perform your own circuitbreaking wherever and whenever the need arises.
immer diese kanadier. rich oddie zum beispiel. der mag die globalisierung nicht und macht gleich ein ganzes album darüber. unverkennbar kommt er eher vom industrial, experimentiert aber mittlerweile in alle richtungen, was dem album sehr gut tut. tracks wie "remote control" mischen auf faszinierende weise sounds und elemente, wie man sie vielleicht von den alten "the klinik" kennt, mit weich und doch böse brodelnden elektronischen dub-akkorden - das ist einzigartig und funktioniert super. generell bleiben mir die tracks aber ein bisschen zu harsch. p.s.: die nitzer-ebb-hommage ist der hammer! (thaddi)
richard oddie's orphx project has gone through numerous mutations since its inception. from 1996's "fragmentation" with its clamouring metallic assemblages through the droning, cyclical beats of "vita mediativa" to the fragile, concrete samplescapes of "the living tissue", orphx has covered almost every aspect of the post-industrial sound spectrum. it is fitting, then, that his latest album (and first for hymen records) sees a reconciliation of these styles into a coherent blend that is truly his own. "circuitbreaking" is also something of a concept album that takes oddie's extra-musical interest in environmental politics and suffuses it into the album's fabric through samples of various entities' reactions to the onset of economic globalisation from the mass hysteria of a protest crowd to the monotonous voice of jean baudrillard delivering a lecture. these are often not as obvious as they might be in the hands of a lesser artist, but oddie skilfully manipulates them into the now-familiar soundscapes of his work. atop these conceptual atmospherics we find a return to nullity-era cold, relentless beats: simple, sharp bass kicks that bridge a link between the 4/4 click of techno and polyrhythmic tribal music thus emphasising the universality of oddie's themes. the other driving force in the music is the minimalist melodicism that has been employed to great effect. taking off from where alva.noto's "transform" left off, microscopic digital clicks and beeps are arranged and processed into slick passages of tonality - like life evolving out from the most simple of electronic circuits. i'm not sure how well oddie's message comes across in "circuitbreaking". certainly it has its more didactic moments of sampling, but the rest of the time it seems muted beneath the music…and all the better for it, in my opinion. musically, this is orphx's finest moment and partly due to the fact the fact that it does not get bogged down in conceptualism [a criticism that could be quite easily levelled at "the living tissue" or "other voices"] but seems mainly to focus on forming rich, evocative, experimental structures of rhythm and tone. it's heartening to hear the raster-noton sound infiltrating the hymen stable and hopefully more artists will be begin to indulge in its "less is more" aesthetic, realising the power in the simplest of sounds. simply put, "circuitbreaking" is a fantastic album that should expand the horizons [both musical and intellectual] of its listeners. it is by far orphx's most coherent and consistent work to date, never flagging or drowning in repetition - i can only hope that this is beginning of a great working relationship between them and hymen. (gavin lees)
wreck this mess
un bon album d'obédience tek-indus, comme nous en délivre régulièrement ant-zen et sa filiale hymen. il faut dire que la musique de richard oddie - le "o" de s.o.s., un clash stratosphérique réunissant sealy, oddie et spybey (dead voices on air) - a considérablement évolué. de compositions franchement industrielles, trash et noisy, il est passé à des choses moins abrasives. mais pas moins rythmées : entrecoupé de courtes séquences abstraites (bleeps, drones, bruissement de basses fréquences ("circuit i - v"), le tracklisting est soutenu par une solide architecture rythmique sur laquelle vient se greffer quelques bleeps et le hululement étouffé d'un vieux clavier. doctorant en science-po à l'université de toronto, richard oddie mêle lui aussi, musique électronique et prises de position politique notamment envers la mondialisation. pièces maîtresses de ce manifeste techno-tronique : "remote control" et "simulacra". (ld)
"circuitbreaking" is phd student rich oddie's - aka orphx - way of bringing the issue of economic globalization to the attention of the listening public without being overtly political in his method. studying environmental sciences in toronto, oddie prefers to let the music speak for itself, utilising samples from political speeches, protests and films on the subject in his music. far from being political, "circuitbreaking" is an impressive rhythmic noise meets techno album with rumbling tones, kicking beats and tense dark atmospheres running throughout. the cd version of the album additionally includes 5 link pieces titled "circuit 1" through to "circuit 5" that provide short segues between album tracks in stylistically different ways from glitch to high frequency minimalism. "circuitbreaking" is smooth, well-conceived and rhythmic and does not force its message on you, letting you enjoy the well-crafted beats while you consider the content of the well-chosed samples used. take for example "simulcra" and simulcrum", the first is bassy, rhythmic and glitchy while the latter has a more techno vibe but with bursts of experimental static and effects. "critical mass" on the other hand is a pounding rhythmic noise track with a techno flavour. highly recommended. (pl)
