Marcelo Radulovich/Marcos Fernandes - "The Whisper Chipper"
I first heard "The Whisper Chipper" on July 31 at Galoka's in La Jolla, and
was quite taken by the live performance. However, the recording by
Radulovich and Fernandes proved to be even more interesting due to its
density and dynamic prowess. Using recordings of a wood chipper as source
material, the first movement is introduced by a slowly evolving looped
crescendo of minor seconds, and the piece continues to maintain a cohesive
ambidexterity of rhythm and harmony as well as tension and release. It
comes as a pleasant surprise to see a wood chipper take on a romantic
quality by adding and decreasing the sound of wood chipping over harmonic
drones and electronic sobs. Through all the frail webs created by the duo,
they keep the improvisational element intact.
The second movement is a conclusion to the subtle tension created in the
first. It does contain a few surprises and eventually winds down to the
original motive introduced by the guitar. The final vocal "feed" is a bit
distracting, aswell as commendable, for its sense of timing and dramatic
The other compositions on this recording seem to be based around the same
sonic formula with very few, if any,disappointments. Fernandes' percussion
in "Shipbuilding" is an excellent addition to the electronic mix. The duo
makes tasks like "Shipbuilding" and using "the Internet" seem quite poetic.
Fernandes and Radulovich eventually sculpt a howling percussive clamor into
intricate polyrhythms. They exhaust the exploration of range, dynamics,
rhythm and harmony, and this may cause the listener to contemplate his
or her next breath until the closing of each piece.
"The Whisper Chipper" proves to be a very rewarding experience for those
with enough enthusiasm and patience to plunge into Radulovich and
Fernandes' aural lexicon of impressive musical soundscapes.
- Curtis Glatter, San Diego New Music
Total rating: 12
Marcelo Radulovich and Marcos fernandes crank out what appears to be
improvised music in a style that might be described as ambient industrial,
though this label is not entirely accurate. The music is certainly based in
noise: grinding guitars, machine-derived clamour, white noise and squall
from radios, percussive shocks and a racket and din from miscellaneous
sound sources. The grating, raucous edge has been removed from many of
these sounds through studio processing, lending a softly focused, blurry,
quasi-impressionist haze to the music. Additionally, many of the musical
gestures are looped or grounded in long drones and presented at relatively
low volume levels, making the appellation "ambient" more or less correct.
While the craggy edge has been smoothed over somewhat, the sound sources
remain noise, and much of the intensity stays intact. As a result, the
music is at once evocative and disturbing, dreany and nightmarish. In any
event, the music;s strength prevails.
- Dean Suzuki
Sometimes overlooked, San Diego-based multi-instrumentalists Marcelo
Radulovich and Marcos Fernandes, founding members of the Trummerflora
Collective, have once again produced a wonderful haunting
improvisational-based recording of wood chipper/shredder field recordings
combined with layers of ambient guitar noise loops, radio collages and
tamboura box percussion. The overall result of these processed compositions
with multiple and delayed effects are stunning and beautifully mesmerizing.
This is a must-have item for the avid connoisseur of ambient
- Gary Lopez, New creative music
MFollowing his 'Two Brains' album, reviewed in &etc v2.8, Radulovich has
teamed up with Marco Fernandes (who runs the label) for this album. Sitting
under the spine is a twig, which together with the recycled paper the
inserts are printed on, reflects the instrument used to create the basic
sound on the title track's two parts - a whisper chipper mulching machine.
Over this Radulovich and Fernandes have improvised with guitar, radio,
voice, percussion, eq and tapes.
The first 34 minutes, broken into 2 parts, comprise the title track. In
the first a low throbbing drone regularly bursts into a clattering noise -
I presume this is the chipper being put to work. Its position in the mix
varies, and is more obvious in the middle section, perhaps reflecting a
quieter phase for other instruments. Anyway, over, round and through this a
variety parts are brought into play: plucking strings which are stretched
and relaxed varying the note (it could even be a saw!), a guitar, long
tones, extended keyboard chords, shimmering percussion and tortured synths.
The density varies and elements come and go, but start to build at around 8
minutes with a wild burst of plucking, feedback guitar chimes in a few
minutes later and then a couple of minutes before the end the noise drops
out, leaving the instruments which fade out to a crackling-buzz. The second
track seems less busy - and is longer - but the chipper is there in the
ground. The mood that ended the first part is carried over, not precisely,
but it is very buzzy, with guitarish high tones that phase into echoed
pings, lots of wood being chipped, and developing spacey synths which grow
out of a deep bass sound. A third
of the way in things get quieter, with a gentler development of
drone, strings, (samples? horns for instance) and percussion before
starting to rebuild to dense layers of noise including high sirenlike
tones, feedback and white noise, and which then pulls back again. In the
last five minutes a ticking pulse takes over, followed by piano and
background noises as a radio is tuned and voices sample in. This winds down
the piece with little noises behind it.
A harmonising tonepulse opens 'Shipbuilding' with banging sounds around it,
perhaps some organ and something harsher - synth or radio noise deep below.
It shimmers like a machine throbbing into action, a combination of
electronic and mechanical components, a sort of gentle noise, atonal and
almost random as parts fire up. The radio becomes more apparent, on the
edge of speech, and cymbals crash. The grumbling continues, with percussive
effects and some high whines, fades and then builds before being cut off.
'The internet' has a whispering maelstrom of tones building and swirling
for the first few minutes: these are accompanied by a percussion which
works towards a crescendo, bring the ground noise with it. It bottoms into
a pitterpatter and whine which move into another growth phase - a distant
howl joins, percussive rumbling - ebbing and flowing to another peak of
drums and high tones (one of which is a minifan). During a quiet phase some
samples enter - someone saying 'the internet', a horn phrase, other voices
- and another noisey peak occurs as it pulses in an edgy noise of samples,
high atmospherics, buzzing to a close.
The underlying phrases from the mulcher and the fan are suggestive of the
feel of this album - it verges between random noise and subtly manipulated
sounds, with the weight definitely towards the second, swaying between
periods of quiet beauty and aggression. It is edge music - both to the
listener and the creator - which is intense in its demands, and it repays
through its complex and constantly shifting sounds which seduce you into
its noise heart. An intriguing piece, drawing on and reflecting the San
Diego experimental/improv scene which we will have a look at next issue
through Accretions' rummerflora 2 compilation.
- Jeremy Keens, Ampersand
Multi-instrumentalists Marcelo Radulovich and Marco Fernandes have often
collaborated in musical projects, in and outside the Trummerflora
Collective. The Whisper Chipper a collection of studio improvisations from
late 1999 and early 2000 is their most ambient release yet. The heart of
these four tracks consists of a field recording of a chipper/shredder. It
is subdued to so many treatments that you will barely have the chance to
identify it. The tape is equalized and looped in real-time, and accompanied
by percussion, tamboura box (an analog drone generator), guitar, and
radio.The resulting tapestry slowly reveals itself as a nice style of
atmosphericnoise art. This music is all textures. Things get a little
noisier on the two-part title piece, but never cross the threshold where it
would become aggressive. "Shipbuilding" and "The Internet" stay calmer but
also feel less involved. The use of radio waves adds a humorous touch --
that woman talking about her armpits shatters any pretentiousness
possiblyconveyed by this otherwise serious music. If Radulovich and
Fernandes'ideas deserve to be heard, this CD doesn't stand above the many
similar ones delivered during the same period by a growing number of
avant-garde artists turning to the lowercase esthetics of live electronics
and textural sound art.
- François Couture