1. Part One 5:17
2. Part Two 7:25
3. Part Three 6:42
4. Part Four / Part Five 8:02
5. Part Six / Part Seven "Night Pasture" 6:52
6. Part Eight 4:19
Edward Ruchalski is an american composer currently living in Syracuse, New York, where he teaches guitar. He has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Helen Boatwright and Syracuse's Society for New Music.
Ruchalski has also been the recipient of two Individual Artists Grants from the Cultural Resources Council in Syracuse for his compositions Private Harmonies, a series written for motorized string and percussion instruments, and Kafka Resolution, written for speaker and percussion.
For the last ten years he has been creating sound installations, motorized string and percussion instruments and playable percussive sculptures.
His music has been released worldwide on labels such as Humbug, Pseudoarcana, Foxy Digitalis and Taâlem; he also contributed to many compilations.
We had the chance to listen to Ruchalski's music for the first time when his "Refined Localities Part One" MiniCD-R 3" was released by Taâlem in France a few years ago.
We instantly fell in love with his beautiful experiments and approached him. Edward proposed us a new work and the reissue of one of his older and out of print albums. We didn't have any doubt at all and steadily decided to release both of them on Afe... (please also have a look at afe089lcd).
The first edition of "Dark Night" was released on Foxy Digitalis back in 2004 and is probably one of Ruchalski most well-balanced works.
The following description is a long excerpt taken from a review of the original edition written by Steve Rybicki, the original page with the complete review is available here. We really couldn't find a more appropriate way to describe this intense and beautiful album.
"Close your eyes and try to imagine yourself as a child on a farm nestled in a bucolic New England valley. It is late, but you cannot sleep. As you listen to the sounds of the night, you might hear the restless nocturnal piano tinkling of your insomniac older sister from the parlor downstairs, or the sonorous tolling of the grandfather clock just down the hall from your room stolidly announcing the passage of time. Turning your attention away from whatever lurks in the dark corners to the open window beside your bed, you might hear the red shifted whistles of freight trains rumbling by, or the whisper of a sprinkler tapping out its watery arc. Fog banks roll across the pastures so dense that although they should be silent, they have almost willed themselves a voice capable of eerily wailing their whispered name into your ears.
Welcome to the ever-maturing world of Edward Ruchalski. The audio portrait your mind has "visualized" is Ruchalski’s latest release "Dark Night".
The disc begins with a swelling ringing drone that rolls and sways like wheat in a gentle breeze. Over this lulling undulation one can hear the whistles of distant trains passing by. The second track marries lightly stroked piano with resonating bells and chimes that are overshadowed briefly by screeching harmonics of bowed metal before the mournful cry of the train whistle returns. Underneath this swell, the steady insistent sweep of a sprinkler hovers into range.
Over the next several parts of the piece, these basic elements are manipulated and modulated expertly to build a narrative in which individual events can be discerned (the slightly spooky piano figure from "Part Three", the "clock" striking the hour in the middle of "Part Four") but never interrupt the leisurely movement of the whole. As "Part Five" begins with gently plucked guitar frames chiming bells, one can easily picture the easy harmony of an elemental duet between a solitary farmhouse occupant and the wind chimes on the back porch. It is the first hint that acceptance and peace can be attained even amidst the turbulence of nocturnal noises.
Once the delicate piano chords at the start of "Part Six" have been swallowed by gamelan-like echoic bells, a babbling brook emerges as the underpinning for Rebecca Klossner’s "singing bowls". The presence of unfettered water (as opposed to its earlier appearance in sprinkler directed form) is emblematic of the softening the piece has undergone over its length. The final "Part Eight" breaks like dawn illuminating the previous evening’s sinister room corners as merely an innocuous and essential meeting place for the walls of home."
The graphics of "Dark Night"
are based on a picture taken by Paolo Ippoliti of Logoplasm.
"Italian entrepreneur Andrea Marutti has sent a few examples from his art-edition CD-R label Afe Records in Milan. Much to my great excitement, he's put in two records by Edward Ruchalski. We interviewed this modest NY State (Syracuse) genius in issue 13 of the magazine, and I personally can't hear enough of his mystical-magical soundworks, some using home-made instruments, all of them using imagination and strange narrative drivers behind the deft tape-splices. On "Territorial Objects" (afe089lcd) it seems we have one Michael Burton suspended up to his waist in the waters of Butternut Creek, playing cymbals, bells and other percussion. On "Dark Night" (afe090lcd), a solo work, Ruchalski does his best to realise in sound the beauties and mysteries of a New England night with all the visionary powers of a Ray Bradbury. My inner warlock is just itching to get these colourful beauties (orange and black respectively) slotted into an appropriate technical niche!"
