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SCANNER " The Great Crater "

Reviews

Altro gioiello che va ad aggiungersi agli altri custoditi nel visionario scrigno di ghiaccio antartico della Glacial Movements, da dieci anni al servizio dell'ascolto altro. Robin Rimbaud in arte Scanner, uno dei nomi chiave del nuovo pensiero sonoro europeo, soundartist continuamente alle prese con impegni lavorativi che lo vedono alternarsi nel mondo della moda così come nell'universo della musica contemporanea, immerso nella composizione di soundtracks e instancabile lavoratore della multimedialità. Un artista multitasking, rappresentante del mondo a venire, che pubblica un vero e proprio diario di viaggio nei ghiacci, chissà per quanto ancora tali. A ben pensare il contenuto dei dischi qui recensiti altro non è che la descrizione sonora di una storia, un racconto. Anche quest'ultimo non si discosta e narra la storia di strani cerchi del diametro di due chilometri, scoperti sulla superficie antartica nel 2014. Due anni più tardi si venne a conoscenza della vera ragione di quei segni nel ghiaccio, erano laghi formatisi in una depressione, fragili lacrime nascoste all'uomo per orgoglio da parte di una natura offesa e a fine vita. Scanner penetra dentro quelle formazioni circolari, si immerge sotto la superficie, vaga nell'assenza di peso e nel silenzio dell'immenso spazio liquido racchiuso nel ghiaccio. Innalza un peana in suo favore, una silenziosa astratta sinfonia che profuma di abbacinante candore e mesta rassegnazione. Il battito della Terra, forse il suo ultimo manifestarsi.SHERWOOD
El gran cráter helado de Scanner El sello italiano Glacial Movements prepara el lanzamiento del nuevo álbum de Scanner, un disco titulado The Great Crater y que verá la luz el próximo 29 de septiembre. El veterano músico británico Robin Rimbaud es quién está detrás del proyecto Scanner. Su trabajo siempre ha estado ligado a los sonidos experimentales explorando las conexiones entre el sonido, el espacio y la imagen. Su carrera comenzó en 1991 y desde entonces ha grabado un sinfín de producciones tanto en solitario como en colaboraciones notables con otros artistas como Bryan Ferry, Michael Nyman, Carsten Nicolai, Laurie Anderson o Miroslaw Balka, entre otros. Además es habitual verle en los créditos de diferentes campañas publicitarias así como en otros proyectos más alejados de la electrónica y cercanos a la música clásica. En The Great Crater intenta contar la historia que hay detrás de los extraños círculos que están apareciendo en la Antártida. En 2014, un grupo de científicos volando sobre el continente helado descubrió una formación circular de dos kilómetros de diámetro. Durante un tiempo se pensó que podía ser la huella de un meteoríto pero finalmente se descubrió que era otro el motivo. En enero del pasado 2016 los científicos descubrieron un agujero de 3 metros de profundidad con pozos verticales en el centro. Tras cavar en el hielo descubrieron múltiples lagos bajo la superficie en el que se está fundiendo el hielo, y se piensa que esto puede conducir a una mayor desintegración. El álbum intenta reflejar en sonidos estos movimientos frágiles que están detrás de estos extraños círculos.CLUBBING SPAIN
Outstanding. But before we go employing lazy associations and cliques with regards to music that sources ambience as inspiration let’s just say that this album isn’t simply about mood creation but pushes further at the edges of existence. That might be heart-wrenching intensity or richly dark moments. Equally the rush of romance or happy possibilities which seem endless. There mercifully is not a rule book to follow here and it’s that very excitement that engulfs you in swathes of warm, difficult, probing, melancholy, electronically charged excitement. Another great release from Glacial Movements and of course via Robin Rimbaud. One last thought: if you imagined that the genre was washed out. Listen again. Perhaps the cover art says it all.MAGAZINE SIXTY
Active since the early 90s, Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner) has made a name in the world of minimal electronic music, intelligent dance music and reticular sound design. The albums published on Sub Rosa stand as important releases in abstract sound art. This artist and sound architect has been extremely prolific during his career. Titled The Great Crater, his new album is signed on the Italy-based label Glacial Movements. Founded by Alessandro Tedeschi, this label has published notorious acts such as Rapoon, Loscil or Francisco Lopez. Loyal to its aesthetic and visual component, the artwork of this new release is intentionally focused on vast, open, pure, empty spaces, and minimal landscaping lines. It beautifully illustrates the suspenseful sound sculptures offered in this album. Mostly articulated around textures, The Great Crater also contains timbral experimentations, subtly droning flux and micro modulations. It certainly represents the most accessible and most meditative facet of Rimbaud’s musical production. A slow moving, sonic and fine organic ambient release for your inner voyage!IGLOO MAG
To succinctly summarize the life and work of avant garde electronic musician/composer Robin Rimbaud (a.k.a. Scanner) is no easy feat. In the early days of his career he utilized technology to transform voyeurism by using radio scanners to record people’s conversations. Born with a voracious appetite for music, Rimbaud moved on to helm multi-media projects since post-9/11 life made it difficult to travel with his gadgetry. Since then he’s collaborated with classical musicians, music icons like Bryan Ferry and Laurie Anderson, and fashion luminaries such as Steve McQueen and Stella McCartney. He’s also curated events at London’s ICA and has worked with dance companies.On September 29 Glacial Movements will present Scanner’s new full-length, The Great Crater. The album explores the tale of strange circles that were discovered in 2014 by a group of scientists flying over Antarctica.We’re pleased to world premiere the video for opening track “Cast to the Bottom” directed by Uršula Berlot and Sunčana Kuljiš Gaillot. It’s a visually arresting animation that coalesces with the track’s evocative ambient soundscape.BIG SHOT MAG
