comme
(CD, mOAR, 2009)

from the and/OAR blog:

“Electronic sound caught gazing at its own physicality, acoustics in love with their own abstraction.”

If this statement exemplifies Comme to a fault, then the cover art would only confirm it. Music that seems to take on a personality of its own immediately after birth during the first track, then gradually wandering off to further contemplate its place in a new found sonic world with Billy and the rest of us following along as dazed observers.

Billy’s debut CD release displays abstract and complex dimensions of texture and tone that might make more sense at first on a subconscious level before it will on a conscious one. Therefore, it is advised to first approach this music from a pure listening standpoint, free from preconceived notions of musical structure and form since it can defy such prosaic logic.

These tracks are the start of my working toward a more immediate sound – improvisation w/software, real-time construction of the sound material and structure, taking priority. While some material comes from software in real-time, all other sound was generated by Roland Juno synthesizers, plus a few tracks incorporate my voice. Post-production editing and treatment were mostly employed to find the clearest expression of my improvisations and shape them into more conventional ‘tracks’ or ‘songs.’ When improvising in this style, I do have a sense of trying to find a ‘song,’ and letting that take me somewhere else.

Somewhat more abstractly – where was I when I started this work – a good portion of this album was started just after I moved to Brooklyn in 2005. Risking cliché, this is raw sound, a discovery of style (or a total lack of it). I just make music, it’s a space between the listener and myself. In this way, sound is ‘simple’ – its presence as we listen gives it expression, our listening finds its language.

I am very excited about this collection, and nothing short of tremendously satisfied with it. Much gratitude to Dale for his support and vision with this album, and the and/OAR family of labels.

comme is available at the and/OAR diffusion shop.

 

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reviews

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PARIS TRANSATLANTIC (February 2010)
Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based Gomberg works with “analog
synthesis, digital treatments, acoustic recordings and custom
programming” to generate a kind of semi-structured music
which starts from improvisation and successively gets tailored
into constantly changing shapes that could be attached to some
form of inexpressible “song”. Curiously the composer talks
about “acoustics in love with their own abstraction”, but the
main sensation while listening to Comme is one of physicality,
although a stylishly anarchic one. The fleshiness of a Roland
synthesizer against the volatility of certain emissions, the
harmonic kindness that renders several passages slightly more
familiar to the ears versus the barely penetrable obscurity of a
segment such as “Pair” (easily the best of the CD’s eight
tracks). This game of contrasts is ultimately what sustains our
interest throughout this debut album, a collection that otherwise
would risk being overlooked in that congested area of
electronica which considers creative peaks undesirable, tending
to even out different personalities across a medium-range
sameness that does no justice to inquisitive minds like
Gomberg’s. There are seeds here that need to be carefully
watered to grow into beautiful plants, and this young man is
perceived to be a sensible gardener. (Massimo Ricci)

JUST OUTSIDE (January 2010)
If I call this disc “ingratiating”, I don’t intend the term with the
slightest pejorative tinge. In fact, I was unable to dislodge this
thing from my CD player for several days; it was that winning.
At a gloss, it’s oddly retro, though its points of reference are
scarcely more than a decade old: the ambient glitch music of
people like Fennesz from the mid to late 90s. Fennesz is an
unavoidable referent, I guess, though there’s more going on
here than that, but Gomberg’s general palette is that of rich,
ringing, creamy electronics spiced with small bits of noise
shrapnel. There’s loose repetition, even the odd, pulsing
rhythm. And it all sounds so goddamn good. Tracks like “Into”,
with its snaky little groove, echoing clicks and vestige of a
melody just worm their way in, impossible to resist. And “Solo”
is positively deadly, sauntering in with perhaps a vague nod to
the rhythms in “Are You Experienced?”, and tumbling through
the room, all manner of detritus attached to its sides, heedless,
a little boastful even, exiting in all its hilarious glory, jauntiness
intact. “Comme” is the best potential crossover disc I’ve heard
since Radian’s “rec.extern”. Check it out, get some for your
friends. (Brian Olewnick)

TEXTURA (December 2009)
Comme, a generous portion of which was begun after Gomberg
moved to Brooklyn in 2005, unspools in perpetual motion, its
eight real-time improvisations mini-whirlpools of software-
generated textures, Roland Juno synthesizer sounds, and voice
elements. Like magnified films of micro-organism activity, the
tracks spring to life with all manner of glitch-laden clicks,
rattles, and whirrs. Spontaneity rules, as Gomberg lets the raw
material develop naturally and with immediacy, the deferential
creator content to let a given track travel where it may. The
incessant chatter of crackle and hum punctuates glimmering
nuclei of electric piano-like burble in percolating pieces of
largely beatless design. “Channel” proves especially ear-
catching, to some degree because Gomberg adds the rhythmic
presence of a kick drum’s elastic thump to the track’s insectoid
chatter, as does the aggressive “Solo” on account of a smeary,
fuzz-toned attack that’s strongly reminiscent of Oval. Odder
still, “Letter” harks back even further in sounding at times like
the kind of experiment Miles Davis might have recorded when
his interest in Stockhausen was in full bloom.

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