Some context from Howard Stelzer:
"This oddly punctuated album of studio compositions for modified cello, open-circuit electronics, cassette tapes, and other detritus was retrieved from Intransitive’s climate-controlled vaults after carefully aging for more than six years.
“By My Side” came about at a time when Vic Rawlings and I were performing lots of duo concerts, and felt that we were pushing ourselves into some strange, exciting territory. We decided to capture what we were doing in a “real” studio, rather than simply record concerts in situ as best as we could… which at the time, would probably have meant putting one stereo mic in the room and hoping for the best. Two days of improvisations in Jesse Kudler‘s attic studio were sculpted and massaged over several intense days until this album emerged. And then… nothing happened. We’re not sure why. When Vic and I would get together for dinner or drinks, the topic of publishing this album would come up every now and then. One of us would bring it up: "Say, we ought to publish that thing we made." Every time I listened back to the music, I’d think, “Hm, this is pretty weird stuff. someone should put it out.” Years later, the rapid fluctuations between narrative tease, passages of high-velocity throttle, and grotesque emptiness seem just as fresh and bafflingly exciting to us as they did when we recorded them." - Howard Stelzer, Spring 2013
Here's what some know-it-alls have to say about "By My Side...":
“With Rawlings, Stelzer stretches his cassette manipulations even further. He seems to match Rawlings’s desire to move past the “musical” side of his tools and get at their physical workings. So tape-speed manipulation and the grind of tape heads feature prominently, just as Rawlings taps into the primal electrical signals of his devices for some gnarly high-frequencies. The cello works as a sort of earthy counterpoint to the more fragmented electronics, but it too is all surface and texture, rough-hewn ones at that… the atmosphere here is one of research and discovery.” – Paris Transatlantic
“Both Stelzer and Rawlings take turns in letting their material breathe, take shape and gentle move away. Or pull out together, a stroke of noise, like painting flying around, smeared on the canvas. A wild affair.” – Vital Weekly
released August 1, 2010
Howard Stelzer - cassette tapes and tape players
Vic Rawlings - modified cello and open-circuit electronics
Produced by Jesse Kudler at White Flag, Boston MA, Summer 2003. Cover photography by Vic Rawlings. Design by Justin Myers.
Originally published as a CDR in a limited edition of 100 copies.
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