Sans Serif - Tones for LaMonte
Artist: Sans Serif
Title: Tones for LaMonte
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds (Ltd CDR)
2008. Sans Serif is an alter ego of Forrest Fang, the talented multi-instrumentalist and composer whose most recent solo album Gongland was released on Projekt in 2000. He has also collaborated with Carl Weingarten on the album Invisibility released on The Foundry, as well as contributing instrumentally to the works of other artists such as Robert Rich.
Unlike the more traditionally structured and "musical" work Fang releases under his own name, the Sans Serif project is focused on minimalism. This project in particular is a tribute to the influential minimalist composer LaMonte Young, whose work was known for the use of long, sustained tones and alternate tunings. Of this project, Forrest Fang says:
"I like to think of this as a fairly organic release that was inspired by the harmonic drones of La Monte Young. In works like Young's Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer, there is an underlying tension between stasis and movement that I find very appealing; it suggests to me a horizontal music that is constantly shifting its position in aural space. I wanted the pieces of this project to reflect both movement and stillness within the same sonic space. I also thought the music should have more of a "live" feel, so I limited the layering of sounds to things that I could do in real time. I thought that a more simplified approach would also better reflect the nature of the project, which was to focus on basic fundamentals of sound, such as harmonics and timbre. The pieces are based on sonic fragments (some are abstract sounds, others fragments of unreleased pieces) that have been altered and processed through different sets of harmonic filters."
Hypnos is pleased to release Tones for LaMonte, a recording that bridges the two, related worlds of avant-garde classical influence, and modern ambient drone.
Track listing, with mp3 sample clips:
1. Alpha mp3
2. Omega mp3
3. Gamma mp3
4. Delta mp3
5. Theta mp3
6. (infinity) mp3
Purchase direct for $9.99
"The Sans Serif release is a corker. Love it."
--Mirko Ruckels aka Deepspace
"I’m constantly blessed with surprise packages that drop through my letter box, particularly from labels whose work I haven’t yet experienced, and whose artists I do not know. Hypnos is one such label, and they had the good grace to send along one or two of their fine releases for my perusal. Sans Serif is the adopted name of one Forrest Fang, a composer whose work here celebrates and emulates the late great La Monte Young. Young’s influence has been expounded my many an ersthwile minimalist composer, and here, Fang indeed does justice to his memory.
With releases and collaborations under his own name, particularly on the recent Gongland album, Fang explores more classical territory. Under the Sans Serif moniker, the work is overtly minimal and long form, combining elements of classicism, with digital composition. On Tones for La Monte, Fang deploys combinations of sustained tones and chords, wispy, evaporations and distillations, charged atmospheres that reduce the formations into pure essence. These are wonderfully executed pieces, not unlike Keith Berry, or Thomas Koner, but with the composer’s own signature, encapsulating the sounds in endless reverb, watercolour splinters, and rich tonal bass. These works are entitled to evoke either Greek numerology, or brain states..Alpha, Omega, Delta..etc..not entirely original, but if relating to brain states, then entirely appropriate, as each piece emerges through translucent planes, revealing as much about the nuances of the instrumentation as about the composers’ intentions. Here, strings are grazed, tones are warm, rich, and resonant, the atmospheres serene and enchanting. Here is a CD that I will almost certainly be re-visiting many times, and I cannot recommend it too highly..fine stuff indeed."
--Reviewed by BGN at http://whiteline1.wordpress.com/
"This is a wonderful cd. Every drone-loving Hypnos listener should give it a shot. The drones here are not too dark or dissonant but aren't candy coated bliss either. They have a very organic feel to them, which is what I love in minimal/drone pieces. The textures evolve & shift in subtle ways, definitely not a "hold down one key on the synth" type of drone. Excellent music that will continue to reveal itself with repeated listens."
Dave Michuda on the Hypnos Forum
"I'm enjoying this one a great deal."
jkn on the Hypnos Forum
"Well, after picking up quite a few releases as of late, this one has been the most instantly rewarding. It's pretty much had a monopoly on my stereo since I took it out the mailbox.
Dave Michuda's description earlier in this thread is pretty spot on, but I'll try to add a little of my own praise on top. I haven't heard a drone release in a long time that is so accessible for my ears and mind. My use of accessible is not to be deemed as a cut down either! The sound he has built is welcoming and fun to listen to. Yet at the same time it is challenging and there are plenty of subtle shifts that gain my attention.
Also, I really enjoy the cohesiveness on display here. All the tracks fit together in the soundscape yet maintain their own aura about them. There are no surprise noise tracks or periods of dissonance to break up the vibe presented.
Good work!!! "
avec on the Hypnos Forum
"...absolutely mesmerizing. Wish I had more music of this level of purity. It is very stripped down in elements but fully engaging in its sense of focus. It's great to be reminded what minimal ambient can do. Powerful, deep emotion deployed in a serene, subtle manner..."
9dragons on the Hypnos Forum