Mark Cetilia {Impact + Aftermath}

EtherReal - September 2015
C’est la première fois que l’on parle d’une production de Mark Cetilia en solo, mais c’est en 2011 que l’on découvrait Mem1, le projet qu’il mène en parallèle avec son épouse. Ensemble, ils gèrent également le label Estuary Ltd. sur lequel ils ont notamment sorti en 2014 un album de Blevin Blectum.

Quatre ans après Mem1, on ne savait plus vraiment à quoi s’attendre avec cet album, ne faisant pas vraiment de distinction entre les deux protagonistes de cette formation. Or Mark est celui qui œuvre aux machines, l’expérimentateur qui fait de la recherche sonore alors que Laura, de formation classique, se produit principalement au violoncelle. Ce petit rappel / cette petite présentation effectué(e), on s’étonnera moins de l’approche particulièrement expérimentale de ce disque, composé de deux pièces de 23 et 35mn.

Dès le début, l’écoute de cet album est un peu rude puisque même au casque, il nous faudra bien attendre une trentaine de secondes avant de deviner un léger bruit sourd, une sorte de ronronnement de machine qui s’élève très progressivement. On peut penser à ce moment à un avion qui traverse le ciel mais bientôt des souffles, fins grésillements, sifflements suraigus et autres textures rugueuses et arides viennent s’en mêler. De part la nature des sonorités invitées, on frôle déjà le bruitisme, mais le volume sonore ne cesse lui aussi de monter, atteignant son apogée au bout de 22-23mn. D’une ambient quasi inaudible, ce Pulse Shape 22 évolue donc vers une bruitisme minimal au sein duquel on perçoit à peine quelques variations et oscillations de tonalités.

Plus courte, la seconde pièce emprunte un schéma similaire, tout en restant plus apaisée. On démarre cette fois par un souffle clair et cette clarté est la principale caractéristique qui distingue les deux pièces. Les souffles se superposent, quelques sifflements stridents se mettent à osciller et tous ces éléments varient en intensité, tonalité et tempo. Au bout d’un moment on se laisse bercer par ce chant de machines qui nous évoque presque une nuit d’été à la campagne, au bord d’une rivière, l’espace sonore étant habité par les chants et les cris d’une multitude d’insectes.

Bien avant la fin de ce Palinopsia, on perd le contact. à force de décliner, le son devient inaudible, terminant l’album un peu comme il a commencé, abandonnant l’auditeur avec un disque particulièrement expérimental et minimaliste. -Fabrice Allard

The Sound Projector - November 2014
God, that's quiet. I've heard some quiet albums, but that's brave how quiet this disc starts. It builds from nothing to distant rumbling, or the sound of a thousand subterranean hard drives in standby mode. The source of this curious sonic disturbance is “software defined radio + electronics”. Software defined radio, eh? I'll have to look that up. Ok; it means radio generated by or by the use of components that have been typically implemented in hardware (e.g. mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators/demodulators, detectors, and so forth) are instead implemented by means of software on a personal computer. Does that mean Mark Cetilia has a piece of bespoke software which is monitoring internet radio streams and choosing stations of its own accord? If so, Cetilia then processes the heck out of it to obscure any traces of Gangnam Style, Lady Gaga or Pharrell Williams. The title of the piece suggests that what the software might be looking for is {PULSE DEFINITION} raw radio information, which could be incoming extra-terrestrial incoming picked up by SETI, the broadcasts on the emergency services channels, covert operations, the sound of wireless routers, numbers stations etc., etc. As the piece increases in volume it certainly begins to sound more and more like abstracted radio transmissions, so hung with hums and static is it that, again, it could equally be a fleet of servers boiling away in an air-conditioned bunker that we are listening to.

A filter opens that could be a sweep across shortwave frequencies at two in the morning. It is not known if Cetilia has used multiple sources or a single one. Whatever, the result is ecstatic, creeping dread. I suspect multiples. What had begun as quietly airless becomes more pneumatic as it goes on – decisive stereo events push the claustrophobic fuzz out into all corners of the room. Whines enter the previously high frequency-less aural environment. Kinda like being gassed with plasma-fied candy floss by a grinning toothless ape in a sealed concrete bunker in Spain. Volume rise is intended to take over your senses by stealth. A huge suction is vortex produced. Jet engines at take-off. Sawmill surge. Nothing can withstand its awful power. An impressive performance – I would like to have been there – having seen Tim Blechmann perform live recently, I can vouch for the power of transformative coding live. Ends bloody loud.

