Ernie Althoff is a Melbourne sound artist and instrument maker active in Australian experimental music since the late 1970s. He is unique not only for the original textures and sonic elements he creates, often tempered with wry humour, but also for his practically continuous contribution to and participation in the Melbourne experimental music community over this extensive period.
His new album “Symmetry marred by impulse” opens a rich new vein of ‘Althoffisms’; delicate percussive worlds that articulate and rotate through new sonic spaces, realising their own inherent structures and symmetries along the way. It’s tempting to identify this new work as emblematic of a ‘late-career renaissance’ for Althoff, particularly the rich tonal depth and spaciousness enhanced by his recent use digital production techniques. The truth is that Althoff’s inventiveness and curiosity have been constants throughout four-plus decades of work, and continue to make his music essential listening.
“For some time I’d been putting the smaller sonic items I’d acquired into a separate container, but it was only when a friend gave me the little alarm-clock bells that I started thinking of the contents as a discrete set. Inappropriate for concert performances, but pretty good for spreading out on a blanket under the stereo pair of microphones and playing, trying all the while to push these insignificant little trinkets into sonically intriguing relationships. After the recording, being able to then use digital software to further move, adjust and tweak makes the already large field of possibilities vast. The four “Section” pieces are the results. The symmetry’s centre is a combination of a doubled recording of a recently built kinetic machine and another way of playing my previously described elastic-band instrument. These elastic-bands have a square cross-section, enabling the playing technique – one cannot do this with guitar strings! The final work is a multi-track mix of the loose-fitting lid of a small Japanese lacquered box being pushed around to produce the erratic 1-2-3-4 rhythms. I’m not sure that this found object is part of the ‘tiny’ set, but the final mix sounded as if it would work well as a closer. So it is”. – Ernie Althoff.
Limited edition of 100.