Reviewed by Brian Olewnick, THE SQUID'S EAR, 20/5/2015
Reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz, 20/12/2014
Reviewed by Julian Cowley, The Wire, 10/2014
Reviewed by Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, 16/10/2012
MICHAEL EDWARDS Algorithmic Compositions (Sumtone, stcd4): Michael Edwards refers to Cage, the Kabbalah, Guido D'Arezzo, and Bach as a foundation for his composition technique using his own software 'slippery chicken' . With this software Michael Edwards (the electro-acoustic musician from Edinburgh who is known on Leo Records with Lapslap) realised the five pieces presented here: 'altogether disproportionate', for piano und computer (Per Rundberg - piano, Edwards - screams), displays an unexpected political background as it refers to a quotation by Winston Churchill that clearly demonstrates that Great Britain violently acquired a disproportionate share of the colonial pie. The other end of the spectrum has Beckett's egolessness as the basis of 'who says this, saying it's me?', written for tenor saxophone (Gianpaolo Antongirolami) and a four-channel sound file. 'Tramontana' for viola und computer is--with a poem by Eugenio Montale in mind--a reminiscence of Edwards's time in Italy, after he had lived in Salzburg for five years. A poem by Adrienne Rich inspired the title 'don't flinch' for guitar und computer, with echos of Ry Cooder's bottleneck. Edwards avoids all of the (rumbling) common or garden "antiques shop" cliches, allowing his music instead to develop in the atmosphere of the laboratory. Extended and--especially in altogether disproportionate--ruthlessly futuristic instrumental techniques are combined with complementary hi-tech sounds. First there are abrasive sounds, abrupt jumps, and screams as part of the programme, mounting to machine gun fire, reminiscent of Hilaire Belloc's: "Whatever happens, we have got / The Maxim gun, and they have not." Contrasting with this are cut-off air jabs, snorts, and toneless key fluttering, mixed in with electric clicks and glitches and restless soundwebs. In the context of Beckett it is all quite turbulent and cacophonic actually. Following on from this, Garth Knox's viola--already tested to the limit by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Arditti Quartet--seems quite camouflaged. With beats and sounds made as if blown, shrill whistling concoctions and even more compressed pattering, the viola acts as a cold and aggressive blast that makes you shiver and duck for cover. That Edwards doesn't shrink away from programmatic, even graphic impressions is for me no defect. More apprehensive listeners can take refuge in the acoustic guitar piece 'don't flinch'. Artaud's 'To Have Done With the Judgment of god' plays here an additional, merely background supportive role."
Reviewed by Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, 10/4/2011
Maybe the track that better indicates the depth of Lapslap’s research is the final “Soup Delirium”, played on a balanced mixture of computerized glissando, extreme breakup and pianistic sharpness. A potential pandemonium opening up in a series of superb pictures, dramatic unpredictability and tendency to superior echelons of frequency combination giving a measure of alleviation to sympathetic minds, even in presence of severe complexity. An appreciable limitation of the most lustful processing desires is what separates this stuff from the irrelevance of certain laptop-brandishing micronizers. The non-human components never triumph, and – as it happens in “Shield” – an inoffensive weapon like an ocarina can govern the audio scene despite the noises coming by a Nord synthesizer. This piece is immediately followed by another high: “Gletscher”, a solo episode by Schistek. Its mysterious grace – taking advantage of the expert probing of the instrument’s internal zones – speaks for itself. Still, in terms of sheer beauty, the accumulation of luminescence of “Old Liptauer” (viola da gamba, piano and computer) is perhaps unbeatable.
The lone exception to the general merit is “Flatuway”, based on a distorted flugelhorn whose splinters are triggered by an auto-sampling MIDI wind controller. Frankly atrocious. However, that’s the only weak point of an otherwise fascinating album, planned and executed with fully operating brains and finely tuned ears. In the secret place where improvisation and technical possibility convene, hoping to keep the fruits of that furtive meeting private, Lapslap are hidden behind a bush to bottle some of those bizarre essences."
Reviewed by John Eyles, All About Jazz, 3/2009
Reviewed by Barry Witherden, The Wire 298, 12/2008
There are passages, as on "Nailed" for piano and computer, where Lapslap evoke some of the very best of the early musique concrete productions of the Pierre Schaeffer circle, wile in part of "Honk" for tenor sax, piano and electronics, the spirit of Stockhausen hovers, though some visceral Broetzmann-style outbursts justifying the title) sweep everything else aside and go some way to preparing the ears for the flurry of Industrial noise on the next track, "Hungry", for piano and two computers. Elsewhere, in "Motor Mouth" for example, there is some good old mainstream Fire Music, with shades of Archie Shepp and Cecil Taylor. This sequence of contrasts gives some indication of the group's tactic of constantly unsettling your expectations.
Schistek is a synaesthete, a fact that informs the closing track, "Rhapsody in Light Yellow" for piano and two computers. Most of us sometimes resort to similes of light and colour in an attempt to convey the nature and effect of music, but for synaesthetes the hue of a note or a chord or key is not a metaphorical device but an objective fact. Efforts to empathise with how Schistek literally sees this music bring this impressive session to a fascinating, thought-provoking close."
