d.emo was first released in 2001 on Sigma Editions. It was founded in 1998 by Rosy Parlane and Dion Workman. Parlane and Workman began working together in New Zealand in 1993 as the improvising trio Thela with Dean Roberts. After moving to Melbourne, Australia in 1997 the pair decided to launch a label to release their own work and the work of new artists they admired. The name sigma refers to Scottish/Italian writer Alexander Trocchi's plan for a utopian international artistic/political community.
Since 2003, Sigma Editions has worked as a partner label with Antiopic. website) For the full antiopic catalog see www.antiopic.com/catalog/main
This CD is David Haines' second full-length release on Sigma Editions, following his 1999 release Blither. It is comprised of three monumental yet subtle pieces of music, each aptly named after a rock formation or mountain - Kosciosko, Peak Communism and Gibraltar, respectively.
The three pieces together represent a kind of modern ecstatic dervish music in homage to the benign, unyielding immensity of such isolated and isolating ascensions. They embody both fullness of exaltation and poverty - poverty in the sense of a restricted means, a limitation of movement, a minimalist form.
In half-light objects have the appearance that they are amorphous, multiple outlines and contours forever manifesting themselves. In this music there lies a similar quality. On first listening one might wish to identify a singular source of instrumentation for the music. Are its origins in the piano? strings? horns? harmonium? accordion? or an oscillator? One soon comes to understand that such a singular location is beside the point, that there isn't necessarily one dominant timbre, that the work lies within a shadow-land between signal and feedback, and lays open an immense transparency: like a gauzy and radiant fabric of diaphanous folds, fine and translucent, so that behind one tonal layer and its timbre lies veiled another, if not another again; thus creating overall a very tumultuous, protean drone.
Despite the live randomness of these three pieces, cycles and patterns are discernable. Some of the rotations are long and tidal; others short and idiosyncratic like eddying whirlpools on the edges of a river. The rhythms are various but often obscure as one process of sequencing is masked, accentuated or cancelled out by the interference of another oscillation pattern. This system of pattern making and manipulation is intrinsic to the creation of these compositions, however its complexity is hidden by the fact that the note relations are close and dissonant and the layering dense.
In Blither what remained disparate elements of "classical" piano configurations coupled with an overlay of electronic effect has in Emo become an intrinsic, organic whole, one that has done away with the constructs of a stasis through repetition, replacing it with a stability of constant change. For this reason the music aligns itself by analogy with the potent activity of the natural world, perhaps like the imagined sounds of a convalescing forest, a crystal forming, or a mountain amidst arresting winds.
A change has taken place in Haines' composition as a result of such integration. What the nature of this change is exactly remains a matter of subjective perception. What happens with oneself when one integrates previously unconscious contents with the consciousness is something, which can scarcely be described by words. It can only be experienced.
- Torben Tilly, 2000