Hecker – Recordings For Rephlex (2006)

(words by Kristian Cole, Merthyr Tydfil’s very own laureate of the digital noise revolution)

As we are inclined to wash the feet of the beggars John Cage (American Tramp) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (German Weirdo) I cannot help but think what shit they pulped out over their years of sound production. Cage and Stockhausen, both from academic musical backgrounds, may have seemed ground breaking to the other chin rubbing fucksnouts who pretended to understand their take on ‘music’ and assembled themselves in Europe’s café’s to discuss the preceding minimalism which was rolled across their cochleas in null tones. “Fuck mainstream, I’m academic!” Of course you are. I pat you on the head as you use musical instruments in non musical ways. 

Graph 1, whatever that means – Ed

The avant-garde was born and rolled on into the underground when the first noisefag chained a few distortion pedals together and amped that fucker to the three gig attendees, who in turn rubbed their chins in faux-understanding. Hooray, academic experimentation had been assimilated and reborn in the underground! Ok, I jest…there is certainly a connection with Throbbing Gristle’s first punk gigs, the art world, right time, right place, London, yadda, yadda, yadda, industrial, noise, power electronics, yadda, yadda, yadda. I can only assume by the time Florian Hecker had arrived in the academic arena (studying Computational Linguistics and Psycholinguistics at Ludwig Maximilian Universität, Munich, and Fine Arts at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna) the use of the Supercollider app was a free download with his course and although he may have been too pissed to use it around freshers week, he certainly used it mid term of the first year. Supercollider enables digital noise to take place using code and the copy and paste method of code to file, save as, etc.

It’s a collider, alright – but is it super? – Ed

Of course I am jealous, Florian sits within the art world as well as the underground, and fuck that is something I yearn for. His dealings with Rephlex Records and Aphex Twin certainly garnered enough street cred to take this Germanic genius and place him, anorak and all, into a realm of exposure that highlights how electronic music can be deciphered and displayed to us Luddite’s with charm. Noisefags may chain a thousand pedals together and stand back in awe of their own pomposity but Hecker explains it with an actual interest in the subject (see Liner Notes). Hecker’s main instrumentation on this very album is produced by laptop and supercollider application. Not a pedal in sight and good fucking riddance to analog purists. Long live digital noise and its programmatic constructs. We are all a copy and paste away from white noise screaming through the backbone of a PA. 

The henon assembles itself, ad infinatum – Ed

The scope of digital noise is unfathomable as its multiple range of frequency ranges can be mined indefinitely, looped, arpeggiated and aligned with the time of day as a global variable. Yet we still have noisefags jamming a soldering iron up a Teddy Ruxpin doll’s arsehole for self satisfaction; boring childish cunts, come dream digital noise with me tonight.

The liner notes certainly divulge the albums processes, lets take a look:

1. Hénon Map & Gingerbread Man (Linear Edit) 

Gingerbread man
Henon map

Hecker says: Starting from my previous works using dynamic synthesis for sound generation, I was intrigued to use nonlinear differential equations to generate chaotic signals. Although complex equations are frequently used in algorithmic composition to define pitch or note selection criteria, their use as a source for direct sound synthesis is rather unpopular. This recording is based on the Hénon map and gingerbreadman functions. The sonification of these equations offers a wide spectrum of sounds ranging from simple sine waves to coloured chaotic noises. These are different from ‘classic’ noises such as white, brown or pink noise due to their features of nonlinearity and feedback. 06:26

Kristian says: Hecker used noise objects to produce noise. Code was written…or copied and pasted. Noise music placed in the context of actual beats, not club worthy but still a piercing slab of digital noise, an ear bleeder at the right volume. In your car you may be able to get the same effect whilst searching for radio stations.

2. Pulsar Wg’lett

Hecker says: This short track was produced for the second Götoborg Biennial 2002. It was generated entirely with the ‘PulsarGenerator’ software, a framework for a speciality particle synthesis developed by Curtis Roads and Alberto de Campo. Subsequently it was edited in a two channel audio editing software. 03:46 

Curtis Roads and Alberto de Campo. They are actually two different people just same specs.

