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Reviews - GABRIEL PAIUK - Res Extensa 

Explaining why this album is so beautiful is not an easy task. Maybe we should simply quote Paiuk's definition of "perceptive skin" as the "great variety of articulations and nuances nurturing our feeling and understanding of the world". Indeed I lost count of the unbelievably numerous instances when - especially as a kid - I was captured by the sudden realization of the presence of sounds which elicited immediate emotional reactions. A neighbour practicing a sad song on his violin. The rolling prayer of a faraway train at night during my summer holidays (I can still smell the pines). A motor plane passing every afternoon at the same hour, its drone sounding like a lament from purgatory. The distant industrial roar of granite and marble cutting factories in my parents' hometown. Although "Res extensa" starts with (and often employs) earth loop hum, its complexion is mostly made of those noises, "errors" and "heard musics" that always caress our solitudes, letting us marvel at the immense perspectives offered by a sound world which, even in these insensitive slapdash times, never ceases to amaze the ones who still try to postpone their succumbing to the uselessness of most everything.

Massimo Ricci –

Inspired by the low-volume, "marginal" sounds that make up the unconscious bed music of urban living, Paiuk creates a tape collage of musique concrète for the microsound/lowercase generation.

Res Extensa isolates the small sounds of mechanical interference occurring for most people daily, from toaster-hum and PC-error to the faraway rumble of aircraft.  His goal is not so much broad re-contextualization, but, as the title might suggest, a kind of extension past individual association towards the creation of what he calls "a sensitive whole," where sounds are "exposed in their affective characters and our connections to them."  A bit cryptic in his desires, Paiuk is asking for something more than what a standard concrète composer would: not that  the toaster be recognized as a familiar word within an unfamiliar sentence structure (and all of the old associations that this new placing carries over or leaves behind), but that the toaster be semi-recognized as maybe-a-toaster-as-I-know-it but also maybe this or that device or field of audible energy that I interface with enough that it does not feel alarming in juxtaposition.

The layered construction of Res Extensa suggests that sounds be left to flail and mingle in an interzone between immediate, "physical" reaction and direct cognitive interpretation.  For me, the appeal of microsound or lowercase music or related things like The Conet Project has always worked on a similar level: the fusing of fields of small, not-immediately-jarring noise interferences (or the "glitch"-opposite: forced interferance of silence or faulty connection) to a level of dynamism and nuance where listening is less geared towards a 'picking-out' of sounds or the tracking of particular extremes but to the establishment of a kind-of limbo state, a suspension among past-recognizable forces seen now as more forces or fields of energy than anything solid.

The Conet Project dramatizes this idea by isolating literal phantom frequencies, radio energy with indirect aim and obscured potential.  In comparison, Paiuk’s piece is a more comforting and relatively lush soundworld, its spaces small and inviting and its pace a slow unraveling of disturbances that never trump each other.  Paiuk seems to imply that any overt drama in Rec Extensa comes from projected sources, and in this sense,  the piece is some most unlikely ‘body music’ existing, as it tries to, in the realm of the senses with a barrier (however slightly or necessarily permeable) against all that might allow these sounds to fade into meaning.

Andrew Culler -

Argentinean Gabriel Paiuk’s “Res Extensa” is something else entirely. Better known as a pianist, this single work utilizes multitudinous sources, none of them pianistic. Paiuk’s universe, from opening low hum overlaid with subtly grainy and messy environmental sound, engages immediately. There are a pair of faint clicks that repeat for a bit, the hum modulates, static—several levels of static—intrudes. The listener is plunged into a breathing, chaotic, fascinating world, dark, slightly moist, posing far more questions than giving answers. About six minutes in, the piece abruptly stops and basically restarts; the same hum for several seconds. But it’s as though you’re put in the same initial anteroom and a different door is quickly opened, this one to a related area or multiple statics and field recordings, but possessing greater breadth and light. These short breaks occur now and then, the point of view shifting prismatically, not disjointedly. There’s an overall sense of calmness, sometimes of tilting one’s head so as to get a slightly different aural register—a muted TV from that direction, faraway traffic from this. Was that some orchestral strings tuning up? While there’s no overt “musical” content, I get something of the same luxuriant, sensual feeling I do from label-mate Olivia Block’s work (high praise from me). Wonderfully paced, unfailingly captivating, “Res Extensa” is certainly one to hear. Excellent stuff.

Brian Olewnick -