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Michael Chocholak | "Alveromancy"
TRB.012 | 2008/06/20 | CDR
contents
1 Calabi Yau (G2 Manifold) 12:50
2 Deep Blue Dreaming 06:34
3 Morpheus Descending 04:55
4 Beneath the City 08:11
5 Ariel 08:08
6 Aurora (Daughter of Heaven) 07:57
7 The Visitation 07:34

total duration
56:12

recording & mixing
January 2007 - February 2008

mastering & graphic
Themistoklis Pantelopoulos, June 2008
    "Alveromancy" - Conjuring through the use of sound. Abstract electronics, electroacoustic soundscapes, behemoth guitar drones, visceral and imagick. Sonic surrealism, structured improvisations, alternate mythologies... 1) "Calabi Yau (G2 Manifold)" is a massive solo electric guitar improvisation. The title is taken from string theory. Check out this image search: http://images.google.com/images?q=calabi+yau 2) "Deep Blue Dreaming" is an electronic improvisation using AudioMulch. "Deep Blue" was the IBM computer that defeated the human chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997. Now, with the growing sentience of AI computers, programmers are hoping to give them the ability to actually dream. "Commerce is our goal... 'more human than human' is our motto." - Eldon Tyrell in "Blade Runner" 3) "Morpheus Descending" is a free fall into the subconscious underworld as it rises up to meet you, leading you through topography of shadowed memories and cleansing enigmas. Skin drum, erhu, conch, melting ice, shortwave, flute, tibetan bowl, electronics. 4) "Beneath the City" - darkness weaves together the muffled rumble of traffic, the diffused keening of subway trains on the rails, the rush of ghostly air streams you hear but never feel, the threatening hum and crackle of electric mainlines and the shaking of the earth itself. Shortwave, electronics and sax. 5) "Ariel" is the magical air spirit in Shakespeare's "The Tempest", appearing here, clad in white noise and glass. 6) "Aurora (Daughter of Heaven)" is an improvised electric guitar duet named for both the mythology of the dawn as well as the shifting, pulsing curtains of light dancing in the night sky. 7) "The Visitation" is processed harmonics and percussion with a quasi-orchestral character and Pandia on vocals. In the middle of the night, in the dark, amidst the echoes, in the solitude... revelation. Dedicated to the memory of Arie van Schutterhoef (1957-2008).
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reviews

Dmitry Vasilyev | IEM | June 2009
    Michael Chocholak is one of those musicians who never cares to be popular, or even famous. He is active since the early 90s, worked with Conrad Schnitzler, Rick Rue and Richard Truhlar, but also with poets, vocalists and various people - like garage-rock bands or renowned electroacoustic endembles. But he hadn't released anything yet! So, this album was released in a limited edition of 96 copies, and I wonder if it will be well attended. However, it's really interesting. Michael was guitarist from the beginning, and he got very unique skills in the prepared objects work - using anything as an instrument is not a big problem for him. This album is presenting 7 pieces, all recorded during 2007. Almost all of them are very close to atonal ambient, mainly improvised, and using guitar with electronics, but sometimes also computer arrangements, radionoises and some traditional instruments like sax and flute. The first piece "Calabi Yau" reminds me "Aftersolstice" by Christoph Heemann, and the fifth one, "Ariel", is much more dynamic and abstract, it could be labelled as surrealistic extremum. One can hear the intentional disharmony in Michael's passages, but it's true that listeners always keep tension during the pieces sounding. This seems to be quite unusual for ambient music, which was intended for relaxation rather than concentration. So the whole picture of the album looks a bit fragmented, just like the spring skies, changing all the time. And the most inspiring is the last piece, in which all the music is moving to the background, making free way for some percussion solos and treated voice, and it works fine.

Matt Howarth | Sonic Curiosity | February 2009
    This release from 2008 features 56 minutes of aggressive sound sculpture. It begins with waves of rippling noise, dark and threatening, punctuated by bell tones and receding tonalities, all dutifully intimidated by the surging cascade of ominous electronics, a synthesized wall of teeth straining to tear into flesh. Horn-like hints lie deep in the cacophony, evoking a subliminal lament that promises to be a portent of the noise's inevitable triumph. Fierce pitches enter to duel with the din, struggling for domination, but to no avail - the thematic angst remains steadfast, unswayed, as hostile as ever. The second track offers a haunting realm of dire drones inhabited by more piercing pitches. Instead of battling, the diverse tones merge to form a field of intense expression. Dense and all-encompassing, this zone swallows the listener and stupefies cognition, plunging consciousness into an abyss beneath dreamland. The next piece contributes to the downward spiral with grinding noise seasoned by fleeting blasts of an eerie nature: banging, scraping, shooping, all processed until they've lost any ties to their earthly origins. The journey continues, going underneath habitable space into a darkness wrought with tense textures and swelling mechanical growls. Electronic pitches act as sonar beacons to navigate the gloom. But as the descent persists, everything becomes swamped a deadlier murkiness. Blasts of mutant static usher in the next track, striking out and holding sustained iron ringings at bay. Determined to claim victory, the abrasive hisses repeatedly flex and erupt into harsh outbursts that often sound like bellows of metallic beasts. Adopting different timbres, the next piece features a similar combat, this time between choppy sounds compressed in upon themselves and the mournful outcries of those metal behemoths. Using contrasts as their weapons, these forces clash, struggle, and ultimately merge into a delightfully thunderous bedlam. The last track consists of vibrating layers of terse atmospherics visited by an assortment of fearsome pitches, harsh droplets, and sharply delineated impacts. Intense and articulate, this music has no need of melodies. Its strength lies in its own audacity and the soul-shattering devastation it achieves.

Frans de Waard | Vital Weekly | issue 652 | November 2008
    The name Michael Chocholak is perhaps not very well-known, despite his work in underground music for some twenty-five years. Originally a guitarist, these days he's using anything he can lay his hands on: from the guitar to the computer, from drums to glass - all of this is used to the extent of no longer being able to recognize what it is. Creating large pieces of vast and dense clouds of sound. Music that sounds very electronic, yet very organic too. You don't recognize the initial sources - it's only because they are mentioned in the press text. Music like this would be called ambient industrial: it's too noisy to be fully ambient and relaxing, and too ambient to pass on as real noise. This is sort of ambient (industrial, drone whatever) music that I really like. Referring to modern electronics (especially Roland Kayn), heavily processed electro-acoustic music and Germany's cosmic music (especially Conrad Schnitzler), this is music that hardly sees innovation, but in the capable hands of Chocholak it's still a great miracle.