RINGING STILL LIFE
- Laura Mello — electronics
Ringing Still Life is a 7″ concept-album.
The medium where I discovered what I would later learn to call hörspiel accompannied me throughout my childhood. At that time, I had a huge collection of children´s stories on 7″ vinyl, including pretty well done musical arrangements. Thus, I wanted to honor the format that surely influenced my further musical path, bringing together in one single concept two technologies that refer to different times: ringtones and vinyl records.
The double groove cut enhances the game with a chance operation: either you reach the groove with only ringtones in it, or you hear ringtones and field recordings. The material for the ringtones was generated in many steps within some years, played during a jam session recorded at the ELAK-Studios in Vienna, and other random recordings from the time, processed and re-composed later on.
The field recordings belong to another collection of mine which includes sound landscapes from many places I have been. Ringing Still Life is a sounding bridge between different media, times, places and my first work on vinyl.
Special double groove cut 7” + digital download
(includes 7 free ringtones, composed by Laura Mello)
limited to 300 copies
- All compositions by Laura Mello,
- Recorded 2004—2017 by Laura Mello (Berlin/Blumenau/Curitiba) & Richard Bruzek (Vienna)
- Mixed by Laura Mello
- Mastered by Wolfgang Musil
- Double groove cut at D&M Berlin
- Cover art by Karen Tortato & Wendelin Büchler
- Special thanks to ELAK @ MDW Vienna
“It might not be too far-fetched to suggest Mello is aiming to help us “read” the modern world as a gigantic story-book, pages unfolding live in real time, with their own random musical outbursts.”
— The Sound Projector (UK)
“… a fairly chaotic (and quite lovely) racket…But it’s all pretty whacked.”
— The Wire (UK)
“Stichworte: Abfallsymphonie, Intermediaperformance, Living Radio, Intercultural Chirps, Schprachgelüste… Mello mixt Hör-Spiele und Soundclashes aus Rap & Klassik, aus Robotik und ‘La Paloma’.”
— Bad Alchemy (DE)
Another unusual conceptual release from Corvo Records, the German label devoted to producing full-on art productions with a lot of attention paid to packaging and quality pressings…Ringing Still Life (CORVO RECORDS core 014) is a seven-inch single by Laura Mello, and is themed around something to do with mobile phones, a topic I believe she’s been exploring for some time now – at any rate I found evidence of a piece called ‘On The Phone’ from 2005, described as an “intermedia performance”, of which an excerpt appeared on her Está Verde! album in 2018.
What we hear on today’s record is a strange jumble of sounds, including delicate guitar music, field recordings, and recordings of ringtones from mobile phones. The musical information is pretty scrambled to begin with – she packs a lot of micro-blips into these extremely short tracks – but the experience is further enlivened by the decision to release this as a double-grooved record. This means that you never know what you’ll be getting when you drop the stylus on the platter. It’s good to know this specific bit of vinyl-production technology is still with us, and I’ve sometimes wondered why more people don’t use it for those occasions when a little dose of confusion is called for.1 Mello describes this aspect of her work as a form of hörspiel, that handy German word to which our nearest English equivalent might be “radio play”. She traces it back to her earliest days, when she grew up with a collection of children’s stories pressed as seven-inch singles, artefacts which clearly got a lot of love; she liked the voice narration, and she liked the musical arrangements too.
Ringing Still Life could thus be read as an attempt to bring her own past into the present by “yoking” it with that most modern of sonic phenomena, the ringtone. The connective tissue holding all the parts together is drawn from her collection of field recordings, all of which are personal to her. Two observations we might make on the whole; the Smartphone itself might indeed be considered a modern day form of “story-teller”, depending on which side of the conversation you are privileged to hear as you sit on the bus trying to read a book, and not just with its audible voices but with its personalised ringtones too. It might not be too far-fetched to suggest Mello is aiming to help us “read” the modern world as a gigantic story-book, pages unfolding live in real time, with their own random musical outbursts.
My second observation is to do with the formal aspects of Ringing Still Life: truncated, abrupt, compressed, and almost nonsensical in their transient, fleeting appearance…all of these pretty much match up to the delivery of so-called “data” on modern Smartphones, which serve up small digestible tidbits to the bored reader / listener at tremendous speed. The difference is that Mello’s work is actually aesthetically pleasing, and I have the sense that it contains many interesting compacted truths and ideas under the surface. From 24th October 2018.
1 Like many of my generation, I first heard it on that Monty Python record, where they did it deliberately as a conceptual prank to undermine listener expectations.
— The Sound Projector, Ed Pinsent
Laura Mello is a Brazilian born sound artist currently based in Berlin. For her first vinyl outing she chose a double-tracked 7″, which means there are two grooves on each side, and whichever one the needle happens to end up following will determine what you hear. Two of the grooves feature ringtone-based sounds she has created over the years, the other two mix field recordings and other things in with these tones, making for a fairly chaotic (and quite lovely) racket. Pretty sure I’ve now heard all four tracks (by fiddling around quite a bit) and I think I prefer the flow of the multi-sourced collages to the ringtone bits, which tend toward the episodic. But it’s all pretty whacked.
— The Wire, Byron Coley
Corvo ist ein hingebungsvolles Forum für Konzept-Klang-Kunst in Vinyl und mit kunstvollem Design für Merkwürdigkeiten von etwa Gilles Aubry, Beam Splitter, Ezramo, Elena Kakaliagou, Ingrid Schmoliner, Nicolas Wiese… Dieses Scheibchen, das einen alternativ auf je zwei Spiralen kreisen lässt, ist die Spielerei einer Brasilianerin in Berlin, von der gerade auf Creative Sources mit “Está Verde!” auch eine Werkschau zu hören ist.
Stichworte: Abfallsymphonie, Intermediaperformance, Living Radio, Intercultural Chirps, Schprachgelüste (nach der Parole: Language is music, image and a virus. Image evoques movement, movement opens a space where sound can be heard, in form of words). Mello mixt Hör-Spiele und Soundclashes aus Rap & Klassik, aus Robotik und ‘La Paloma’. Hier erklingen aus Gitarren- + Klavierschnipseln ein kleiner ‘Aaiii Guit+Klavier Gliss Guitarbong’-Groove und – plus Stimmfitzel und Vinylgeprassel – eine ‘Schnitzel-Caixinha-up/down-Glockenleiter’-Rille. Entweder in sich zerrissenen, weil ohne, oder fließend, weil mit Fieldrecordings von Regenrauschen, Vogelstimmen, Froschgequarre, Alltagsgeräuschen. Die Klangbausteine gibt es nochmal extra als Ringtone-Downloads. “Ringing Still Life” ist freilich an und für sich schon ein Witz: There is no escape from ringtones! Nicht beim Essen (Restaurant), nicht beim Lesen (Lesesaal), nicht vor Stillleben (Museum), nicht auf Friedhöfen. Höchstens noch in Kirchen, im Theater, bei Konzerten. Erst wenn das letzte Refugium verkracht ist, klingelt’s dann?
— Bad Alchemy 100, Rigo Dittmann