communication is something most beings deal with every single day. this can be in so many different ways - whether it is face to face or via the telephone, fax, e-mail, post, reading a book, listening to music… there are a vast variety of communication channels. orphx dives right into all what and how communication is, leaving us listeners with a cd of what i can only describe as being extreme pleasure. without sounding anything like philip glass' soundtrack to "koyaanisquatsi" it somehow has that very same feel to it, if you know what i mean. the unapproachableness, the feeling of despair crossed with some obscure, barren, desolate warmth… i don't know how to describe this well: this cd picks you up, shows you the heart of electronics, lets you take a slow but intense flight around the world, gives you a sense of rhythm, life, and then takes it away again leaving you confused but satisfied at the same time. it is impossible to give you an example naming only one of these songs. the cd is "one". every second song is a circuit of some sort, and after that there is a journey into what we do day in day out. "circuitbreaking" is a treasure. there is so much within it and about it, many theories have been explored. these tunes replace reality with their representation. curious? you better be. (ms poly-ester)
“circuitbreaking” is phd student rich oddie’s – aka orphx – way of bringing the issue of economic globalization to the attention of the listening public without being overtly political in his method. studying environmental sciences in toronto, oddie prefers to let the music speak for itself, utilising samples from political speeches, protests and films on the subject in his music. far from being political, “circuitbreaking” is an impressive rhythmic noise meets techno album with rumbling tones, kicking beats and tense dark atmospheres running throughout. the cd version of the album additionally includes 5 link pieces titled “circuit 1” through to “circuit 5” that provide short segues between album tracks in stylistically different ways from glitch to high frequency minimalism. “circuitbreaking” is smooth, well-conceived and rhythmic and does not force its message on you, letting you enjoy the well-crafted beats while you consider the content of the well-chosed samples used. take for example “simulcra” and simulcrum”, the first is bassy, rhythmic and glitchy while the latter has a more techno vibe but with bursts of experimental static and effects. “critical mass” on the other hand is a pounding rhythmic noise track with a techno flavour. highly recommended.
"circuitbreaking" deserves a set of earphones for the listener to reach the ultimate sound experience. many levels of sounds swirl inside the dark drones of latest album by canadian rich oddie composing under the name "orphx". in certain ways orphx is comparable with fellow canadian sound artist hugo girard aka vromb. both composers focus a lot on a kind of ambient musical expression where the rhythm texture still has an important impact on the overall result. one thing separating the two though is the fact that the soundscapes of vromb are frigid as hell and without any sign of emotionalism. orphx on the other side works in a more emotive based sound sphere where organic and everyday sounds are turned into floating soundscapes. even melodic sounds seems to swirl somewhere in the sound space. occasionally the album moves into harsher territories where hissing and crackling drones of noise dominate. no matter which territory we find ourselves in, the hypnotic expression is quite remarkable here. the rhythmic section sometimes hides underneath the waving ambient sound, at other times the rhythms move in the front with minimal electro and technoid beats. "circuitbreaking" crosses many musical areas: from trippy ambient, across old school minimal techno towards industrial and power noise. but the atmosphere of floating ambient always seems to exist somewhere in the sound space. excellent music! (nmp)