Al bijna 25 jaar weet Robin Rimbaud ofwel Scanner innovatieve elektronische muziek naar buiten te brengen, waarbij hij zo veelzijdig is dat je hem niet eenvoudig kunt duiden. Hij start zijn muziekcarrière door zelf met politiescanners en mobiele telefoons afgeluisterde en opgenomen scans te verwerken tot experimentele werken. Daarna gaat hij zich ook meer en meer richten op ambient, abstracte en experimentele muziek. Wat zijn output is wordt ook nog wel eens bepaald door de artiesten waarmee hij samenwerkt, waar David Shea, Main, Kim Cascone, Michael Nyman, Banabila, Main, David Toop, DJ Spooky, Kim Cascone, Stephen Vitiello, David Rothenberg en Jochen Arbeit daar slechts een deel van is. Tevens duikt hij naast Colin Newman (Wire) en Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact) op in de rockband Githead. Kortom, het is altijd verrassend. Nu brengt hij op het ijzige ambientlabel Glacial Movements zijn cd The Greater Crater uit, waarop hij zijn inspiratie haalt uit de ontdekte krater op Antarctica, die is ontstaan door meren onder het ijs en het gevolg zijn van smeltende poolkap. Niet zo verwonderlijk dus dat zijn 10 tracks nogal ijzig en isolationistisch zijn. Met indringende duistere ambient en drones, gelardeerd met geluiden van allerhande akoestische, klassieke instrumenten, glitch, experimenten en subtiele details en veldopnames maakt hij diepe indruk. Zeker als je dit met de koptelefoon beluistert gaat er een wereld voor je open. De ijsschotsen, het krakende ijs en de poolwind zijn haast tastbaar. Het is zo verfijnd, intens en wonderschoon, maar blij vlagen ook beangstigend. Ontzettend mooi en ook nog eens gestoken in een zeer fraaie hoes, ontworpen door Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek). Wat een kunstwerk!subjectivisten
Vive di vita propria il nuovo disco di Robin Rimbaud, che si intitola The Great Crater ed è appena uscito su Glacial Movements. Il che è un vantaggio, considerando il carattere difficile, rizomatico, di una discografia fittissima e in continuo aggiornamento, tra l’altro piena di collaborazioni eccellenti. Un vantaggio, sì, quantomeno per coloro che non hanno ancora avuto modo di approcciare l’opera di quest’artista multimediale inglese, attivo come Scanner da più di venticinque anni, perché è oggettivamente impossibile definire quale sia il campo d’azione in cui Rimbaud si muove. Scanner non fa solo dischi, o meglio: non fa semplicemente dischi. La maggior parte di questi, specie a partire dai primi anni del Duemila, altro non documenta che lavori fatti su commissione. Dopo decine o forse centinaia di sonorizzazioni per mostre, installazioni artistiche, cinema o televisione, e incursioni nell’ambito della danza, del teatro e dell’architettura, oggi Scanner può vantare un profilo ben istituzionalizzato. E se nella vostra camera da letto avete una sveglia Philips modello Wake-up Light, allora ci sono buone probabilità che sia lui a darvi il buongiorno, dato che di quella è il sound designer. In un’altra occasione, poi, ha avuto modo di sonorizzare l’obitorio di un ospedale di Parigi, così da attutire – per quanto possibile – il momento tragico in cui le persone identificano la salma di un proprio caro. Il quadro si complica se, come d’obbligo, ricordiamo che l’intera vicenda artistica di Rimbaud si situa all’indomani delle prime registrazioni effettuate con un ricevitore scanner (da qui il nome d’arte), che gli permetteva di intercettare e catturare trasmissioni radio e telefoniche. Lui, per dirla un po’ alla Burroughs, è un agente del suono, come una spia che si muove in segreto tra le altrui conversazioni: agonie private, intime confessoni, addii vigliaccamente consegnati via telefono, gente appesa a una cornetta. Ma anche momenti più distesi e di rilassata quotidianità, oltre che pubbliche disquisizioni. Stralci quasi sempre decifrabili che Scanner, dopo una prima fase di voyeuristica archiviazione, dispone tra i suoni trovati, i sample disturbanti e i meno frequenti elementi ritmici alla base dei suoi brani (i primi due album omonimi o il foucaultiano Mass Observation, ad esempio), dosandone con cura la quantità. Dosando, appunto, visto che almeno per buona parte degli anni Novanta Rimbaud è anche avvicinabile all’ambigua definizione di Intelligent Dance Music, pur tuttavia restando in bilico tra i primi Autechre (ma al netto degli algoritmi) e una zona grigia presidiata da etichette come Sub Rosa, Mille Plateaux, Mego, Ash International. Mentre il suo disco forse più noto, Delivery, esce nel 1997 per Earache, affianco agli Entombed e ai Napalm Death. Col passare degli anni alla figura di Scanner sono stati affibiati appellativi cuoriosi e ficcanti, come quello di “terrorista telefonico”. E nel lontano 2000 la rivista inglese The Wire gli ha dedicato una copertina prendendo in prestito quello che è il nocciolo della riflessione mediologica del sociologo canadese Marshall McLuhan, “The medium is the message”. Altri hanno invece individuato un rimando al labile confine che separa la dimensione pubblica da quella privata; un tema che Scanner calava già allora nel contesto oggi dominante, quello di Internet e delle nuove ICT, sfociando poi in un’indagine sui “rumori nascosti della moderna metropoli”. The Great Crater The Great Crater, dicevamo, è un disco diverso. Del resto esce su Glacial Movements, un’etichetta su cui approdi se effettivamente dimostri determinate caratteristiche e propensioni. A spiegarcelo fu lo stesso Alessandro Tedeschi, curatore della label, in un’intervista che risale al gennaio 2013: la mission è quella di proporre “lavori (un po’ è come se li commissionasse) che si avvicinino alla sua idea, quella di un preciso paesaggio fisico, sonoro e mentale” che corrisponde ai due poli del nostro pianeta. E mai in modo vago o astratto: The Great Crater trae infatti spunto dalla scoperta – avvenuta nel 2014 per mano di un gruppo di scienziati in volo sulle distese antartiche – di una strana formazione circolare del diametro di 2 km. Il disco è qui che ci conduce, in questa depressione profonda tre metri e nei laghi che furono rinvenuti al di sotto della sua superfice. Dieci brani per un’unica, lunga immersione tra fondali dub e anfratti di silenzio, squarci di luce e scurissimi strapiombi: profondità maestose per nessuna presenza e nessuna natura, come nel recente Rubisco di Donato Epiro, che citiamo volutamente (provate ad ascoltarli assieme…). Sul secondo brano, imperiosa e abnorme, svetta l’ombra delle recenti vicende di casa Subtext (FIS, Paul Jebanasam, Roly Porter), mentre gli archi lamentevoli, stirati, di “Lakes Under Lakes” e della conclusiva “Moving Forwards” ricordano Landings, il capolavoro di Richard Skelton. L’influenza di Thomas Köner e di altri isolazionisti simili è inevitabile se parliamo di Artide o Antartide, ma qui è presente soltanto sullo sfondo: Scanner ha una sua storia, lo si intuisce da come stuzzica la nostra immaginazione e ci avvicina al tema con impressionante fedeltà; e soprattutto da come solletica il piacere dell’ascolto grazie a brevi cellule melodiche che sono perle luccicanti in mezzo al nulla. Solitarie e stazionarie, brillano nelle gelide acque sub-glaciali.THE NEW NOISE
