Percussa micro super signal processor

Sonic history in electronic music may be made with technology, but it’s also the output of someone’s brain. As such, it’s natural that liberated creativity can produce all kinds of possibilities. And it should be no surprise that history sometimes comes in cycles.

Or… make that rectangles.

Speaking of Poland, this short animation, crafted in 1971, features spooky sounds that would be at home on any modern dark techno floor. Entitled “Prostokąt dynamiczny” – literally, “dynamic rectangle” – the animation is by experimental filmmaker Józef Robakowski, with music by the incredible Eugeniusz Rudnik. We saw Rudnik yesterday in our piece on Polish electronic music pioneers (and their connection to modern partiers), and featured in the Boiler Room film.

It’s worth considering the visualist here alongside the sonic artist. The Poznań-born Robakowski was an early pioneer in video art and experimental film – on the standards of the international stage, not just as a curiosity from Poland. His work ranged from conceptual pieces (photographing coriander, for instance) to meditations on Poland’s still-recent, dark history (piecing together collage from the Holocaust).

And this film, apart from sounding a heck of a lot like something you could play at Boiler Room Berlin now, is a poetic essay on the relationship between sound and image, form and rhythm. Even when he’s working with image, he can be inspiring to musicians – and if your medium is audiovisual, doubly so.

For more, see this extensive piece and accompanying video documentary (Polish with English subtitles):
JÓZEF ROBAKOWSKI [culture.pl]

Józef Robakowski from Culture.pl on Vimeo.

For more like this, you can follow a Facebook page dedicated to this era in Polish experimental artistic history:

Studio Eksperymentalne Polskiego Radia [Facebook]

It’s in Polish, but you’ll find plenty of pictures … and videos, and sounds, and links to English-language articles. Expect to spend some time wandering the timeline archives.

It wasn’t just Poland that was creating wild new inventions despite Soviet domination. Meanwhile, in Bratislava (former Czechoslovakia, modern Slovakia), this was happening. (If you despise rectangles and techno-like rhythmic grids, I present – circles. Lots of circles. And no clearly perceptible rhythmic grid. Happier? We cater to all sorts here. No discrimination.)

Jozef Malovec (1933-1998): Orthogenesis (1966-1967). Realized in the Experimental Studio of the Czechoslovak Radio, Bratislava.

In the composition only electronic sound sources are used. Resulting sounds were modified and filtered before as well as after the detailed decoupage, small sound structures being prepared from a random selection of high frequencies. With an “infinite” tape they were reproduced by an effect tape recorder with four magnetic heads, where the audio signal of every head was modified by a special adjustment of band pass filters or by various types of feedback. This elementary microstructural material underwent a further transformation through various degrees of reverberation, or by a continually changing reverberation. The composition has no definitive score; there exist only sketches of some of its parts, serving as an orientation at the process of montage and mixing. There exists also some schematic figures of the connecting of instruments for the producing of some of the microstructural material. The expanding and compressing of the time process in microstructures is incorporated in the whole. At some places it was produced by the effect tape recorder. By this device the musical form received dynamic pulsation and inner evolution.

While working on Orthogenesis I tried mainly to form a musically continuous process, whereby the means of new sound elements results in a counterpoint of various microstructures as well as various kinds of space. The stereophonic mixing gives the definitive form of the composition in the space of the audition.

By Jozef Malovec (fonte web).

So circular.

Oh, yeah, and let’s not forget about the time Delia Derbyshire accidentally invented techno. (I’m going to introduce all my music from now on with “forget about this – it’s for interest only.” Oh, Delia, if you only knew how interested people would eventually be in this sound.)

Found Tapes Prove Doctor Who Musician May Have Invented Techno [Retro thing]

And the circle is unbroken…

(Thanks to Jacek Plewicki, also of The Record Loft Berlin, for the discussion and tips.)