circuitbreaking is phd student rich oddie’s – aka orphx – way of bringing the issue of economic globalization to the attention of the listening public without being overtly political in his method. studying environmental sciences in toronto, oddie prefers to let the music speak for itself, utilizing samples from political speeches, protests and films on the subject in his music. far from being political, circuitbreaking is an impressive rhythmic noise meets techno album with rumbling tones, kicking beats and tense dark atmospheres running throughout. the cd version of the album additionally includes 5 link pieces titled “circuit 1” through to “circuit 5” that provide short segues between album tracks in stylistically different ways from glitch to high frequency minimalism. circuitbreaking is smooth, well-conceived and rhythmic and does not force its message on you, letting you enjoy the well-crafted beats while you consider the content of the well-chosen samples. take for example “simulcra” and simulcrum,” the first is bass-heavy, rhythmic and glitchy, while the latter has a more techno vibe but with bursts of experimental static and effects. “critical mass” on the other hand is a pounding rhythmic noise track with a techno flavor. highly recommended. (paul lloyd)
the opening track of this record says a lot about the music on this new orphx release. ‘signal to noise’ is what you hear when listening to circuitbreaking. this record begins with a pulsating sound with radio signals in the background (‘signal to noise’) and evolves into a technoïd noise (‘critical mass’). this last song has a sort of tribal feeling to it, like the music of this morn’ omina. but for the rest the music is better to be compared with that of gridlock (like on their formless album). orphx also produces technoïd music with clear industrial undertones, but mostly with more concrete rhythms and structures as gridlock. circuitbreaking combines however in the same way atmospheric sounds and moods with harsh rhythms as gridlock did on formless. it may be clear that this new orphx album is of the same high quality you might expect from this act, and the hymen label. circuitbreaking is both an interesting as well as an accessible album. (mvg)
déconstructions tonales, invraisemblances rythmiques, fractures structurelles et brutalité contenue, rien ne semble évident et facile dans circuit breaking. et pourtant, l'ensemble donne matière à bouger, à se laisser hypnotiser. d'une forme de composition proche de celle de vromb, les 10 titres de l'album présentent une originale tendance electronique qui, bien que solidement actuelle, se base sur des acquis ancestraux et inépuisables à se genre musical : la transe. bruits mats et millimétriquement découpés, mouvements sporadiques de basses énormes et bio-méchaniques, semblent soulever et tordrent le son pour mieux en extraire une pulpe acide et décolorée. par moment, les expérimentations anarchiques laissent place à une techno froide et écrasante, à l'image de remote control ou encore critical mass, l'un soft, presque chaleureux, l'autre franchement endurcit et laissant monter la pression. et malgré cet enchevêtrement numérique, une certaine ligne conductrice permet à circuit breaking de demeurer à l'image des morceaux qui le compose: compact et intransigeant. restent les interludes nommés circuit pour prouver que les canadiens savent aussi rendre l'espace sonore maléable et pour le moins cosmique, entre ambient creux et fréquences hystériques poussées jusque dans leur derniers retranchements. on dirait bien que orphx n'a plus grand chose à prouver... c'est carré, propre et ça donne envie de l'entendre sur un mur d'enceintes. décidemment, il s'en passe des choses intéressantes au canada (terre promise d'une electro de première classe) et on aimerait vraiment voir le pont entre notre belle europe underground et ce nouvel eldorado devenir une longue et solide réalité.
wer hätte gedacht, das in den körnigen noisedrones von orphx so viel beat versteckt ist. die mittlerweile vierte stilinkarnation des kanadiers rich oddie findet sich nach noise-industrial, post-techno minimalismus und elektro-akustik jetzt bei pulsierendem techdub und 4/4 techno wieder. mit experimentellen zwischenstücken unterbrochen pulsieren die verschiedenen stücke mit für orphx verhältnisse brachialen beats und sich verschiebenden klangplatten hart an der grenze zu tanzflächenhits. das changierend hypnotische, das granuliert pulsierende, das schabend dröhnende ist immer noch das bestimmende element, um das sich alle melodik und spannung rankt, aber wie schon auf der „chalice" 10" und der „interference" ep angedeutet, jetzt um echte rhythmen, harte beats und geradlinige grooves ergänzt. plastikman trifft auf zoviet:france, ellen alien auf vromb. dieser mix aus 1950er radioastronomielabor, schmirgelnden mikroklangwelten und minimal techno ist eine brilliante synthese aller seiner bisherigen ansätze, setzt sich sofort im hirn fest und müßte ihm doch eigentlich endlich auch mal die gebührende aufmerksamkeit im novamute/raster/the wire universum bringen, die er schon lange verdient. eine absolute pflichtplatte. (tô)
hymen records is the premiere label for experimental ambient noise and i can think of no better label for the trippy ambient loopings of orphx's latest work circuutbreaking. while orphx albums of the past have been much more rhythm noise oriented circuitbreaking changes the direction of orphx and takes