Podróż na Antarktydę. Robin Rimbaud, znany szerzej jako Scanner, zajmował się w życiu wieloma rzeczami. Pisał muzykę do filmów, do gier komputerowych, zajmował się muzyką awangardową, brał udział w spektaklach multimedialnych, a także parał się projektowaniem mody czy architekturą. Tak wiele pól, na których się realizuje sprawia, że jego wydawnictwa płytowe należą do rzadkości. Tym ciekawiej, gdy się pojawiają. Nie inaczej jest z najnowszym wydawnictwem „The Great Crater”. Sam zainteresowany ma na koncie równie pokaźną listę osób, z którymi współpracował. Pozwolę sobie wymienić Bryana Ferry, Steve`a McQueena, Stellę McCartney, Laurie Anderson, a także Mirosława Bałkę. Widać wyraźnie, że Rimbaud traktuje swoją działalność w iście renesansowy sposób.Zasłużony label Glacial Movements skłonił Rimbauda do nagrania nowego materiału. Natchnieniem do powstania było dziwne odkrycie dokonane w 2014 roku na Antarktydzie. Otóż z lotu nad terenem namierzono dziwny, okrągły kształt. Po bliższym zbadaniu okazało się, że mamy do czynienia z dziurami w terenie. Nic dziwnego by w tym nie było, gdyby nie to, iż są to dziury powstałe w efekcie topnienia lodu. Do tej pory uważano, że tam temperatura nie spada. Okazało się, że pod warstwą zmarzliny kryją się „gorące jeziora”, która rozpuszczają ją od spodu. Tu można zobaczyć więcej szczegółów. Dalsze rozpuszczanie się warstwy lodowej może przynieść tragiczne skutki. Z tego miejsca wychodzi album „The Great Crater”.Taki właśnie – lodowy – klimat panuje na albumie. Muzyka ma dość łagodną strukturę, która często zostaje niegrzecznie potraktowana. Scanner umiejętnie ucieka z pułapki muzyki ilustracyjnej na rzecz nieoczywistości. To muzyka ma nas prowadzić po tym bezkresie, a nie stanowić jedynie tło. Elektroniczne emocje pozwalają się zanurzyć w te dźwięki. Szczególnie dobrze wypada to w pierwszej połowie płyty. „Exposure, Collapse” przynosi jeden z najbardziej wciągających momentów. Eksplorujemy teren, wchodzimy w tajemnicze miejsca. Świetnie to wszystko zostało skomponowane i rozplanowane. Efekty pojawiają się spokojnie, przy jednoczesnej zmianie charakteru utworu. Dodam, że koniec zaskakuje. Naturalną kulminacją płyty wydaje się być najdłuższy „The Scar”. Poskręcana elektronika i udziwnione dźwięki stanowią tu główny składnik. Pulsujący od potężnej dawki dronów, które zmagają się ze skrzypcami. Fascynujące zderzenie, klaustrofobiczna atmosfera i czający się podskórnie mrok.Nutę awangardy z domieszką minimalizmu słychać w „Forming Circuits”. Urokliwe plamy syntezatorowe są ozdobą „Katabatic Wind”. Intensywność złączoną z melancholią poczuć można już od pierwszego „Cast to the bottom”. Wydelikacenie końcowej części płyty nie przyniosło dobrych rezultatów. Owszem mamy tu miks ambientu z muzyką klasyczną, ale w formie dość przewidywalnej. „Underwater Lake” przypomina trochę Björk z okresu „Biophilii”, ale bez nowatorstwa. Gorzkie słowa, których używam, podyktowane są odczuciami po pierwszych, sześciu utworach, które robią duże wrażenie. Szkoda, że nie udało się utrzymać intensywności przeżyć przez cały album. Nie czyni to z „The Great Crater” płyty złej. Jest ona po prostu niewykończona tak, jak na to zasługuje.Glacial Movements | 2017NOWAMUZYKA.PL
È ormai superfluo ribadire come il ricco catalogo dell’etichetta romana Glacial Movements smentisca, uscita dopo uscita, i luoghi comuni dell’isolazionismo ambientale connesso a un immaginario ghiacciato. Ulteriore artefice dell’approccio dinamico alla materia è un autentico nume tutelare dell’ambient-techno sperimentale da oltre tre decenni a questa parte, ovvero Robin Rimbaud, alias Scanner. Traendo ispirazione dei misteriosi crateri rilevati da alcuni scienziati sul suolo dell’Antartide, Rimbaud ne ha ricreato in forma sonora i diversi elementi costitutivi, dalla superficie cristallizzata alle sorprendenti correnti, che in forma sia solida che liquida, vi scorrono al di sotto.Ne sono scaturite dieci dense istantanee che spaziano da frequenze crepitanti a prolungate risonanze statiche, che ben rispecchiano lo spessore delle coltri ghiacciate e le tenebre da esse ricoperte. La sorpresa, correlativa a quella della scoperta dei flussi di elementi e dei livelli di laghi sottostanti ai crateri, giunge dalla trasformazione delle pulsazioni di Scanner in morbide sequenze di arpeggi (in particolare in “Strange Circles”) o addirittura in spire ambientali incantate (“Lakes Under Lakes”), che riconducono la materia – fisica e sonora – al senso della sfida propria di un’infinita tensione all’esplorazione.MUSIC WONT SAVE YOU
ROCKERILLA 2017
A new studio album for Scanner – aka Robin Rimbaud – is a rare event indeed, so it’s great to welcome him back in the arms of the excellent Glacial Movements label. ‘The Great Crater’ is based on the unexpected appearance of strange circles in Antarctica, due to melting ice. It would seem Rimbaud is responding emotionally to the disappearance of the ice, for a good deal of his music is shot through with dark sentiments and even anger, for when the strings and big percussion kick in to ‘The Scar’ we could be on the set of a horror film. By contrast the wide open spaces in which Rimbaud operates are comforting, especially when he uses slowly moving loops that travel forward with stately but inevitable strength. ‘Moving Forwards’, the closing track, is light and graceful and appears to be part of a resolve to calm the fears created earlier on. If you like modern classical music and want electronic dressing, Scanner’s music is wholly fit for purpose, and makes compelling and surprisingly emotional listening throughout. Ben Hogwood 4 out of 5DMC WORLD MAG
Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner—sometimes he is William Orbit, and sometimes he is Brian Eno. Other times still, he can be Bruce Gilbert, making mysterious noises that occasionally take on musical properties. When he straps on a guitar, it can be another genre altogether. For The Great Crater, Rimbaud has taken the most minimal route to create some of the most compelling electronic music of his bountiful career. The results are as stunning as they are frightening. When you consider the source of the music’s inspiration, its eerie quality is easily magnified. Three years ago, scientists flying over Antarctica spotted a large, circular anomaly that they took to be a meteorite crash site. When they started digging within the area, they found an underground “hot spot” full of lakes and melting ice. As you might have already guessed, this isn’t cheerful news. Polar ice caps are supposed to stay cold. When large-scale melting such as this is underway, you’re not going to feel like humming “I’m a Believer” through your kazoo. Any sense of optimism you’ll manage to summon for yourself will inevitably come with a side of despair or vice versa. Rimbaud understands this and has sculpted his latest slab of music accordingly under the supervision of—wait for it—Glacial Movements Records. Who says we can’t experience a little aural beauty while we’re all drowning? “The album explores an immersive, fragile and moving exploration of themes inspired by this simple tale,” goes The Great Crater‘s press release. What does that mean, exactly? It means you would be doing yourself a great disservice by not listening to this album through headphones, or secondly, through a beefy sound system. Laptop or monitor speakers do not cut it for this release. The sounds are too detailed and immersive for such weak means of projection. If you want to step down into this crater, you’ll need to hear all the frequencies that come with it. It’s alright if you choose to listen to The Great Crater in background fashion. It’ll remain a good album as such. But if you put a little more effort into the listening, it’ll become a great album.