Live At Electric Spring

Live At Electric Spring

Label: Audiobulb

Date: June 2015

Cat & Format: AB062 | DD

Track listing:

  • 01. Live At Electric Spring
  • 02. Questions For Autistici

Electric Spring is an annual festival of sonic exploration, hosted by the department of music of the University of Huddersfield. The five-day programme of concerts, talks and workshops brings together some of the cutting edge proposals in acousmatic and mixed music, software interfaces and video music. Electric Spring is curated by Artistic Directors, Monty Adkins & Pierre Alexandre Tremblay. The festival showcases the Huddersfield Immersive Sound System

This live set showcases a decade of work. The integration of audio artefacts interwoven into a narrative of manmade and natural environments. Each detail has the potential to be preserved or lost, clarified or confused through compositional amplification. Thousands of audio elements, including those sourced from his own body are incorporated into the soundscape. The interplay between internal and external is merged through the process of perception.  Autistici works on the premise that the existence of any noise ultimately belongs in the mind’s ear of the listener.

Image: Bryan Teoh



Beach Sloth

Autistici weaves the natural and digital worlds together in the vast, all-encompassing work of “Live at Electric Spring”. How the piece teems with life is palpable, as it even incorporates breathing and various other everyday found sounds into a plethora of lovely textures. Over the course of the piece the attention to detail is admirable as both near-silent hushed tones intermingle with loud, almost ferocious descents into aural chaos. Throughout the entirety of the piece what ties all of it together is the sense of discovery that defines the exploration, of how these regular elements can interact with each other.

The piece begins in the gentlest possible manner, as the sounds of breathing remain the key fixture. Gradually the manipulations continue until a groove begins to form out of these very small, gentle sounds. When the first elements of classical float leisurely into the mix Autistici appears to get truly started as the size and scope of the piece begins to to change dramatically. Louder, larger sounds shift in and out. Melodies glimmer on the horizon and as they come into full view they feel particularly profound. About halfway through the piece Autistici turns the volume up to reveal a far larger sonic universe. Toward the latter third of the piece Autistici lets these melodies, always at the periphery come into full view revealing a truly nimble talent for form as the song drifts away quite beautifully.

“Live at Electric Spring” shows off Autistici’s deft hand at sonic manipulation, proving that music is truly everywhere.


The Sound Awakener

Autistici is David Newman, an electronic musician based in Sheffield (UK). Live at Electric Spring is his album released by the label Audiobulb. The album contains his live set,  performed in 2014 at Electric Spring festival, hosted by the department of music of the University of Huddersfield, UK.

Live at Elecric Spring is an extraordinary release which shows deep exploration. Beginning with the breathing sound mixed with textures, the set turned into a colorful canvas with a variety of sounds. Fragmental synth/ beats mixed with both repetitive and randomized patterns. Instrumentation, found sounds and drone elements turned into quiet, atmospheric parts. This shows a complex, mysterious musical potrait as well as a wonderful sonic space. My memorable impressions are the cello part at 09:03 and the atmospheric part at 35:18.

Live at Elecric Spring is a beautiful album in every single detail. The narrative soundscape, which is created by thousands of audio elements, recalls the strong interaction between inner and outer life, natural and artificial enviroment.


Critical Mass Media

Audiobulb label head David Newman moonlights as Autisici, an ambient/musique concréte project that would never, ever sound out of place at a MOMA-sponsored event. The composer, based in Sheffield, UK, has been fairly prolific over the years, releasing music under the moniker since at least 2003, if his Discogs page is to be believed. (This is my introduction to him. Sue me.) (I lied – actually, my introduction to him was his contribution to The Silent Ballet: Volume 12 compilation.) According to the onesheet, “Autistici’s work incorporates a wide range of sources including textrual sound design, orchestration, space and fragments of found sound or field recordings.” What this description doesn’t say is that Newman’s compositions can be gorgeous, haunting, and transcendent, all within one lengthy passage.