Cetilia runs Estuary Ltd as far as I can ascertain, and this disc appears to be only the second title on his release schedule. It's a good start – I hope to hear more from this interesting new Providence, RI label. Edition of 200. -Paul Khimasia Morgan

Neural - September 2014
Mark Cetilia is a media artist who often focuses on designing and implementing complex generative art and sound creations systems. This latest release, only 200 copies of which were printed, presents two suites both recorded live in Providence, Rhode Island at two different locations. The straining climax of the first track, “Impact”, is characterized by a hissing continuum of signals, which are used as source material and a hypnotic source of ambient diffusion. In the second track the sound is almost imperceptible: after turning up the volume of our stereo to the maximum we could only perceive a dull hum, barely recognizable by human ears during the first five minutes of listening. The subsequent five minutes are almost as quiet, so it is only after ten minutes that it is possible to discern some liquid, almost natural sounding audio emergencies, along with some synthetic frequencies. Finally, the work returns to an almost absolute silence. Here is a return to the popular theme of remodeling our perception of “hearing”, a real obsession in some experimental groups – a game that may get out of hand if taken too far. This work, however, manages to generate a cohesive and distinct style, situating itself amid a balance of digital and analogue techniques. Cetilia is a versatile personality: he is a member of the electroacoustic ensemble Mem1, a member of Redux (with Joe Cantrell) and a PhD student in music and multimedia IT at Brown University. His repeated alternation between deconstruction and recombination, absences and presences is not the result of a superficial work. This level of intensity is not a one-off either; it is typical of all his live performances in Europe and North America.

Chain D.L.K. - August 2014
I was unfamiliar with Mark Cetilia's work, but he has had a considerable output. He is one of the seemingly many academics who are engaged in experimental music; he received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in computer music and multimedia at Brown University. This disc consists of two long tracks, so let's look at each of them individually. The album kicks off with 'Pulse Shape 22 (Gamma)' which is a slow burn that starts as a quiet rumbling and becomes a deafening wall of noise over the course of a slow crescendo that takes 20 minutes! A whining feedback crescendo ends this piece. If you like noise, this is excellent stuff, and at almost 35 minutes there is plenty of time to sink into the music. The liner notes state that this was recorded live at Third Mind, Granoff Center for the Arts, in Providence, RI. The second track is 'Palinopsia,' which also features a long fade in and consists of a live recordingā€¦ Cicaida-like electronics and a quiet undercurrent of noise reign on this trackā€¦ This is limited to 200 copies and nicely packaged. This album weighs in at around 58 minutes.

Metamkine - April 2014
Trois pièces de cet artiste sonore d'origine finlandaise instalé sur la cote ouest des États-Unis, centrées autour de la guitare électrique plus ou moins modifiée. Un travail de rythmiques percussives avec des micros pickups extérieurs, une accumulation de résonances réinjectées et une pièce d'intro réalisée sur des skis transformés en monocorde !!! Puissant et captivant donc fortement recommandé ! Limité à 300 copies.

Textura - December 2013
{Impact + Aftermath}, Mark Cetilia's solo outing (available in a letterpress-printed edition of 200 copies) features two pieces, both of them recorded live in Providence, Rhode Island but on different dates in different locations, that manipulate inaudible signals within the electromagnetic spectrum as source material.

Recorded at Third Mind, Granoff Center for the Arts on April 5, 2012, “Pulse Shape 22 (Gamma)” is a thirty-five-minute setting that, if not listened to via headphones, will only start to become audible after about three minutes. That nearly silent beginning is an integral part of the overall design, however, as Cetilia uses software-defined radio and electronics to generate a mass of sound that builds incrementally in size, volume, and intensity over the course of its half-hour-plus duration. In simplest terms, the material hews to the standard narrative arc of rising action, climax, and denouement. Gradually the elements flood the aural space with a combustible, rippling mass of carefully controlled chaos that crests at the twenty-seven-minute mark. At that juncture, tension-and-release comes into play, as subsequent, rather industrial-like surges follow the seeming climax, though they turn out to be teasing gestures, after which a well-managed decompression follows to bring the piece to a ringing close.

The second piece, “Palinopsia,” begins as quietly as the first though there are significant differences between them. Produced using analog modular, shortwave radio, and electronics and recorded at R.K. Projects, “Palinopsia” situates itself within a higher register of warbly, high-frequency sounds; there's also a programmatic dimension to the piece, as it was created in response to a silent screening of New York-based video artist Naho Taruishi's Corner Projection No. 2. Soundwise, the ghostly material eschews the dramatic trajectory of “Pulse Shape 22 (Gamma),” opting instead to remain at a generally low-level volume and activity level throughout its twenty-three minutes.

Loop - December 2013
Mark Cetilia is a sound and media artist who explores the possibilities of sound, art and design through analog and digital technologies. Cetilia is a member of the electroacoustic ensemble Men 1 and belongs to the experimental media art group Redux. His sound works have been published by Lynges, Quiet Design and Anarchymoon. His Men 1 group has collaborated with renown artists such as Stephen Vitiello, Frank Bretschneider and Jan Jelinek among others.

'Impact + Aftermath' is a limited run of 200 CD's released on Estuary label and consists of two live tracks where Cetilia works inaudible signals found in the electromagnetic spectrum in real time.

'Pulse Shape 22', recorded live at the Third Mind, Granoff Center for the Arts in Providence, Rhode Island, is a piece of 34 minutes ranging from silence to in crescendo frequencies shaping thick layers of sharp and intense noises sustained by a drone.

'Palinopsia'. recorded live at R.K. Projects, Providence, Rhode Island is the background sound to silent projection 'Taruishi's Corner Projection No. 2' by videoartist Naho Taruishi based in New York in the context of several performances curated by Laura Cetilia at RK Projects in 2011. The music of this piece is minimal and contains fewer layers of noise in relation to the first track and slowly fades into silence. 5 / 5 -Guillermo Escudero

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