“Cast to the Bottom” starts off The Great Crater with an echoey whisper, and the album’s overall dynamics rarely rise above these hushed tones. The one exception is “The Scar”, the album’s longest song at nearly a ten-minute length. This is where the music starts to lean over to the sinister side of electronic ambient music. Somewhere around the halfway point, Rimbaud introduces a sawing synth effect not unlike the Jaws theme. With approximately 90 seconds to go, large sheets of choral noise continually get in your way, adding to the imposing, cavernous sound. The surrounding tracks do everything from ambient sequencing (“Forming Circuits”) to shapeless soundscaping (“Deep Water Channel”). There is a moment of sunshine before the plunge on “Exposure, Collapse”, recalling Music for Airports, though “Katabatic Wind” throws a bleak blanket over the mood eventually. If you’re wondering what scientists are going to do about this Arctic hot spot, know that you’re not alone in your uncertainty. The Great Crater concludes with “Moving Forwards”, a conclusion one wouldn’t exactly call negative but also seems unable to offer up a clear path to an improved future. Scanner/Robin Rimbaud is more than 25 years into his career and is still discovering ways to maximize the effects of minimal electronic music. If humanity and the weather can get their act back together in tandem, this ambient music milestone could become less grim with each subsequent revisit.POP MATTERS
It is difficult to fathom that Robin Rimbaud’s Scanner project is nearing its 25th year, given the self-titled debut appeared in 1993. In that span of time he has become involved in a diverse array of artistic endeavors, from soundtracks to performance art, even to oblique pop music as a member of Githead, all of which stray far from his initial digital snooping and nod to the surveillance culture, which has only grown since. Conceptually, The Great Crater is a different beast entirely: a sonic examination of an odd phenomena occurring in Antarctica, and perfectly captures the wonder and potential dread of the event.The titular crater is one that was first observed in 2014 and was assumed to be the result of a meteor impact. Closer inspections in subsequent years revealed it to be not a crater, but an expanding hole in the ice sheet, caused by pockets of water (from ice that had melted) underneath. The concern is that these pockets will expand, causing the ice sheet itself to disintegrate, with the potential of catastrophic side effects for the rest of the world. Given the nature of this incident, its physical appearance, the possible cause by humanity’s impact on the ecosystem, and its potential for wider reaching damages, it makes a unique theme for a widely varying electronic composition. Rimbaud does an amazing job creating sounds that approximate these physical events. Rather than just utilizing field recordings of similar phenomena, it seems as if he was able to capture these sounds and images just with processing and modular synthesis. Opening "Cast to the Bottom" demonstrates this from its opening moments: massive rumbles like far off ice cracking is peppered with wet synth pulsations, creating a slushy introduction that he then casts layers of frigid, shimmering electronic space. "Underwater Lake" sees him conjuring some quiet, light passages of synthesizer, with occasional rumbles low in the mix. The tasteful amount of processing done gives the whole piece a distinctly aquatic sound, somewhat submerged but clear enough to be fully appreciated. Later on, "Katabatic Wind" drifts in slowly via shimmery passages of peaceful sound. Even though there is an airy quality to the mix, Rimbaud blends in some echoing, sonar like notes that cluster together in the form of rudimentary, yet beautiful melodies. "Lakes Under Lakes" is another slow moving piece, largely centered around a blend of string-like tones that are tinged with just the right amount of dissonance. A composition such as “Forming Circuits” stands out as captures him playing around with a more distinct sense rhythm. Built upon an insistent pulse that could almost be extrapolated from a 1990s house record, he adds some static crunch to take things in a different direction. The lengthy "The Scar" is one of the moments on The Great Crater in which Rimbaud takes a more clearly composed approach to the sound. Big, droning low end is blended with eerie passages. With the addition of some big, far off crashes and a slowly expanding dynamic, he builds the piece to a dramatic, almost orchestral like conclusion that works perfectly. "Strange Circles" has a sequenced-like melody from the opening moments that he builds upon throughout. The added electronic bits that come in and out do lend an almost 1970s science documentary feel to the proceedings, but Rimbaud is careful to rein things in before they get too far into new age territory. There is undoubtedly a bleakness that runs throughout The Great Crater, no doubt to capture the potential danger of this event, but also our hand in creating it. The sound itself, however, is far more gorgeous than simple darkness though. Rimbaud’s ability to capture such non-musical events and themes via electronics is impeccable, and it is through that beauty that he injects a bit of hope into what otherwise seems like a grim situation. Regardless of the ecological impact or implications, however, The Great Crater is unquestionably a compelling and fascinating record that further cements Rimbaud’s legacy as a multi-talented and peerless, diverse composer.BRAINWASHED
ELECTRONIC SOUND (11/2017)
Robin Rimbaud (a.k.a. Scanner), however, is dealing in subtle images of environmental catastrophe, and accordingly his take on the ambient genre is much grumpier. His latest project is inspired by troubling developments in the Arctic ice fields, and its mood varies from aridly frigid to spaciously pessimistic. That may not sound like a recommendation, but in fact the music on The Great Crater is not only fascinating but also quite beautiful. It’s just not going to help you sleep better. Both albums are recommended to libraries with electronic music collections.CD HOTLIST
The work of Scanner has always been an uncommon counter-argument to conventional studio Electronic Music. Robin Rimbaud, and the formidable power of his ideas, continues to take us to new places - using things that exist freely all around us. His album The Great Crater (48'36") goes deep and dark, unsettling the world into which it intercedes. Even brief exposure to this music may make the listener feel vulnerable, so much so that merely giving ear to it becomes a symbolic act. A departure from earlier outright aggressive experimentation, this work is based throughout on various permutations of its title. Across ten tracks suggestive of the unprotected region of the South Pole, The Great Crater whirls and undulates in the way snow drifts, and contracts as do the icecaps now melt. Its consuming dark moods, and a quiet sense of mystery, rise out of a tension within the fabric of the music. In a mysterious unfolding of spatial complexity grinding ice seems to flow. A textural interplay between synthesized tones and stringed chamber instruments provide delicately haunted passages - a remarkable somewhere in which a powerful quiet has washed over us. We find any rhythmic energy on The Great Crater to reside in the periphery. Lilting music box patterns gently surface out of a rumbling frost, as forlorn harmonies issue from overcast fields. In frigid, fragile understated constructs, bitter tones creak and scrape - as an environmental message is sent through. The one missing piece in most EM is ideology, so beyond its excellent concept and production The Great Crater offers a psychological depth not present in other Electronic work. Listening to Scanner, we find that he is not like other musicians. As he reaffirms the resiliency of the artistic imagination, we feel the growing impermanence of the permafrost, and that The Earth's silence may be its one remark..STAR'S END
