UMLAUT (B.E.A. & Chironomia)
PERFORMING, OR SHAPING THE SOUND
The electro duo Umlaut proposes its personal interpretation about performance and sound.
Exploring its etymology, performance can be reconnected to the Latin ancestor PERFORM (PER-intensifier prefix) and Latin verb FORMARE to give form, shape: to give final shape, shaping definitely.
This meaning cames out, in the musical experience of the duo, when they point out the most essential forms of sound (intensity – i.e. volume-, frequency, rhythm), working around them.
In this way, the search necessarily also develops around the blurred boundaries between sound and noise.
From a pure physical point of view, there is a close link between sound and noise: the sound is nothing more than the pitch of a sound made with a certain intensity, and intonation occurs leading frequencies to a periodicity x in an y time.
So, giving rhythm to noise, you’ll generate sound.
That’s why Umlaut’s performance leads listener's attention not so much to the melodic, harmonic or rhythmic side of music: pleasure listening to the sounds results catching sounds in metamorphosis, dialogue of their raw, physical parts.
In this research electronic sounds are dirty, noisy, or sometimes pure and crystalline, but still in tension, poised, as if they crash and turn into something else.
The performance becomes "material", physical, developing modulation of tones, harmonics, parameters of sound synthesis, and of all the variables that sculpt the sounds’ body (combined with rhythm, frequency and intensity).
STRUCTURE OF THE SONG
The construction of single tracks occurs in a minimal approach, i.e. with few structural elements that gradually add and subtract (melodic riffs, rhythm patterns, modulated sounds). Changes are always minimal or gradual, they draw a sort of long "sound wave ".
This is not an ambient or drone approach: it doesn’t evoke imaginary or real landscapes, nor is it to wrap your ears in a dimension of psychedelic repetitive sounds.
The live set proposed by Umlaut sculpts the sound space with drum machines, theremin, analog and digital synth: using these typical tools of electronic setting with an explorative approach like the one described so far, the roles can be "reversed", and could happen that synth’s oscillations become obsessive rhythm that accompanies a whole song, as well as the sounds of a drum machine can instead be used for sporadic interferences, remembering that rhythm, sound and noise components are so primitive to be essentially one thing.
In this sense, the relationship between figure and ground becomes circular and requires a gradual and continuous change of perspective on the listener’s side.
Sounds and riffs techno-underground inspired are recognized as modes of expression similar to the Umlaut’s approach.
This aesthetic rejects traditional arrangement solutions, in favor of manipulation techniques and decomposition sounds instead, recognized as more analytical and more immediate practices to access the physicality of sound.
Juan Atkins says about his way of understanding techno:
“ I want that my music sounds like two computers intercommunicating, it doesn’t have to look like a real band. It should play as if a technician made it.That's what I am: a technician with human feelings."