Rounding out our latest pair of tapes is another self-titled first appearance on our humble imprint, from Oakland, California stalwarts Ctrl-Z. Having met at the venerable Mills College during their graduate studies, Ctrl-Z took form as a trio comprised of Ryan Page, Nick Wang and Daniel Steffey. Focused on bridging the divide between experimental compositional techniques and the oft-improvisational nature of modular synthesis, this release documents their renditions of works by Ryan Ross Smith (who sits on on these recordings) and John Cage – as well as a pair of works from the group’s own Page and Wang.
The tape opens with a pair of live recordings, which ably capture the adventurous bombast of this trio. A bracing performance of a composition by Ctrl-Z’s own Nick Wang jump starts the a-side. The group’s realization of Fontana Mix pays homage to Cage’s pioneering techniques, incorporating radiophonic sound sources, bowed percussion and raw synthesis to create a gripping sonic landscape that is at turns becalmed and crackling with raw violence. Listen closely for their aleatoric interludes that generate a sort of ad hoc commentary on the current state of pop culture.
To begin the flip, Ryan Page’s “Etude #51” blasts off to the stratosphere with its harrowing array of ever-reaching-upwards Shepard-Risset tones.
The tape concludes with a studio recording of Ryan Ross Smith’s “Proles,” which resembles something of a machinery menagerie. Coming across as if the trio’s machines are mimicking the behavior of language and attempting to engage consonant discourse with one another, it’s an almost soothing conclusion to this set of adventurous, uncompromising electronic music.
released July 15, 2017
All performances by Ctrl-Z, except track 02 performed by: Ctrl-Z and Talujon Ensemble
On this release Ctrl-Z is:
Ryan Ross Smitth
Recorded and mixed by David Hurtgen
Mastered by Ryan Page
Artwork by Gretchen Korsmo
Thanks to: Andrew Weathers, Full Spectrum, The Awesome Foundation, Mills College Center For Contemporary Music, Talujon Ensemble, Christina Stanley, Joseph Rosenzweig, Michael Mersereau, Sholeh Hajialiasgar, Forbidden Island, Bud Ice, Don Buchla, Pauline Oliveros, Anna Friz, The Jazz Gallery, and David Hurtgen
This is one of the most moving suites of music I have ever heard. The music wonderfully complements the narrator's story. One of the best releases of this or any year, one of the best albums this label has to offer, and one that leaves me eager to hear Scheible's next work. A difficult listen due to the emotional nature of the work, but one that is absolutely worthy of repeated journeys into Scheible's sonic world and the narrator's heartbreaking story. Alec L. Critten
Warm glitchy electronic drones that straddles a nice line between, Eno, Harold Budd and the electronic pastiche of Kranky records bands and Eleh who followed in Carl Stone's footsteps. Perfect for an overcast morning, coffee in hand, lazily moving towards the day. brantly