Broken20 instantiate a new series (yes, another one – they're nothing if not ambitious): Correspondence.
Inspired by the mail art movement of the mid-20th century, best known via Ray Johnson and Fluxus, the Correspondence series will principally take the form of printed postcards featuring a download code. Orders will be sent without an envelope so that the physical condition of the item, including any damage, will form part of the work.
Each artist will formulate a release that responds to the prior one, and they will in turn send theirs on to the next participant. Broken20 art director David Coyle will join the collaboration at the mid-point, creating a visual element for each sonic iteration, making this a three (or is that four?) way collaboration between referent, response and reaction.
The series is designed to be limited but inexpensive, therefore the postcards will be sold at a lower price than the digital release, despite each card including a code for the latter.
First in the series is TVO's 'Cordiform', four tracks of hypnotic electronic abstractions that are an attempt to write sequential pieces that use radically different equipment/processes while maintaining a coherent whole. Building on TVO's obsession with maps, the EP (album?) is structured using number values rooted in a long-standing (and as yet unsolved) mathematical problem of map folding. The artist describes 'Cordiform' as “a heart-shaped map projection”.
Opening with the enveloping single-note murk of 'Map 1', TVO builds from warmly harmonic bass tones to scattergun overdriven pulses. Matters then take a gentler turn on the superb 'Map 2', recalling vintage Terry Riley played by Bernard Parmagiani, with precisely measured chimes and half-heard woodwind undergirded by a slowly progressing bassline while ethereal top notes glide across the stereo field.
'Map 3' is more overtly electronic, a weighty squelching synth line heralding a further progression of 'Cordiform's palette. 'Map 4' introduces processed spoken word as its centrepiece, the human element then gradually dissipating through either distance or distortion (it's hard to tell which) while the other elements of the piece come to the fore, their fluttering monotones a call-back to 'Map1'.
Best known as Broken20 label head, TVO has also released on the VIS, Moving Furniture and Highpoint Lowlife labels. For fans of Kara-Lis Coverdale and Coil alike, 'Cordiform' represents a beguiling further chapter in his auditory excursions.
Next in the Correspondence series is '4 Impulses' by Mucha (Misc, Broken20, Blank Editions, Threads Radio).