The realm of shadows becomes otherworldly in the work of Mere Phantoms. And Christian Carrière has the perfect sonic equivalent: music made with no-input mixer.

The realm of shadows becomes otherworldly in the work of Mere Phantoms. And Christian Carrière has the perfect sonic equivalent: music made with no-input mixer.

Hypnotic and chant-like, this Christian Carrière composition hums and vibrates with what sounds like a chorus of electronic synthesizers.

But that’s not what you’re hearing. It’s actually all a “no-input mixer” – a rig that makes use of controlled feedback rather than any other source of sound. It is, as Montreal-based composer Christian describes it, the sound of the circuits inside the mixer singing. And while you may associate feedback with angry distortion, here it’s beautifully tranquil, the rich tones of the circuitry themselves transformed into oscillators. The patterns and layers are all made with a looper.

35-minute mix:

We heard music like this before from Christian, back when he was covering Estonian composer Arvo Pärt:
No-Input Pärt: ‘Fratres,’ Played on a Mixer, is Eerily Beautiful

This time, an original composition accompanies an installation. Christian explains to CDM:

[My music] sometimes sounds a bit like analog synths… is certainly based in looping… but is entirely made with controlled audio mixer feedback (aka no-input console ). I use the EHX 2880 multi-track looper, which allows you to pitch the loops up or down, in semi-tone increments. Lots of fun…

Recently, Montreal-based collective mere phantoms asked me to make a soundtrack for a shadow installation they set up at the 2013 Istanbul Biennial in Turkey, which runs until October 20th. All the individual tracks that make up the mix were recorded in August 2013, live… no overdubs.

If you’re near Istanbul, there’s still time:
13th Istanbul Biennial

I’ll talk about the installation separately, as it touches on an idea on which I’ve been reflecting a lot lately – plays of shadow and light – but you can check out it and other work at the Mere Phantoms site:

http://merephantoms.com/

More of Christian’s music:

http://christiancarriere.com/

  • Pat

    Wow!! I love this! Keep it up!

  • DRUMLOOP808

    I loved the first track in that mix so much I did a little remix of it https://soundcloud.com/drumloop808/escape-to-la

  • Jens Rosenfeld

    I like the more raw approach ->

    2 Mixers – no Input. Crosswired outputs/inputs
    Cuircuitnoise vs Theo Goodman Nacht der Museen Frankfurt
    7.05.2011
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIluhm2ljlI

  • duncan

    and in the no-input mixing desk world the beautiful work of Toshimaru Nakamura always deserves a mention ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshimaru_Nakamura ) – http://youtu.be/OR14COfblhI

  • Random Chance

    Reminds me of some Frippertronics pieces, especially the ones from “Let the Power Fall.”

  • Paul

    Sort of what David Myers (Arcane Device, PulseWidth) was doing. He built his own “feedback machines”, though.

  • Emma

    Chant-like compositions always give me chills! And I like Escape to LA, too. Although I agree with Paul on David Myers thing, this reminds me his music. But I still like Christian Carrière because these songs are still special for me.