Greg Segal / Chrissy Barr - "Intext"
(Phantom Airship Records 2003, Pale 07)
From Aural Innovations #24 (July 2003)
Greg Segal teams up with Chrissy Barr for a sound-art exploration that is very different from anything that fans of Jugalbandi, Paper Bag and most of Greg's solo works have heard. Intext consists of two lengthy tracks that, as the album states, were made by or modified from household objects. No musical instruments were used.
On "Interior" we hear pulsating, ever-shifting tones, accompanied by sporadic percussive patterns. The overall theme is consistent and develops in a linear fashion, but the atmosphere drifts casually from a sort of minimalist space ambience, to a brief dancey feel, and on to a cacophonous symphony of clatter... all within an avant-garde sound-art framework. Keeping in mind that all this was created with household objects keeps it all extra interesting, and as a listener it certainly sounds like there are electronics, which must all result from the duo's sound modifications. At one point I'd swear I heard a string instrument, though further examination revealed that it might be tapping the bottom of a steel pot or something like that. I resisted the temptation to email Greg for comments on his and Chrissy's modification/manipulation process, preferring instead to enjoy the ride and let my ears do their own interpretation. Much of it gets pretty spacey... a mixture of Forbidden Planet ooh-wee-ooh fun and Hal McGee styled freeform sound exploration. The pulsations and swirls, dips and dives, and blast offs and landings of the tones are the principle actors on this nearly 33 minute piece, giving the work a playful cosmic edge.
"Exterior" is a little different as the environmental sounds are more recognizable and less manipulated. Dripping water, drumming on cans or lids, the daily sound of traffic. But it's also highly atmospheric with haunting and often hypnotic ambience that makes for an odd but intriguing combination with the rushing cars and light noise patterns. This one brings to mind Mika Rintala's Verde recordings, with Greg and Chrissy achieving a similarly enjoyable blend of floating mind music and day-to-day human activity.
In summary, Greg Segal never ceases to surprise me and I'd encourage him and Chrissy on to further sound explorations. If you're unfamiliar with Greg's work then see the other Phantom Airship reviews this issue for rockin sounds that are in a completely different universe.
For more information you can visit the Greg Segal web site at: http://www.gregsegal.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Phantom Airship Records; PO Box 82525; Portland, OR 97282-0525.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz