Tobias Fischer | Tokafi | November 2008
In September, Triple Bath celebrated its second anniversary. For anyone with an eclectic musical taste, this was a feat to be celebrated. In the relatively short time of its existence, Themis Pantelopoulos' label has effectively proven that there is not just a common denominator to Experimental Sound Art, Drones, Dark Ambient, the Avant-garde and Jazz, but that these genres may actually be mutually adding to their respective qualities when efficiently juxtaposed. Even though print runs have been limited to 96 copies, the fact that all but a few releases have by now sold out completely demonstrates that one of Athens' most active citizens has been remarkable persuasive in spreading the message. These two discs are just a small sample of a label catalogue which has been growing quickly yet with deliberation. Still, they make for a perfect illustration of the company's dauntless diversity: Taking responsibility for the reckless Noise attacks of Novasak and Jeff Gburek's timbral sensuality, Pantelopoulos points at the underground's Achille's heel: dispersion into myriads of warring factions, competing camps, doubled tongues and exclusive vocabularies. Placed side-by-side, however, these albums reveal a remarkable similarity in their aims. At first, of course, the differences are more striking than the resemblances. "Alpha" is a mean beast of a record, a dense terrorscape of analogue frequency collisions, aggravated digital stabs and irritable sonic scar tissue. Novasak's Todd Novosad pitches one third of his sounds to dog's ear level, tunes one third down to a malignant rumble and sets the remaining portion on fire in a smouldering explosion. The press release speaks about "sonic events as cosmic occurrences in a meta-scientific context", but maybe it would be more correct to regard this as a music so driven and intense, that its physicality transcends into an electrifying beam of pure energy plugging straight into the brain's synapses and neurotransmitters. In any case, Novasak cares a lot for unchanneled release and little for remorseless noise for its own sake. There is a pronounced sense of dynamics in these drawn-out, almost epic structures. Space, too, is of seminal importance, with even harsh passages allowing for a certain headspace and empty matter waiting to be filled by the listener's imagination. In the 35 minutes of the album's core composition, "alpha part 2", the whispered moments of ominous swellings are possibly more effective than the volcanic eruptions when the boiling musical magma is actually catapulted from Novasak's belly. And yet, compared even to those stretches of tranquility, the opening semblances of "Red Rose for the Sinking Ship" make you feel as though someone had cranked the volume all the way down. While "alpha" is all surface, an environment actively pushing towards you, Gburek inversely draws you in with sounds that always appear very close and very far away at the same time. He also eschews remaining stuck in the same mood for all too long - each work is an intimate meditation on a particular idea, process or mood, mediating tangible revelations before moving on to something completely different in the next piece. The sonic palette is therefore impressively wide: A dance of bacteria on the first track, sharp and edgy textures and rhythmic scratchings on the second, warmly glistening chime-drones on the third. Later in the album, Gburek manages to lend a yearning finale to a piece of translucent, abrasive sheets of noise, concluding with a naive musicbox-loop. Many critics, possibly under the influence of the cover imagery, have mistaken the record to be a concrete depiction of Mao's life. In fact, as Gburek points out, it deals with the universality of longing for a better world. In his music, he follows this train of thought by peeling beauty off intimidation and by arriving at form from formlessness. The fact that the instrumentation seems to be different on each piece adds to the theme, suggesting that it's the vision rather than the tools that matters. This is what connects these two albums and all but a few of the releases on the Triple Bath roster: They are willing to go beyond the outward appearance of their sounds, craving for depth and searching for meaning in places where others hear nothing but noise or nothing at all. On to a third anniversary then - now the only thing left to do for the label is to release a piece of classical music!