Robin Rimbaud better known under the Scanner moniker is a long-time praised artist active at the wider paths of experimental music. He’s one of those visionary artists operating like a real sonic architect, which has pushed the boundaries of electronic music towards a new dimension. He joined hands with the Italian label Glacial Movements to unleash this new opus, which is inspired by the tale about strange circles appearing in Antarctica. Content: Scanner remains a creative project, which each time again seems like exploring new paths. The work is sophisticated, sometimes extreme, but then refined with subtle bleeps and field recordings. Rimbaud transforms noises into new tones, creating an abyssal sound universe, which is now quiet and prosper and next creating mystery and paranoia. “The Great Crater” is bringing different- and sometimes opposite elements together. Next to the familiar experimental sound manipulations he achieved his work with other elements such as epic- and cinematographic arrangements and even the sound of classical instruments. + + + : Scanner remains one of the most prolific, and creative spirits of the experimental scene. His work brings electronics towards a higher dimension where multiple influences and an impressive noise canvas have been merged together. This is an album with a visual strength, which you can relax on, but still getting frightened. Experimental music becomes a great artistic creation, which is the mark of all music geniuses. I like this album’s diversity for its global sound production, but once again for belonging to no single established music genre. – – – : Robin Rimbaud is such a prolific artist it becomes more and more difficult to get surprised by his work. It’s not that it becomes predictable, but I can’t say that Scanner is renewing his sound. Conclusion: “The Great Crater” reassembles different facets of ambient music; the visual approach evokes mystery, prosperity, reverie, delicacy, but still a very abstract composition. Best songs: “Exposure, Collapse”, “The Scar”, “Strange Circles”, “Lakes Under Lakes”. Rate: (8).SIDE LINE
Scanner interview @ ELECTRONIC SOUND (12/2017)
The ever-prolific artist Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) has found a perfect home for his ‘soundtrack to a global warming’: it is released on the Glacial Movements label. The label invited him to create an album inspired by the strange circles appearing in Antarctica, discovered in 2014. ‘Investigating the circle on foot in January 2016 scientists found a 3 metre deep depression, with vertical well-like shafts in the middle. Drilling into the ice they found multiple lakes beneath the surface, as part of a ‘hot spot’ or melting ice sheet. There is growing concern that it could lead to further disintegration.’ This was the inspiration for this album: ‘at moments the ice moves and a sonic scar if formed, at others the chill wind blows across the exposed water.’ Robin ‘Scanner‘ Rimbaud has come a long way since his first recordings of cellular phone conversations captured by a police scanner in 1993. His career is the kind most composers of electronic/experimental music can only dream of: commissions by many famous clients (Nike, Philips, Chanel, Stedelijk Museum), collaborations with many famous artists like Bryan Ferry, Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, Michael Nyman, Carsten Nicolai and many many more, and works on permanent display in various renowned museums. It’s good to see him going back (?) to the core of the scene, producing an album for a label so dedicated to the genre.The Great Crater opens with a mainly electronic setting, but introduces more string ensemble arrangements towards its end. The album is as unsettling as it should be, given the theme it deals with. It’s no large-scale, over-the-top production: the sounds are rather stripped down to the roots of Scanner‘s music. It’s even more effective that way, warning us for an immediate future that seems inevitable if we do not intervene somehow.AMBIENT BLOG
Exploring glacial landscapes in sound… Crafting sound into an almost physical presence is quite a feat. But with The Great Crater, Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner has managed to compose a piece of work that swerves from awe-inspiring aural soundscapes through to oddly unsettling reveries. The Great Crater is a work that had been commissioned by independent label Glacial Movements, inspired by the strange stories of odd circles appearing in Antarctica. Initially thought to be an impact crater from a meteorite, ground surveys revealed a 2km diameter depression with vertical shafts in the middle. Drilling into the ice, scientists discovered lakes beneath the surface showing evidence of a ‘hot spot’ or melting ice. Researchers suspect that although the formation was triggered by natural processes, the effects of global warming were making things worse. As a result, The Great Crater combines a series of immersive soundscapes that at times bring to mind chilly icy landscapes. At other times, there are booming bass-heavy numbers that call to mind the imposing soundtrack that Jóhann Jóhannsson produced for the film Arrival. Even the track titles seem to tell their own stories, with ‘Katabatic Wind’, ‘Exposure, Collapse’ and ‘Underwater Lake’ conjuring their own narratives outside of the music. Over the years, Robin Rimbaud has charted an intriguing exploration into the world of experimental electronic music. Albums such as Mass Observation and The Garden Is Full Of Metal drew critical acclaim, while Rimbaud has also collaborated with a broad spectrum of artists. This includes projects with Bryan Ferry, Laurie Anderson and Michael Nyman. He also presented an audiovisual show titled Live_Transmission: Joy Division Reworked, a collaboration with Heritage Orchestra. Scanner presented one of the standout moments at the 22rpm event earlier this year. It provided an opportunity for Rimbaud to showcase The Great Crater, where the work was augmented with striking visual projections of bleak landscapes and floating clouds. Listening to The Great Crater is like being exposed to the sounds of an alien world. The tonal shifts and brooding unease broken up with more fragile, airy compositions. The end result is less listening to a body of work and more being immersed into a physical experience.ELECTRICITY CLUB