I’m really, really digging Live at Electric Spring, and I wasn’t sure I was going to. The main, eponymous piece lasts 47:16, which may be an endurance-testing time frame for some. For Newman, it allows him to stretch and expand, to breathe life into his work. It also allows him to showcase a patchwork of audio experimentation, some of which dates as far back as ten years ago. It’s the perfect entry for Newman in the Electric Spring annual five-day event, held at the University of Huddersfield, where “concerts, talks and workshops [bring] together some of the cutting edge proposals in acousmatic and mixed music, software interfaces and video music.” See? I told you this wouldn’t sound out of place at MOMA!

The spaces Newman explores throughout Live at Electric Spring live and breathe and shift and adjust as the performance continues, and the results are never less than fascinating. This is a truly remarkable feat, and showcase Newman’s talents as an imaginative and exciting composer. What, you think I’m crazy calling a 47-minute ambient/found sound piece “fascinating” and “exciting”? Take a listen yourself – strap on a pair of aviator-size headphones and let this thing buzz in your ear for a while, you’ll see what I mean. Plus, they gave acid to everybody at the event, so there was that extra level of inventiveness at play. (What? Nobody was on acid? I must be thinking of that other University of Huddersfield event…)

There’s a second track here, “Questions for Autistici,” which is literally a 10-minute Q&A following the performance. There was probably one guy in the audience who raised his hand five minutes in, and the moderator had to keep harshly whispering to him that he wouldn’t be able to ask questions until after the performance. Unbelievable!


So What

L’ossessione per i suoni, soprattutto quelli che si sviluppano in sottofondo in modo quasi impercettibile e del tutto anonimo per la maggior parte delle persone. È questo il punto di partenza per approcciarsi alla musica di David Newman, aka Autistici, vero e proprio scultore di paesaggi sonori, costruiti a partire da un’intuizione iniziale e modulati secondo un flusso percettivo determinato dalla sensazione ad essa associata. Sono proprio questi elementi di apparente disturbo che diventano materia centrale nella produzione artistica dell’artista inglese.

Per la Audiobulb Records Newman pubblica, in formato digitale, il live set eseguito durante l’edizione del 2014 dell’Electric Spring festival, appuntamento annuale dedicato alla sperimentazione sonora e all’esplorazione di nuovi possibili scenari musicali.

Il risultato è una lunga traccia che condensa la produzione decennale di Autistici rivelandone tutte le coordinate. Si parte da ciò che è un tenue sospiro e man mano si sviluppa un flusso in cui si intrecciano le più svariate fonti sonore a creare un dialogo tra possibili rumori ambientali, modulazioni elettroniche, frammenti strumentali che vengono plasmati e fusi in una narrazione coerente. L’andamento stesso dei suoni costruisce la pulsazione ritmica che ne scandisce l’incedere. L’atmosfera cambia più volte all’interno di questo viaggio dal sapore onirico, in cui  l’ascoltatore viene invitato ad interagire con ciò che lo investe al fine di creare una propria storia, una personale percezione di ciò che gli viene offerto. Non c’è spazio per la monotonia e la ripetività, c’è una grande ricchezza cromatica nelle soluzioni che si succedono,  e imprevedibilmente il tempo sembra scorrere in fretta malgrado l’atmosfera sia quieta e amniotica. È un universo da scoprire che si nutre dell’interazione tra le elucubrazioni dell’artista, i suoni che gli giungono dall’esterno e la risposta di chi ascolta. Un’ avvincente ricerca di possibili immagini musicali.


Chain D.L.K.

This new release from Autistici is a live set where his works are condensed into a single track constructed upon audio elements taken from his recording or his own body so creating a relation between diffusion and performance and a reflection about listening and perception.

The first track, "Live At Electric Spring", is the recording of a set starting with a breathing and noises and evolves with gentle synth notes until a sort of glitchy beat enters. When it stops, string samples form the structure of a small part that takes the listener to a meditative one based on drones and resonances. A loop ended by the return of the breath of the beginning of the set marks the second part of the set focused on reverberated tones studded by samples used in the first part giving unity to the set. The noises are balanced by a the quiet soundscape used as main element of the ending part closed by a juxtaposition of samples ending with a heavy drone under the starting breathing. The second track, "Questions For Autistici", is a Q&A session acting as a commentary to the set.

Perhaps a little bit too long, this set could be an introduction to body of work of undoubtable quality and the starting point to another phase of his carrier. Recommended as a starting point.