The Sound Projector [more]
"Forget the whole murky cavernous feeling that you usually associate with this type of stuff, and try to picture yourself sleeping in a more rural area while a host if interesting events play outside your window... Besides the usual drony ambient sound you can hear sprinklers running nearby, wind blowing, water flowing, clocks ticking, acoustic guitars being lightly plucked, piano echoing from through the hallways, chains rattling, and the sound of cars passing and sirens ringing in the far distance. Edward Ruchalski creates a dark but very real world through his art that I definitely admire and can totally relate myself too... Certainly worth checking out."
Lunar Hypnosis [more]
"..."Dark Night" is a masterful example of Edward Ruchalski's penchant for creating music that can't be used as background wallpaper despite its pretty static basic complexion. Subdivided into eight parts on six tracks, the composition unfolds through a succession of impressive resonances that, especially in the first two movements, let us think about the work of another artist who utilizes "motorized strings", Tim Catlin (author of a couple of recent splendid albums - solo and with Jon Mueller - on 23Five and Crouton respectively). Jangling suspensions are enhanced by slow descents and breathtaking glissandos, ululating chimes similar to animal voices evidencing the impossibility of maintaining an orientation point amidst this stunning appearance. After a while, several additional elements begin to enrich the music, with particular mention for a piano that sounds like played in a marsh by the ghost of Erik Satie, the whole surrounded by extraneous presences whose sibilant influence contribute to a fascinating mix of anxiety and awareness... All in all, a must-have album for connoisseurs of serious droning and lovers of guitars that whirr in sympathetic tunings."
Touching Extremes [more]
"Quiete, quasi assoluta, nella "Dark Night" dell'americano Edward Ruchalski, uscita precedentemente per Foxy Digitalis e ora ristampata con una nuova copertina ad opera di Paolo Ippoliti (Logoplasm). Una perfetta colonna sonora per un sogno estivo, un sogno dalle tinte fosche e tenebrose, costruito attraverso i suoni prodotti dai suoi strumenti autocostruiti, ma anche da pianoforti, chitarre, campane e field recordings."
"Dark Night" is an eerier, often pitch black and doomy collection of dronescapes, bleak ambient expanses and discordant piano unsettling. Fittingly the title really tells you exactly what's in the box, this is music for unsettled dreams and creep-out/paranoid early mornings... Using stretched out and echoed doomy piano cord hits, drone craft pits of dark sound, doomy guitar picks and strums, signing bowls, field recordings and all manner of audio unsettlement. This is music that brings to mind imagers of: eyeless and cracked china dolls coming to live, hunched figures drugging sacked body shaped weights up creaking staircases, slowly unnerving walks around eerier wooded panelled and blood red fabric draped houses as the clock strikes midnight..."
Musique Machine [more]
"For "Dark Night" Edward Ruchalski partakes of a ceremonial study in the usurpation of motion. It's all of thirty-eight minutes, but it parts the clouds and spreads out huge black canopies of sound that absorb like nothing else. The long sustained opening movement locks the listener into expecting more of the same, while the instruments themselves are gradually subjected to intense pressure through a continuous stream of outermost harmonics, alienated high notes and miscellaneous wood noise. Breaks in this continuum prove devastating. Indeed, after the first two works draw to a close, the album reveals itself to be of an elliptical orbit, gliding from these looped, gaseous emissions to broad tundra's of crisply pumping electronica, more or less static drone works, and the intermittent flirtation with modern composition. During the fifth composition, an emotionally exposed piano melody retains a calm level of expression that, against a guitar, distorted and coated in liquid metal, seems utterly divine. Rebecca Klossner adds the whisper of singing bowls to the light spume of textures on part seven, but it never seems tangential or imprudent, so intelligently judged is the albums beauty."
"Per una volta iniziamo la recensione parlando dell'ultima traccia, che per inciso è il brano tramite il quale ho scoperto il disco sfogliando tra i numerosi mp3 della più che prolifica Afe Records: questa "Part Eight", poco più di quattro minuti di brano, mescola un pianoforte dalle note malinconiche e per nulla scontate con un sottofondo di piatti fatti vibrare un po' alla maniera di Oren Ambarchi. Detto così sembra poca roba, ma in realtà si tratta di un piccolo gioiello di una musica che, data la sua fruibilità, sarebbe fuorviante definire sperimentale. Il resto del disco non delude le aspettative, sebbene sposti molto più in là la soglia della fruibilità, addentrandosi in spire terribilmente oscure e spesso dissonanti, in odore di musica contemporanea e forse anche adatte a palati cresciuti a suon di illbient o isolazionismi vari..."
Sound and Silence [more]