We had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Robin Rimbaud. This London born artist has released a countless number of productions under different monikers. However, he gained world-wide recognition since the 90s as Scanner. Quite recently he released the full length “The Great Crater” on the Italian label Glacial Movements Records, which give me the idea of this interview with one of the most visionary- and simply greatest artists in electro-experimental music. You recently released the album “The Great Crater”, which is inspired by strange circles on Antarctica, right? How the hell do you start collecting sounds and noises to compose an album around such a theme? Robin: How to begin anything is the biggest challenge but I maintain a good discipline towards work, beginning every day in the studio, Monday to Friday, early in the morning and working until 18.00. I simply begin with sounds, which sometimes work, and sometimes don’t, but failure is also an essential part of any success. I have a substantial archive of sounds which I can draw on at these times and had various records of ice flows, melting ice and so on which I could use as an accompaniment to more electronic sounds. I had the focus of time, which always helps, having decided to write the entire album within one week, so kept to my own deadline (laugh). “The Great Crater” came together in such an easy, fluid way. I imagined it as scoring a film, beginning with a massive explosion of ice, quite literally the earth opening up, then moved through a variety of moods, until the end when it offers a sense of optimism, yet still tinged with melancholy and concern. I had this picture in my head as I wrote the album so that helped make the theme constantly connect to the music. A conceptual release often reminds me of ‘visual’ artists who mainly use colours and images to express their ideas while a musician only has his instruments and equipment to create an atmosphere. Can we compare a colour to a noise, maybe a picture or painting to a song, images to sequences? What does it evoke to you and what kind of artist are you today? I frequently use painterly terms to describe my work, speaking in terms of texture and surfaces, so though the tools may be different I believe we share very similar approaches to composition. A canvas or sculpture is not so far removed from a piece of music of a certain length, and we can consider the frame of a piece of artwork not dissimilar to the timescale of music, containing it. In actuality I visit far more visual art shows than live music and find them continually inspiring. When travelling for work a key focus is also to consider what exhibitions I can visit whilst overseas too! I noticed you announced a new studio album for the end of 2017 entitled “Fibolae”. You say it will be one of your most personal albums to date. Is it more personal because of the inspiration/concept behind and/or is it also because of a more personal sound approach? Can you give us more details about it? To date I’ve released a ridiculous amount of commercial recordings, perhaps around 75 albums, but a significant proportion of these are commissions, responses to invitations, or soundtracks to contemporary dance or films. The idea of simply recording music for myself for release has been the furthest thought from my head for many years and it’s only once every few years that I consider such an adventure. This time it was prompted by a series of truly horrendous losses, with my entire family passing away in a very short frame of time, one in an especially brutal and unforgiving manner, and trying to deal with such losses whilst maintaining a public persona in terms of performances and so on. At the same time I choose to leave the comfort of a familiar city, London, to move to a gigantic former textile factory in the UK, and a combination of these forces acted as the impetus for “Fibolae”. It’s ‘personal’ as it was made out of a very mixed set of feelings, from shock, anger through to melancholy and confusion, and even uses recordings of their voices within the framework of the album. It’s very much a direct response to significant life changes in a very short time. You released a split work (cf. “Astral Dreams/Vein”) together with Laurent Garnier. That’s not exactly the kind of artist I should link to Scanner, but on the other side it also brings different music horizons together. What does this record means to you and what’s your perception of labeling artists in different genres? What is the value in speaking the same audience your entire life? I’m interested in new audiences, surprises, challenges, opening out possibilities. The very idea of collaboration and connection is key to my practice and approach to life and work. Sharing work if only on the other side of a piece of vinyl is a way of moving forwards in an unexpected manner. I’ve been -and still am a huge admirer of Test Department, which remains to me one of the most creative and referential bands when it comes to industrial music. You’ve been invited to rework “Total State Machine” from Test Department so how did it happen and how did you accomplish this work? I was fortunate to see the band in their earliest incarnation back in the 1980s when they were playing underneath railway arches and all manner of strange and wonderful locations. I was a huge admirer of their work and over the years our paths crossed a number of times. A book was commissioned about their work and I was then invited to contribute an essay to this, exploring my memories and drawing on my personal archives of flyers and posters that I’m kept since those days. I was invited to then speak at the book launch in London and in addition to DJ afterwards, so rather than simply spin out music of other people I decided to make my very own direct approach to some classic Test Dept tunes and rework them, all of which are available to listen and freely download online still. https://soundcloud.com/scanner/sets/test-dept-reconstructions Robin, you’ve now been into music for nearly 30 years so what does music and especially Scanner mean to you? Did you became a different artist and what’s your perception of contemporary music? I would like to feel that change is a key component in any life and that my work and ideas have developed over this time, as well as myself of course! Over this time my enthusiasm for new music has never ceased and to this day I both treasure my earliest record and tape purchases, as well as all new vinyl and CDs that I continue to buy today. If I’m not actively creating work myself, then I’m constantly listening to the music of others. It inspires, comforts, accompanies, entertains and bewilders me in equally positive measure!Scanner interviewed @ PEEK-A-BOO Magazine