Manuel Pereira (Barulho) | Heathen Harvest | July 2008
Novasak is another new name to me. From the info provided with the record, I can find out that this is the project of Todd Novosad, the guy running the Swamp of Pus label. This record is out on a Greek label this time, Triple Bath, a suitable one for the kind of approach found here. His experiments focus on a sound sculpture level, one thatīs "influenced by space exploration and new horizons". What I found more interesting in his work is how I feel these cosmic possibilities tend to verify on a celular, microscopic level, as if compulsively away from outside infiltrations, breeding new alien senses during the process. Its frozen oceanic movement and deeply fried psychedelic taints resemble some of Astro approaches, but the way he deals with the journey carries the weight of an excessively detailed register, as in a trauma. This is the meticulous remembrance of an experience gone horribly wrong. Unidentified object spreading predatory skills, cosmic collapses, the infinite disorder. We are in no-land maps, the core of stars has already grown cold. Then the painful disruption of veins, non-circulation, brief explosions and severed heads clashing. Incursion into harshness is a consequence of intensification, but all virgin territories are condemned to oblivion. Insect colonization, that same suspension and inevitability. Life itself as a parasitic delay, imploding again, returning back to its larvar state, developing away from all external interferences. The overall feeling is that of a sculpture, raw and savage, meticulously separating meat from bone, the bone from the rocks, an obsessive, prolonged operation which reveals new shapes, or brings old ones to an obscure, diffuse light. Suspension of dust, infiltration into fissures, the cracked texture of nervous breakdown. Sound as a conquest, witchcraft as an equation.
Fontas Troussas | Jazz & Tzaz | issue 178 | January 2008
translated from greek
File under: weird electronics. Novasak, born in Denver of Colorado in 1980 (real name Todd Novosad) is a sound-sculptor who could be a member of the classic french centre of INA.GRM. "Alpha" (greek CDR, limited edition of 96 copies) is composed with structures that move between environmental electro and electroacoustic noise and that are perpetuated or alternating by the (productive) assistance of processors, analog generators and microphones that arrest sound by interventions on glass or wood. The result is "harsh", ropewalking between the under explosion "secular" and under "exhaustive production action" industrial, maintaining its spontaneous behavior to the maximum.
Martijn Busink | Musique Machine | December 2007
A guy from Denver by the name Todd Novosad is behind the project Novasak. He's been making noise with analog and digital means since 1997 as well as video. He uses all kinds of stuff, DIY electronics, mics and pedals, metal objects, power tools and vacuum cleaners. The well over seventy minutes of Alpha, a cdr release in a string of many (this one limited to 96 copies) mostly concern harsh, drone-ish noise. The three parts that comprise this release are within their lengths, from 18 to 35 minutes, quite varied. Therefore it's not very clear where one piece ends and the other starts, except for a short bit of silence inbetween the parts. Slowly evolving deep throbs are attacked by trembling squeaks. Other times a sudden outburst of hostile noise breaks the uneasy and random clanges of deeply reverberating metallic objects. In abstract music, some sounds take you certain places, be it dark dungeons or outer space or something like that. With Novasak I can't really relate any scene to it. To my ears, Alpha seems an aural sensation exclusively. Looking at the pictures of the means with which these sounds are made, a live show is likely to be the ideal way to experience it, as it seems a rather physical thing as opposed to the more laptop-based creation of some other noise. The sounds are thick, organic and have character, which makes the music that the music still stands, even without the spectacle that comes with its creation. Score: 4/5
Jliat | Vital Weekly | issue 604 | December 2007
Putting on one side (for a moment) ideas regarding sexism and biological differences, one could produce a bigoted review of this music which in its generality and ignorance of any subtlety or fact, mimicking the abhorrent behavior - at least intellectual - (i.e. the recent debacle re free speech at the Oxford Union) - to behave as an unreasoning right-wing bigot might represent - or present to an active, subtle and discriminating mind something which could be described as noise. Noise as the opposite of communication - of clear and subtle thought, of truth etc. The French would appear slightly askew in their Gallic nonsense and tomfoolery - of the mime artist, watched disdainfully by the thick necked Germans and ignored by the English, who are either stupid aristocracy or stupid football hooligans. Whatever a general English distrust of intellectuals. It is only with the eclecticism of a nation which is not a nation but a legion of united states that the incomprehensible can exist and the idea of the idea be not ignored but held in great respect. Which explains why noise is so popular in the land of the free. Here I can be the English snob so moving swiftly on then Novasak meddle with sine waves.