Dan of Earth – Voynich Was Here (3″ CD-R, Colbeck Labs)

Dan of Earth does some pretty cool things on Voynich Was Here; this CD-R is less a stand-alone noise release than it is dependent on the methods used to create it, and the liner notes that come with it really illuminate what Dan of Earth does with his noise and where his ideas come from. He’s a programmer, and the noise here stems from a radio source and a C++ programming algorithm which has separated a composition into parts and then reformatted it into the 20-minute track we have on the CD-R, if I understand what I’m reading correctly.

The first track on here, “Sometimes My Radio Does This,” is merely a sample of the screech Dan of Earth’s radio puts out when a car backs down the driveway; it’s included as an explanation of the source. Then we get the focal track “Voynich Was Here,” which features the radio feedback along with a bass drone rumble underneath. The bass often surges in and out, seemingly changing, while the screech remains constant, and since it was filtered through a program that scatters the individual sample over a much longer sample. What we get is not always evident; at times it sounds like there is progression, and yet the 20 minute track sounds almost entirely the same. It works in much the same way a wall does – the requisite parts never relinquish, and yet maybe they do?

The last track included is “Concentrate,” which is the same program but condensed with different squeals from the radio, and it’s definitely a more harsh noise-oriented track than “Voynich Was Here” because of the evident movement. Some might find Voynich Was Here more interesting to read about than it is to listen to, but that would be factoring out the small, subtle nuances that are difficult to pick up on. The intent listener will be focused on hearing those shifts in sound, however small they are. The way this track was created and the liner notes are so important to this release that, were one to neglect reading them, a whole world of interest would be missing.

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