It's a challenging task trying to condense a career like that of Robin Rimbaud's into a digestible introduction. For close to 30 years now, Rimbaud has been a major force in sonic art, crafting experimental sound pieces that connect a beguiling array of genres for concerts, installations, and recordings. His commissioned pieces include campaign work for Nike Hyperfuse, Chanel, and Stella McCartney, as well as scores for the UK Olympics' The Big Dance in Trafalgar Square, the re-opening of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the world’s first ever Virtual Reality ballet with the Dutch National Ballet, and collaborations with Bryan Ferry, Wayne McGregor, Merce Cunningham, Mike Kelley, Miroslaw Balka, Torres, Michael Nyman, Carsten Nicolai, Steve McQueen, Laurie Anderson, and Hussein Chalayan, amongst many others. As Scanner, Rimbaud's output is just as sprawling and dense—take a look at his discogs page and Rimbaud's relentless work ethic will be instantly apparent. Since the release of his first self-titled album in 1995, Rimbaud has clocked over 130 releases as Scanner, including albums and EPs for Sub Rosa, Ash International—of which Rimbaud was an early operator—Room40, Parallel Factory, Bette, and his own Scannerdot Publishing. Rimbaud's latest two offerings arrived in the last few months of 2017 and presented two deeply affecting albums. The first, The Great Crater, was commissioned by Glacial Movements and acts as a score for the appearance of strange ice circles in Antarctica and the subsequent discovery of underground lakes; while the second, Fibolae, a haunting and meditative collection of electronics, is the first studio album under the Scanner moniker since 2009, recorded after he lost his entire family and left the comfort of a familiar city (London) to live in a former textile factory in the UK to re-invent his life. To kick off the year, Rimbaud has delivered a stunning two-hour mix titled “music to pass the time, although the time would have passed anyway.” Built from personal field recordings and music that accompanies Rimbaud on a daily basis, it's a hypnotic tapestry of sound that will help you glide into the new year. What was your entry into music? I’ve been recording since I was around 10 or 11 years old. We had a cheap 1970s tape recorder at home and I used to record TV shows like Spiderman on it so I could listen to them later on, as VHS tape recorders had yet to be invented. Then I realised I could record our birthdays, holidays, Christmases, trips on the school bus, the sound inside our fridge etc—rather like the way people use their smartphones today to photograph all the time. So the tape recorder offered me a way to record the world around me, without any ambitions of using it in any other way, but just because it was there and accessible, and of course, fun to do. In fact, I still have those cassette tapes and spent last summer digitising everything so it was like a form of time-travel, hearing voices, conversations, and the sounds of my old family living room that I’d not heard since that time. With all my family now deceased, it was also an extraordinarily moving experience living through those ghosts. It’s incredible what images they can present to me, far more than photos in some ways as you can actually hear the physical space. So sound has always played a part in my life. So it was the technology itself, as simple as that sounds, that drew me into music. Tape recorders then led me to play with electronics, guitars, piano, and eventually making what’s popularly known as music. Did you come from a very musical background? None of my family had any artistic or creative inclinations, although they listened to music all the time on vinyl, cassettes, and the radio. My family was a very normal working class British family, living in constant debt, working standard jobs to try and make a living, as cleaners, decorators, or postmen. The very concept of using creative art forms to actually make a living was a very foreign concept but I knew from a very early age exactly what I wanted to be doing. I cannot explain how I felt this with such confidence but I just did. What led you to electronic music? In many ways, my life’s work has been born from a series of chance encounters and discoveries of technology. I was born in the 1960s and so growing up in the 1970s offered a different approach to life than it does today. Technology was not as abundant then as it is today, and the very idea of being able to maintain a relationship with the world further than your close friends and family was an impossible fantasy, and could only be achieved by finding a pen-pal on the other side of the globe to communicate with. Today at the swish of a thumb we can meet people, make sounds, discover new worlds. So for me, the discovery of electronic music was an adventure, full of surprises. When I was 11 years old we had a remarkable music teacher at school who played us the prepared piano works of John Cage which completely blew my mind, something that was so otherworldly and experimental, yet magical and unforgettable. My love for Cage began immediately. That was rapidly followed up by a chance encounter on the London tube with my next-door neighbour when I was about 14 years old. He was a conductor and had the visual scores of German composer Stockhausen open on his lap, notating and working on them. I was transfixed by the shapes, colours and wholly alien notes on the manuscript, offering up strange sonic possibilities. Even without hearing a note of Stockhausen I was already fascinated! Then I was fortunate to be given a reel-to-reel tape recorder by my English Literature teacher at school when I was about 15 years old, then borrowed synthesisers from friends, eventually saving up for a four-track Fostex tape deck when I was about 25 years old. All of these little pieces of technology led to my body of work today. Even when I had a guitar as a teenager, I would detune it and process it with pedals or do all kinds of things with it to expand the sonic palette beyond the scope of the standard sound. Much of your work is centred around crafting music, sound design, or effects for visual components—what draws you to this way of working? One can choose many routes in life and I’m frequently surprised when even the most experimental of artists follow the traditional route of record album-make press-tour-sell product and so on. That’s never been interesting to me. In fact, the product is the least interesting part of any project. I’m drawn to projects that reward me personally, going far beyond ego, financial reward (although that’s always handy), and notions of success, but things that have meaning to me initially and hopefully others afterwards. Everything I do draws in a new audience, so I’m interested in challenges. Like many folks, I like all kinds of music, films, books and so on and in my own creative output am equally content exploring something cinematic one moment, then something with live classical musicians the next, finishing by producing a rock band. I’m a happy shapeshifter and find it very easy to adapt to new situations and respond to a brief as necessary. It also helps that I’m super easy going but professional and am proud to say I’ve never missed a deadline