Kristian says: Both left and right stereo spectrums have been used to place noise music in. Imagine the initial stereo recordings of the 60’s, replace the bowl hair cut mummy Beatle boy cunts with aimless scraping blips and beeps, Uncle bob is your Uncle.

3. Precedence

Hecker says: For his 2004 Solo exhibition in Marseilles, Carsten Höller asked me to contribute a sound piece. Shortly before this invitation I started researching on psychoacoustic effects using time delay, and therefor came across the precedence effect. I produced a series of seven percussive, rhythmical tracks, eventually named Höller Tracks, all of them based on short sequences of pulsars, synthesized with ‘PulsarGenerator’. The one featured on this album is the edit which was also used in the exhibition. Additionally to the constantly alternating shift between a lagging click in one channel and a leading click in the other channel, each channel was phase inverted every few seconds to add higher spatiality and increase spatiotemporal confusion. 04:17

Kristian says: Hecker used delays over left and right stereo fields. more info on the Precedence Effect here. You can download PulseGenerator from the network.

4. Acid 245; Ph.Inv 9T2 

She will not like this.

Hecker says: Produced for the 3rd Berlin Biennial 2003. 05:38 

Kristian says: Accccciiiiiiiiiiiiiidddddd…….if you were on a fucking downer.

5. C 04 05 I_μdd 

Hecker says: 05:02 

Kristian says: Aphex Twin style track naming process. Harsh.

6. 4G5EQ 94825492426.7531 

Hecker says: 00:55 

Kristian says: Aphex Twin style track naming process. Shrieking.

7. In Actu (Create 7.1 Edit) 

Here’s how you fuck shit up.

Hecker says: This piece is centered around an edit of a live performance at the Bartos Theatre, MIT Media Lab in May 2004. This recording features extensively all the processes and techniques I’ve been using, namely pulsar synthesis, waveset processing, dynamic stochastic synthesis and chaotic synthesis. The editing strategy I applied was made in close memory of Bruce Gilbert’s albums Ab Ovo (Mute, CD STUMM 117, 1996) and In Esse (Mute, CD STUMM 171, 1997). 12:21

Kristian says: Fucking shit up.

8. Wippi 

Hecker says: 02:53

Kristian says: Piercing. Future power electronics…now!

Kristian’s Conclusion: Mentioning the word ‘meaning’ in the same sentence as the word ‘Noise’ blows the brains out of noisefags who take every word in the dictionary as gospel. “Noise is non data! Meaningless!” What it should be is “Noise is academic! I only learned how to chain pedals two days ago!” Hecker may have never heard of power electronics but this surely crosses that boundary. All he needs is a few references to serial killers and an image of a stabbed prostitute or two and you would have a sheer classic.

Beyond all the brain pulsating literature here is a Rephlex fan’s comment (got this off the internet):
I have collected “electronic music” since early 1991 and now have over 4000 records and cds, just in this category. From Xenakis to Autechre – I listen to everything electronic that I can get my hands on. I also own nearly every release that Rephlex has produced thus far. I felt the need to preface this comment with that information because I believe this to be the single most pointless “thing” that Rephlex has yet released (topping Lektrogirl with EASE!). It’s not music, by any means. You could call it “experimentation”, if you like to experiment with ramming sewing needles in your ears while machines bleep and blare aimlessly around you at deafening levels. I honestly did not find ONE second of this release to be enjoyable. Ya know those “noise” tracks on the AFX Men releases? Extend that silliness over 35 minutes or so and you’ll be getting close. There’s a bit more variety to these tracks, but they’re still ear splitting nonsensical noise. Now, if this is your thing, great! You should pick this up with a quickness. But if you’re looking for some good old-fashioned Braindance, this ain’t it.