Reviewed by Chuck Bettis, Downtown Music Gallery, 24/10/2008
Reviewed by Joel Chadabe, www.cdemusic.org
Reviewed by Brian Marley, The Wire, Issue 252, page 61, 2/2005
Perhaps wisely, Achim Bornhoeft sidesteps the issue. His "virtual string" presents what the title suggests: a computer-generated simulation of a string. Sometimes the string sounds as though it must be as thick as a hawser cable and its sound box the size of a warehouse, and this aspect of the composition is interesting though far from novel.
The other five compositions feature a solo bowed stringed instrument with tape and/or live electronics. All of them are conceptually less interesting than the Bornhoeft piece, though most are compositionally just as strong. On Karlheinz Essl's "Da Braccio", Garth Knox (of The Arditti Quartet) contributes a range of viola textures that Essl modifies on the hoof. Knox also contributes to the two very different versions of Gerhard E Winkler's fascinating "Hybrid II ('Networks')" for real-time score and interactive live electronics, in which computer generated algorithms dictate how the composition should proceed.
The two remaining pieces feature Frank Stadler and electronically modified natural sounds. At their least modified, these sounds stick out like a sore thumb, as happens during the early moments of Arteom Denissov's "Himmlischer Kreis". They're put to much more convincing use in Michael Edwards's "Slippery When Wet", whose abruptly changing collage structure more readily accommodates these blurts of disjunctive sound. Edwards is also the producer of "Stryngebite", and he writes in his liner note that utilising taped elements in composition is still an issue in contemporary Western classical music, as is improvisation (by, in this case, Knox and Essl). Who would have thought that innovation and contemporary classical would prove to be less compatible than electronics/tape and acoustic instruments?"
Reviewed by Philip Clark, The Wire, Issue 220, 6/2002
Reviewed by Silvia Thurner, Vorarlberger Nachrichten, 23/7/2007
Das "Österreichische Ensemble für Neue Musik" aus Salzburg gastierte zum ersten Mal bei den Bregenzer Festspielen und überzeugte ... Gespielt wurden ausschließlich Werke aus Großbritannien. Den Höhepunkt bildete die Uraufführung des Werkes "Cheat Sheet", das Michael Edwards im Auftrag des Ensembles und der Bregenzer Festspiele komponiert hat... Umgebungsgeräusche aus den Lautsprechern führten das Publikum in das Werk ein, nach und nach betraten die Musiker die Bühne und das obligatorische Einstimmen wurde originell in das kompositorische Grundkonzept integriert. Mit dem Auftritt des Gitarristen, ausgestattet mit Bermudas im Militarylook und Sonnenbrille, wurde die Intention des Komponisten deutlich, denn Edwards schuf ein vielschichtiges Antikriegsstück. Der musikalische Satz verdichtete sich rasch zu einem zornigen Gedröhne, fratzenhafte Verzerrungen bildeten abwechslungsreiche Kontrastfelder und verstärkten die intensive Klangwirkung... Die Werke der Altmeister der englischen Szene Harrison Birtwistle und Peter Maxwell Davies überzeugten weniger ...
With 'political broadcast' awareness
Guests at the Bregenz Festival for the first time, the Austrian Ensemble for New Music from Salzburg were convincing. Works exclusively from Great Britain were performed. The highlight was the premiere of "Cheat Sheet" by Michael Edwards, a commission from the ensemble and the Bregenz Festival. Environmental sound emanating from the loudspeakers led the public into the work; one after the other the musicians came onstage and the obligatory tuning up was integrated originally into the compositional concept. With the entry of the guitarist, outfitted in military Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, the composer's intention became clear: Edwards created a multilayered anti-war piece. The musical argument condensed rapidly to an angry droning; grotesque distortions established varied fields of contrast and boosted the intense effect of the sound... The works by the old masters of the English scene Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies were less convincing..."
Reviewed by Wibke Bantelmann, Badischen Neuesten Nachrichten, 6/6/2004
Edwards entfachte einen ganzen Gamben-Sturm, mit Collegno-Schlaegen, die aus den Lautsprechern wie das Knattern von Maschinengewehren zurueckkamen, oder das effektvoll gemischte Brausen von echt gespielte Gambe und der "Ueber"-Gambe aus den Lautsprechern. Hier war die Vorstellung eines Komponisten wirklich geworden: reale Utopie, wenn man so will--jedenfalls glaubwuerdiger als alles, was man ueber Utopien mit Worten sagen koennte.
Mr. Edwards stirred up a whole gamba-storm, with col legno strokes coming out of the loudspeakers like the crackle of machine guns, or the effectively mixed roar of live and processed sound. Here the imagination of a composer was really brought to life: real utopia, if you will, at any rate more credible than all that which one can say about utopia with mere words. (transl. Michael Edwards)"
Reviewed by Franco Calabretto, Il Gazzettino, 7/5/2000
[ ...the seismic and catastrophic violence of flung me, foot trod... ]"
Reviewed by Reinhard Kriechbaum, Salzburger Nachrichten, 24/3/1999
'Pas de poule, pas de pot' combines electronics and musical instruments so skillfully that the boundary between the pre-produced and live parts blurs"
Reviewed by Anna Sofie Christiansen, Computer Music Journal, Vol. 20 #3, 10/2/1996
Reviewed by Robert Normandeau, Contact!, Autumn, 1995