POGUS POGUS Is Watching You!
VARIOUS ARTISTS - DIY canons (Touching Extremes)::

DIY CanonsLarry Polansky's four voice canons are the inspiration behind this 2-CD set where composers from the most different areas apply their own discoveries to the concept of "mensuration canon", meaning that successive voices move according to a tempo that's proportional to their start time. All the selections herein represent a response to Polansky's request for the submission of personal versions of such canons, hence the "DIY" title. In such an articulated ramification there are obvious discrepancies among the pieces, ranging from the perplexing joke to the pure sublime; yet there is a sense of total commitment to the project which transforms it in an important document by a group of inquisitive minds working in a suspended sector between sound and mathematics. To summarize the highs, Steven M.Miller's "Twin canon" and "Pulse canon" show the perfect timbral opposition between similar principles, resulting in the hypnotic synthetic flows of "Twin" and a hell of FM drum beats springing out of a few initial hits in "Pulse". "Canoni pitagorici" by Giuliano Lombardo sounds like Partch and Chowning entwined in a peculiar specimen, while "Freeze dried canon" by Mike Swinchoski somehow reminded me of Carl Stone's most accessible fragments. A couple of really touching moments are Drew Krause's piano in "Canon for LP" and George Zelenz's "Thermohaline", where John Whooley's bass clarinet is finely superimposed in a stirring cycle of phrases. My own winner in the DIY canon contest is Mike Winter: although I'm left none the wiser - but seriously fascinated - after reading about his spectral filters, pixel axes and Gaussian functions, his three magnificent tracks (two with Philip Corner) conjure entities whose complexion, skeleton and life duration seem to depend exclusively by the uncommon light of the seemingly unreal harmonic relationships to which they obey. - Massimo Ricci

"There’s something for everyone in this two-disc set. Larry Polansky’s canonic work led to a “magic box” algorithm which he described and named “DIY Canon,” a four-voice mensuration canon where each line has the same melody but flows at a different speed so that all voices end together. Each melody may also permutate according to a set of rules. (Instructions and score are here.) Simon Wickham-Smith has collected several composers’ attempts at Polansky’s recipe.

The success of these pieces comes down to the raw materials and their capacity to interest the listener. The ones derived from real, non-musical sounds best strike my fancy: Kyoko Kobayashi’s Cat Canon, Bruno Ruviaro’s Entrei Pelo Canon 1a with its screaming men, Stefan Tomic’s Ringtone Canon, Bo Bell’s Metrocard Canon, and Ross Craig’s thankfully brisk Barbie’s Phone Canon which draws its substance from a toy.

Several canons trudge through pure computer sounds. Once the pattern’s repetition makes itself understood, I’m itchy to move on. The only exception is the longest offering, Wickham-Smith’s 11-minute Kullankeltaiset Päivät (Larry-lle), the abrasive filtering of which unhurriedly steamrolls." - La Folia

Larry Polansky introduced on his four canons release (Cold Music CB0011) some "mensuration canons" (also known as ‘prolation canon’, or as a ‘proportional canon’). Where the basic idea of a canon is based upon the simple idea of a theme that is repeated by other one or more voices after a small interval, if I understood well for this canon version this can also be done at different speeds. Polansky suggested for this project the submission of personal versions of such canons. More than once, this led to a very simplified, almost minimalized version of this idea where a basic theme, tune or even a collection of sounds is speeded up until it finds its own rhythm and seems to come to a conclusion in its full power of interaction (Polansky’s foundation sets the tempi of four voices in proportion to their start time so that they all end together). Still, some such examples simply speed up in a certain formula until it’s no longer possible to add more interaction or data. Other tracks still slow again down after a while, without coming to the mentioned essence, still its rhythmic progressions are able to find on its way other interactive elements like in overtones or such.

Even in the very simple examples of the basic idea can be found great results. A few examples which follow the ideas a bit too strictly, do not have the same amount of discovery in their process as those composers who do allow some modifications under way. Very strict in a speeding up process were the compilations and speed-ups of a collection of ringtones, or of some automatic voicemail messages. I loved much more the collection of cat sounds finding its own rhythm and with the speeded up conclusion showing a frightening collection of breathings, growls and meows. Some composers started from basic ideas like a popping pulse, or pizzicato’s (leading to a chamber-like variation of the idea), a piano composition (at first hearing less following the idea), two reed instruments or the use of electric tones, are often other direct practical examples of the theory. When starting from completely strange organised sound like the Finish composer did, with evolving distorted and peeping tones, almost machine-like, this gives different and unexpected aspects and other qualities come forward. There’s one compilation of sounds-foundation with metro sounds using the same practical canon form, elsewhere it is started from bowl sounds or the sounds produced from guitars. There’s plenty of change here to keep the attention wandering and with wonder. The featured tracks are all well united by similar pulses and with somewhat comparable forms of organisation, which makes this compilation successful. - Psyche Folk

Past Feature Article: If, Bwana / Al Margolis featured in UK's Wire Magazine
CAUTION: Listening to POGUS CD's may cause you to become one with the universe (or at least your immediate environment)
Unless otherwise noted, all content © 2000 - 2005 Pogus Productions  ::  Design by Family Design Group