From Terry Riley to Tom Hamilton to Merzbow, the world of experimental electronic music world has been a world at least nominally dominated by men, but along the way women such as Laurie Spiegel, Wendy Carlos — and more recently — Holly Herndon have made important but often overlooked contributions. Asha Tamirisa is an audiovisual artist who aims to raise the profile of women such as these. As founding member of OPENSIGNAL, she’s leader among a collective of artists “concerned with the state of gender and race within electronic/computer based art practices.”
Tamirisa also puts her money where her mouth is by issuing her own recordings within this realm of music, and the experimental music label Pan Y Rosas has just released her latest explorations, Callus/Redux.
Using primarily an old ARP 2500 synthesizer that debuted in 1970, Tamirisa doesn’t devise melodies but rather molds sonic textures that fall within the ambient and minimalist streams of vintage electronica. On “Callus” she produces a generator hum that imperceptibly moves into consciousness. By ten or eleven minutes in, it’ conjures up the sound of an airliner taxiing on the tarmac prior to takeoff, dissipating into a slowly dissipating static.
“Redux,” however, blends both the organic with the synthetic. Beginning with water sculptures culled from her own field recordings, it’s at first placid and then, suddenly, much more forceful, as if someone had fully opened up the spigot followed by an easing up to the sounds of water swirling around. The handoff from this liquid movement to a dry synth drone happens without disruption. From there, the drone gets airborne and achieves cruising altitude, picking up density along the way. Slowly, the heft is shed, giving way to a clinical sheer sheen.
Both soothing and stimulating, Callus/Redux is yet another worthy contribution of avant-garde electronic music that’s gender-less in sound and not so gender predominant in origin.
Visit Asha Tamirisa’s website for more information.