in 25 years of professional work. Indeed, I frequently deliver before a deadline. Much of my practice over the years has been focused on collaboration. I am a consistent collaborator in all fields, frequently with artists quite outside of the field of music, and it would be impossible to choose one over another. Whether it’s with a writer, an artist, a video maker, a choreographer, or architect, the ability to exchange and share ideas is crucial and these collaborations allow me and the collaborator to work as both negatives and positives of each other, recognising spaces within the work fields and ideas of the other. It teaches the respect of space but also the relevance of context and extension of one's ideas to the other. They will listen to you if you listen to them, just how life should function in general. Your new album explores themes inspired by strange ice circles appearing in Antarctica and the discovery of underground lakes—how do you go about composing an album when it has a clear theme like this? How to begin anything is the biggest challenge but I maintain a good discipline towards work, beginning every day in the studio, Monday to Friday, early in the morning and working until 6 p.m. I simply begin with sounds, which sometimes work and sometimes don’t, but failure is also an essential part of any success. I have a substantial archive of sounds which I can draw in at these times and had various records of ice flows, melting ice, and so on which I could use as an accompaniment to more electronic sounds. I had the focus of time, which always helps, having decided to write the entire album within one week, so I kept to my own deadline. The Great Crater came together in such an easy fluid way. I imagined it as scoring a film, beginning with a massive explosion of ice, quite literally the earth opening up, then moved through a variety of moods, until the end when it offers a sense of optimism, yet still tinged with melancholy and concern. I had this picture in my head as I wrote the album so that helped make the theme constantly connect to the music. Curiously, this is one of two new albums, as Fibolae, out on Anna von Hausswolff’s new label, has just been released this month, too. To date, I’ve released a ridiculous amount of commercial recordings, perhaps around 75 albums, but a significant proportion of these are commissions, responses to invitations, or soundtracks to contemporary dance or films. The idea of simply recording music for myself for release has been the furthest thought from my head for many years and it’s only once every few years that I consider such an adventure. Fibolae was prompted by a series of truly horrendous losses, with my entire family passing away in a very short frame of time, one in an especially brutal and unforgiving manner, and trying to deal with such losses whilst maintaining a public persona in terms of performances and so on. At the same time I choose to leave the comfort of a familiar city (London) to move to a gigantic former textile factory in the UK, and a combination of these forces acted as the impetus for the album. It’s "personal" as it was made out of a very mixed set of feelings, from shock and anger through to melancholy and confusion, and even uses recordings of their voices within the framework of the album. It’s very much a direct response to significant life changes in a very short time. So The Great Crater and Fibolae offer up different pictures of the same creator, yet compliment one another well I feel. Where and when was this mix recorded? I recorded this mix in my studio, assembling all the pieces over a day. What equipment did you record the mix on? It was compiled within Ableton Live, allowing me to layer and mix in all manner of personal recordings, too, from church bells in Italy to lakes in Spain, all appearing within the tracks. There’s a lot of detail within the mix, rather than just have one track follow another, it’s nearly always entirely two or three things playing at the same time. Was there a particular mood or idea you were looking to convey? I was searching for a theme and rather struggled until I suddenly thought, how about sharing a picture of what I’m listening to at the moment, in some playful sense of real time. Not a historical trajectory, or particular mood, but music that accompanies me as I administrate my life, writing emails, making interviews, completing my accounts, and so on. That’s to say frequently banal moments soundtracked by frequently extraordinary music. How did you select the tracks you wanted to include? As the title of the mix ("Music to pass the time, although the time would have passed anyway") suggests, it’s all music that I’ve been listening to as I work. If I’m not actually involved in making music myself, I’m always listening to music from when I’m awake at 7 a.m. until I close the office at 6 p.m. I still have a passionate love of music so I hope it crosses over all acceptable boundaries and taste. So there’s a huge variety of materials in the mix, taking you from Aphex Twin to Bernard Parmegiani, from Roland Kayn to Rush. It was an honour to combine the forces of material that have been around for many years from John Cage and Cornelius Cardew to pieces that no-one has even heard yet from artist such as Bana Haffar. Where do you envisage the mix being listened to? The mix is a very listenable two-hour collage of music and sounds, so is ideally suited to complete your tax return, shopping for shoes online, or washing the dishes. I would hope people would find all manner of locations in which to listen to it and let me know where it worked best for them. What else do you have coming up? I rarely play live shows these days so there are a handful of dates around the world in 2018, beginning in London with a very special intimate show at Iklectik. There will also be a Scanner 7″ featuring exclusive tracks that will be limited to five individually numbered copies total. They will be given away via random draw and will only be available at this event. Then I’m performing over in Paris with American musician and philosopher David Rothenberg for the Nemo Festival (16 Feb), at the ICA Boston (23 Feb), and then in April to present the world premiere of GRIMM in Amsterdam, a new ballet with Dutch National Ballet and ISH which I’ve scored and then goes on tour. Later in the year, I’ll be premiering A Little Bit of Everything: Scanner Scans Bedford, a new commission with BBC Concert Orchestra, alongside a new version of Mike Oldfield’s classic Tubular Bells. I’m also working on an extraordinary project with Polish artist Kasia Molga that will have a real impact upon the lives of others, researching and producing materials that will contribute towards a greater understanding of soil and global warming. And what else? I’ve written a book called Wrong Stories, about everything that has gone wrong with my professional career in the most humiliating of circumstances, and continue to explore countless projects where I remain largely invisible but prolific.Scanner Mix and Interview for XLR8R
UNI MAG (01_2018)