Coppice

Vinculum

2010-ongoing (made-to-order) | artist edition 3-CD sets
set of 3 randomly selected CD’s from Coppice’s sonic artifact archive stuffed in hand-embroidered pouch

Vinculum (2010-ongoing) is a growing archive of sonic artifacts and the first official release by Coppice.  Sounds are recorded and reduced to highlight some aspects at the expense of others. Each recording is released on its own single-track CD-R with an inscribed catalog number.

Currently, the project is being made available as a unique, made-to-order hand-made, hand-embroidered pouch containing several different discs selected at the time the pouch is filled.  Also as individual CD’s in hand-painted sleeves – visit our Purchase page for details; as well as the full-experience Specimen Edition. The listener is encouraged to play the discs simultaneously on repeat from multiple players when possible.

Available now:

S-1 01.01 020:00
S-1 01.02 012:40
S-1 01.03 010:00
S-1 02.01 004:44
S-1 03.01 005:36
T-M 01.01 003:50
BK-1 E1.01 019:48
PC-1 01.01 006:54
PC-1 01.02 006:52
PC-1 02.04 004:33
PC-1 04.01 003:57
F-GS 01.02 030:01

Press

Coppice’s musical approach epitomizes what its name suggests: development, reduction and reuse. Among Cuéllar and Kramer’s numerous undertakings, past endeavors have included a performance on the Baschet Brothers’ Aluminum Piano at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art; a special exhibition of resonating sculptures made from galvanized steel, glass, foam and copper; and a handmade 12 CD-R redwood boxed set that doubles as a reed instrument thanks to the brass tube running through its center. As different as the works are, all three are part of the duo’s Vinculum project, something they refer to as an “archive of sonic artifacts.” Those artifacts include pre-recorded sounds and compositional strategies that are as useful in one discipline as they are in another. Appropriately, the title connotes unification, though usually of the mathematical or anatomical sort. Musically, it describes how the duo goes about its work, both stylistically (how many bellows and electronics duos can you name?) and structurally.

For example, each of the 12 CD-Rs in that boxed set, which are also available in made-to-order sets of three, contains a single track altered to highlight a particular kind of noise. Listeners are encouraged to play those discs simultaneously, but it’s not as if they come with an instruction manual describing exactly how they should be heard. You can play them one at a time or in tandem. You can put them on in separate rooms. Or you can combine them all on your computer, adjust the levels, and create a custom Vinculum mix of your own. If it sounds like fun, try it. There’s no wrong way to approach the music and nothing is forbidden.

As if to prove that point, Cuéllar and Kramer slip one of those discs, Vinculum PC-1 04.01 003:57, into Vantage/Cordoned at some point during “Soft Crown.” Its presence will go unnoticed by anyone unfamiliar with the series, but just knowing that it’s there changes the way that Coppice’s music feels. It puts the stress on process rather than completion and softens the ordinarily firm line between work-in-progress and final product, making the album less of a destination and more of a way station. It’s a place where new techniques can be tried out with older, more familiar ones, where wheezy drones can be tied into knots with wobbly tape effects, and muffled recordings — of heavy winds, conversations or heavy construction — can be made to move both backward and forward in time simply for the sake of testing those waters. Assuming that the sounds are just as flexible as the machines that make them possible, why not reuse the sounds, too?

Some might call that process remixing and wonder why anyone should find it so unique. In the case of Vantage/Cordoned, it comes across more as recycling than as remixing. The music, as fascinating and physically impressive as it is on its own, points away from itself and underscores the systems that bring it to life. Those systems are modular and endlessly adaptable, capable of producing way more variety than any one performance, installation or album could contain, so Coppice makes music that emphasizes that fact. Sounds are processed and reprocessed, instruments are broken down and rebuilt with new functions, and previously recorded material is given new life as part of a new composition. The music begins with these core elements and grows from them the way a tree grows up from its roots. It’s also limited by those elements, but that’s what pruning is for.

–Lucas Schleicher, Dusted Magazine {2014}

While we’re on the topic of support, it must be pointed out that Coppice have a rather special fundraising project on the go at the moment. Their long-term project “Vinculum”, an ever-growing archive of sound objects, is beginning to bear fruit in several forms, including an exhibition, installations, free downloads, and extremely limited CD editions. Most intriguing, however, is the “Specimen Edition” box set — and by ‘box’, the pair mean ‘custom-built redwood box in an edition of five, with glass-mounted CDs, index scroll, metal tube filter and integrated uniquely-tuned brass free reed allowing use as a one-of-a-kind wind instrument’. Try doing that with your luxury coloured heavyweight vinyl.

–Nathan Thomas, Fluid Radio {2013}

Vinculum, a constantly shifting index of sounds, bodies, and space that involves isolating and highlighting particular sounds that are specific to Coppice. Sitting down with Cuéllar and Kramer in their studio, they describe their interest in the “behavior of sounds” and the ways in which different sounds demand a different kind of listening. However, Coppice is not necessarily interested in making the listener more aware of the plethora of quotidian sounds that may surround her. Rather, the listener is encouraged to connect to the collection of sounds Coppice draws from to create their compositions. The work is deeply self-referential in its consistent pointing back to itself, its own self-reflexivity. The recordings, which are used to form Coppice compositions, are stored and categorized as specimens the listener can study and discover within the work. Coppice’s archival process, which involves recording the sounds and storing them in built containers or vessels – hand-sewn pouches or built wooden boxes (for Vinculum Specimen Edition), produces a peculiar meditation on the nature of cataloguing. What is capable of being stored? What should be saved? The individual entries/specimens can then be accessed and experienced by the listener in a multitude of ways. Coppice encourages the listener “to play the discs simultaneously on repeat from multiple players when possible.” However, the listener has the ability to change the order and method of playback to create her own way of experiencing the archived sounds. The archive is not static and is rather presented as a collection that is open to change and re-arrangement; it is an “open composition.”

Coppice describes the sounds of  Vinculum as quiet and having to be found from a particular point of view. Because Coppice is concerned with each sound’s specific experiential condition, the recordings in the archive capture the particular spatial arrangement necessary to recognize the sound, making the archive one of space and the way the listener and the instrument inhabit space. Many of the sounds Coppice finds, makes, and records relate to the human body and its rhythms. The breath that passes through a tube and the air that traverses through the bellows of an accordion or pump organ indicate the necessity of the body to the production of that sound, whether it is the musician’s breath, hands, or feet interacting with the instrument or apparatus. They claim that it is the “air on the edge of things” that makes its way into the auditory.

–Meredith Kooi, Bad at Sports {2013}

The range of amplitude and density of each of the pieces contributes to a rather startling mix. Where similar projects would get bogged down in three separate ‘songs’, the listener instead gets the sense of three parts of a whole.

–Brian Beaudry, Cut and Run {2012}