us into an ethereal realm of sound. lots of blips and bleeps abound in this album as it at some points is rather reminiscent to subliminal sandwich era meat beat manifesto. that is not the complete sum of this album's parts though as there are still some classic rhythm noise tracks that offset the slower paced trance tracks. the result is a perfect combination of mellow and harsh. i popped this baby into the trusty old sony stereo and pressed play. the first track titled "signal to noise," is a series of beeps that sound sort of like a life support machine coupled with echoed chimes and a harsh clicking that sounds like the cd is skipping. a slow bass beat melds into the mix and the tracks basic structure is complete. it is an interesting start for the album as it contains a rather mellow tripped out minimal sound. just to describe it for you a bit differently my mom walked in and heard this track playing and first thought it was my computer's modem dialing. when she realized it was a cd she said "a kid could make music better than this," followed by "it sounds like a spaceship is landing on the house." i laughed at her misunderstanding of the complexities of the music and told her to get the hell out of my room. ok so that last little bit didn't happen, she left on her own when she discovered that i actually like this "music." that is just a little idea of what the older 60's music generation thinks of today's electronic sounds. not a big surprise. anyway a perfect counterpoint to this trancey opener is the heavy bass repetitive "critical mass," which could not be any more of a classic rhythm noise track if it tried. the album also has 90 second to three minute intermissions between each track titled "circuit i - v." each little bit is a noise snippet that borders more on the experimental than rhythmic noise sound. in essence circuitbreaking is a trade off between loops of synths and drums and pounding bass depth charges that create the perfect amalgam of what today's noise scene has to offer. it would work as a decent starter for someone who has never heard noise music before as it contains a few different elements of the genre. just make sure that you don't give this "starter" cd to your mom, she'll just tell you it sounds like a spaceship is landing on your house. sure you'll get a laugh, but come on it's not nice to laugh at your mom, she brought you into this world you know!
i'll admit i never heard of orphx before this release. a friend of mine described him to me as a sort of scorn, a mix of click and dub. the first track 'signal to noise' is indeed very clicky and bleepy, with waving basses that float calmly, and the third, 'remote control', is a gloomy dub number mixed with industrial noises. every two tracks there's a haiku, called 'circuit (i-v)' that ranges from weird reverbered sounds to pure whistling noise. the core of the remaining tracks is made up of harder beats, definitely more technoid than dub. the atmosphere surrounding the slow rhythm of 'simulacra', embedded in warm analogue synth tones, is very close to label-mates gridlock, but the punching kicks and harsh snares and percussions of 'simulacrum' are quite unique and fascinating. not to mention the industrial madness of 'critical mass', a monster tune fuelled by thunderous beats, distant dub and abrasive noises. sadly it's only 42 minutes long, but the sound of circuitbreaking it's so peculiar and magnetic that you must not leave it on the shelf. if it's still not enough, add to that a mindblowing artwork in the best tradition of hymen.
het openingsnummer van deze plaat zegt veel over de muziek op de cd. 'signal to noise' is letterlijk wat je te horen krijgt bij het beluisteren van circuitbreaking. de plaat begint met een pulserend geluid met op de achtergrond radiosignalen ('signal to noise') en evolueert naar een technïïde noise-nummer ('critical mass'). dit laatste nummer heeft een soort tribal gevoel en is daardoor enigszins vergelijkbaar met de muziek die this morn' omina maakt. verder is de muziek beter te vergelijken met die van gridlock (op bijvoorbeeld formless). orphx. maakt namelijk ook technoïde muziek met industriële ondertonen, maar wel met duidelijkere ritmes en structuren dan gridlock. circuitbreaking combineert echter op dezelfde manier als formless mooie geluiden en sferen met hardere en spannende ritmes. het moge duidelijk zijn dat deze nieuwste van orphx. dan ook weer van de hoge kwaliteit die je van dit project en het hymen-label mag verwachten. een zowel interessante als toegankelijke plaat. (martijn van gessel)
orphx discography 02.2k4:
01, c60, xcreteria, 1993
02, c60, xcreteria, 1994
obsession and progress, c60, bloodlust, 1996
fragmentation, cd, malignant records, 1996
the final moments, c60, isolation / third force, 1997
nullity, 10", hands, 1998
vita mediativa, cd, hands, 1998
surface, 12", hands, 2000
the living tissue, cd/lp/video, hands, 2001
other voices, 12", hands, 2002
chalice, 10", auf abwegen, 2002
oddie / sealey / spybey, cd, hushush, 2003
interference, cd ep, hands, 2003
circuitbreaking, cd / 12", hymen records, 2004