Constellate Review (A Corner to Fit In
"For those of you familiar with Van Nort's work as an improvisor, Constellate is completely different. It's highly structural. I went up and down the elevator a few times and was impressed by how well the 16+ minute loop of sounds was painstakingly designed to mesh with the elevator experience. Epicycles of calm and tension take temporal cues from the elevator's motion. If a rider walked in, pushed the button, went to another floor, then walked out, they would experience something that seemed musically complete. But the piece keeps offering new ways to experience the elevator for anyone interested in hanging out in the elevator for 16+ minutes....I find myself extremely impressed that Van Nort composed a loop that seemed to intensely interact with the space. I think the choice to produce sounds by driving the actual elevator surfaces instead of just using samples was crucial, as was deriving the temporal structure of the piece from the motion of the elevator.
I've been in a bit of a musical rut lately. This Doug Van Nort's Constellate made me want to go home and compose. I think that's the highest complement I can give."
Quartet for the end of Space Review #1 (Norman Records
"From the moment I click play and get into Doug Van Nort's arresting 'Outer' I just really know that this is gonna be something quite special. Doug's piece is a startling transportation into the stars and beyond recalling classic early electronic music and science fiction movie soundtracks. Things start fairly calmly as I can visualize meteors passing by, until the climax where I feel like I'm being sucked inside out through a wormhole. Jonas' 'Web Doppelganger' give off an eerie lost in space mood with sounds manipulated from live improvisations. Francisco's piece as expected is very mysterious and cerebral with shifting tones, hiss, distant gurgle and pinprick fizzing micro sounds. Again staring at the back of my eyelids it's not difficult to imagine floating in a void, in the very fabric of time. Pauline Oliveros' 'Mercury Retrograde' is a journey in the fluid dynamics of liquid metal created using the EIS delay lines and modulations with ViMic and sound geometries. The results are a fascinating listen. This just covers half of the tracks here, the rest of which I recommend discovering for yourselves."
Quartet for the end of Space Review #2 (Franz de Waard/Vital Weekly
"Triple Point is a trio of Pauline Oliveros, Jonas Braasch (soprano saxophonist) and Doug van Nort. In February and March 2010 they recorded two improvisational sessions along with the help of Francisco Lopez. Later on the quartet also performed in Kingston, New York and all of these recordings are used by the individual musicians to create two new pieces each. It shows the extent of how improvised matters of electro-acoustic music merge into composed music. If at all, there is a division to be made here: on one hand we have Lopez and Van Nort who create all abstract pieces using the material as a concrete block: shape it, bent it, hack things away and sculpt something new. And on the other hand we have Oliveros and Braasch who seem to be more interested in creating a dialogue from the sounds created, without necessarily altering the sounds as such, save perhaps for a mild addition of sound effects. In these pieces we probably hear how the original music sounded when it was played. That is not the case with Van Nort and Lopez. Their pieces go all out into densely layered soundscapes of extreme filtering and processing. Those are my favorites of this CD, and I must admit I cared least for the more straight forward improvised doodling of Oliveros. Braasch's works are somewhere between Lopez/Van Nort and Oliveros: already a bit more abstract but still somewhere to be recognized. Quite an interesting work of acoustic recycling - a bit like a modern version of 'Captured Music'."
Quartet for the end of Space Review #3 (Monsieur Delire
"Francisco Lopez is rarely seen in live improvisation settings. Yet, the liner notes for Quartet for the End of Space state that the album is based on recordings made at a live quartet performance and several studio improvisation sessions. Out of these recordings, the four artists have drawn materials to compose two electroacoustic pieces each. I'm quite fond of Doug Van Nort's two contributions: they are complex but not overworked. Pauline Oliveros' two pieces are also quite strong, especially "Mercury Retrograde" and its mysterious inner workings. Francisco Lopez's two contributions are less mystifiying than usual, although the abrupt ending of "untitled #273" is definitely his."
Quartet for the end of Space Review #4 (The Sound Projector
"A stellar lineup of composers produced Quartet for the End of Space (POGUS PRODUCTIONS 21059-2): Pauline Oliveros, Jonas Braasch, Doug Van Nort, and Francisco Lopez. On these eight lengthy pieces they assist playing each other's compositions in the mode of performance which is quite close to "electroacoustic improvisation", or EAI as some will have it. This strange work is largely characterised by very alien, unnatural sounds; great duration; slow exploration of imaginary spaces; and certain affinities with the weather, of which Braasch's 'Snow Drifts' is the most obvious example. His 'Web Doppelganger' on the other hand is asking profound questions about the very nature of improvised and aleatory music, and doing so in a very creative way. Recorded and performed in 2010, and put together with a great sense of deliberation and care; instrumentation is not detailed, but there is a deal of electronic music, signal processing and computer assisted sounds blending with traditional instruments such as the saxophone. All the musicians play with authority and gravitas on this profound and stirring collection."
Quartet for the end of Space Review #5 (Tokafi
"Into the abyss: An intense psychological experience.
Quartet for the End of Space is an all-star electroacoustic jam session between composers and sound artists Pauline Oliveros, Francisco Lopez, Doug Van Nort, and Jonas Braasch. The quartet used raw material from two improvisational sessions between February and May 2010 to construct eight compositions - two by each composer - that blur the lines between improvisation and composition. Together, the pieces of Quartet for the End of Space - a play off of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time - offer an intense psychological experience straight out of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The album's opener, "Outer," begins with low-end engine-like rumblings that swell to an ambient, spacious composition. In the last quarter of the piece, extraterrestrial insect-like sounds swarm between the speakers as the sonic texture is gradually engulfed in a tide of white noise.
"Web Doppelganger" is a tour through a spaceship, with manipulated saxophones mumbling like androids before a backdrop of ever-evolving celestial drones. "Mercury Retrograde" features free-jazz horn squealing over reversed tape, struck strings and mallet percussion. In "Snow Drifts," alien howling sounds are layered into a microtonal field of pulsing sonic interferences. "Cyber Talk" is the sound of a malfunctioning robot: digital beeps, metallic scrapes, and inhuman slurping sounds spiral around one another in schizophrenic spurts.
Perhaps most intriguing about Quartet for the End of Space is its cohesive narrative arc. While each piece clearly has it's own sonic character, there's a conceptual and textural continuity between the works that constructs a compelling and psychologically charged whole. The pieces are arranged so as to lead a virtual tour through a futuristic environment. The journey begins outside of a spaceship, and then proceeds through its inner chambers, some of which are chillingly sedate ("Untitled #273"), while others offer disorienting and dystopian visions of the future ("Cyber Talk").
By the time the album's last bits of static fade out, Quartet for the End of Space has guided you on a chilling Sci-Fi journey. The album closes with its most ambient composition, "Untitled #273." Floating weightlessly over sustained synth-like chords, breathing sounds, and quiet bass rumblings, the piece seems to offer an exterior shot of a ship disappearing into the abyss of space."
HMMM Remix Compilation (Staalplaat
"A hypnotic assortment of styles and approaches of digital composition by electronic artists around the globe; each artist remixing the same 5 minute recording of an intimate group of singers humming together. Luminaries in the field such as:
Kathy Kennedy + David Gutnick, Hélène Prévost, Steve McLeod, Austistici, Thanos Chrysakis, Francisco Lopez, Margaret Schedel, Jonas Olesen, Bryce Beverlin 11, Magali Babin, Kim Cascone, Doug Van Nort and .i8u."