oder delias or butterflies

edition: 300
non visual objects

  1. Oder Delias Or Butterflies

” 4/8/05 from a dream, nyc – i tried to order “oder delias” in a restaurant, which i remember as rice forms floating in broth. the phrase “oder delias” running thorugh my head over and over throughout the dream, even as i awoke it was with me for awhile. (also in the dream, the waitress i was talking to said not to order the “oder delias” because it was too expensive. i remember now it was $9.) “

when i wrote to heribert that i wanted to title my cd “oder delias”, he replied with “how is the title to understand?, oder = is a german word (engl. or?), delias – are these kind of butterflies? ” as i have worked on many projects translating languages that i don’t understand into english through sounds or spellings of foreign words; i thought heribert’s meanings of my dream words seemed perfect – thus the title “oder delias or butterfiles”.

the main source material for the sound was a beautiful bamboo flute made for me by bernhard gunter that arrived in the mail around the time of heribert’s invitation to make this cd. i’ve also added a few other sounds which are not from my dreams, nor rice forms, and most likely not butterflies….

  • reviews:
  • The title of the piece is based on a dream Roden had, which is too complicated to retype and it’s a nice word play. The music was played on a bamboo flute Bernard Günter made for Roden, and which of course Roden carefully processes. Unlike some of his previous works, Roden takes the sound apart and processes beyond the idea of a flute sound. It starts out with that but over the course of forty minutes things minimally transform into bell-like sounds, chimes perhaps. Like with previous Roden works, sounds are grouped together in slightly different loops of varying length, which move along each-other and create a dense but pleasant pattern. Highly atmospherical music and still among the best microsound, and in Steve Roden’s case it’s microsound in the most classical sense of the word, has to offer.

    frans de waard / vital weekly
  • On 8 April, Steve Roden dreamt he was in a restaurant where he ordered a dish called Oder Delias, which he vaguely recalls as consisting of “rice forms floating in broth”. When invited to inaugurate Heribert Friedl´s new Non Visual Objects imprint, whose aesthetic and typeface owe much to Bernhard Günter´s trente oiseaux, on which label Friedl and Günter recently collaborated on Ataraxia, Roden suggested the name of his imaginary culinary speciality as a title. Friedl recognised ´oder´ as German, but mistakenly assumed ´delias´ had something to do with butterflies. Hence the title.

    If the sleevenotes (and this review) dwell on the anecdote, it´s simply because there´s so little to say about the music other than providing a bald description of the 40 minute piece, which progresses from diminished to minor to major tonalities and back again in a series of dovetailing sections approximately five minutes long. Roden´s sound material is at times recognisable – in addition to his beloved gongs and chimes, a bamboo flute made for him by Günter adds a vaguely oriental colour to the proceedings – but often inscrutable. Strange yet fascinating montages of thinking percussion float above tiny, crinkling loops of distant vaguely nostalgic chord sequences, filtered until they crumble into dust like the skeletons of dried leaves.

    But none of this explains why this elusive yet far from inaccessible music is so strangely moving. Like Günter´s work, it remains coolly objective, giving no apparent indication of many personal emotional significance for the composer, while provoking int he listener an intimate and deeply felt response.

    dan warburton/ the wire
  • During the summer months of my childhood, I liked to sit beneath a honeysuckle bush in my backyard, popping sweet blossoms into my mouth and waiting. The bush attracted a wonderful variety of insect life-bees, sugar ants, curled caterpillars searching for shady spots to set up cocoons-but I waited for butterflies. I believed (though not in these terms) that when a butterfly landed on a person, that person entered a state of grace. Most days I was unsuccessful, but on rare occasions, lulled into a honeyed languor by bee drones and gently rustling foliage, I lingered long enough for a specimen to grace my palm. I watched, entranced, as the butterfly flattened its powdered wings. I felt a strange communion with it while it stretched and basked, as if we were enjoying a common pleasure. After this, the day fluttered by blissfully.

    Rarely does an abstract electronic artist evoke such naturalistic imagery, but Steve Roden makes a point of doing so. He’s so eager to inject humanity into his work that the packaging of his latest-Oder Delias or Butterflies, one of three debut releases on Non-Visual Objects-features grey fingerprint smudges. He even puts his body into his music; both Airforms and Oder Delias are sourced from his voice. But unlike 2003’s Speak No More About the Leaves-which used his singing and speaking voice-on these two his breath travels through woodwinds. Lest that introduce an unpleasant distance between performer and music, Roden personalizes even the instruments. The bamboo flute was a gift from musician Bernhard Gunter. The wooden organ is old and handcrafted. With all the romanticism of the man and his music, one is surprised that Roden works in such a stereotypically dry field as minimal electronica.

    Thankfully he does. The emotion and sincerity of his music are welcome deviations from the heady, overthought norm. Oder Delias, in particular, is a delight. Basing the album around the swooping, plaintive tones of the bamboo flute, Roden spends the first ten minutes of the single-track, forty-minute piece crafting jet streams of barely-there loops. With the next ten, he builds a subtle, majestic landscape-a miniature not unlike my honeysuckle bush-of bird-like flute caws and water-drop bell tones. At twenty-seven minutes, the sound recedes, and a processed crackle ambles into an unabashedly optimistic flute-as-organ micro-ballad, like early Morr Music at low volume.

    The title of the album stems from a dream in which Roden attempts to order Oder Delias at a restaurant. I wouldn’t be surprised if the content of the album unfolded in the dream as well. Oder Delias settles with easy grace into the subconscious of the listener, as if a niche already existed for it.

    Roden takes the notion of ambience quite seriously. Oder Delias is something of a pop album for him, though only a dab of pop is smeared over a forty-minute canvas. Airforms finds Roden in a doggedly ambient mood. The piece debuted at an installation in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art as an accompaniment to the plaster structures on the album’s cover. Its birth in a visual milieu is telling; Airforms is almost more visual than sonic. Over its course, the endless loop of organ wheeze and subtle noise wash creates a space around the listener. A vaulted ceiling. Big windows and ample light. A view of an endless, cerulean ocean.

    Airforms is not intended to be a conventionally musical experience, so it doesn’t quite succeed as an album. A host of criticisms can be levied: it’s repetitive, barely audible, and unnecessarily long. While these objections miss Roden’s point, they’re still valid to some degree. Just as only a rare person can stare for fifty uninterrupted minutes at a single piece of art, so too must one be a serious ambient fan to listen to Airforms all the way through with interest. But Roden doesn’t want us listen; he wants the music to be Eno ambient. To drift in unawares and germinate subliminal joy.

    Consider Roden’s suggestion: he wants us to listen to Airforms on low volume. I did this once and couldn’t hear anything for most of the album. Either my headphones were ruined or Roden was extending the philosophy of ambient music to its logical extreme. My headphones were fine.

    Airforms excels as pure ambience, and I bet it worked wonders in an art gallery. But listeners have different expectations of an album. Some would call such expectations narrow-minded, but they persist nonetheless. Both albums are formally compelling but Oder Delias is, by far, the better album.

    bryan berge / stylus magazine
  • Based on a dream described by Roden on the CD cover, the peculiar name of this composition introduces to a sphere where repetitive morsels of gentle loops made with delicate percussion, modified low-budget (?) electronic impressions and a bamboo flute presented to Steve by Bernhard Günter constitute a fascinating case of geometric serendipity. Related to a tranquil fluctuation for the quasi totality of the piece, the author’s creation transmits comprehensible messages, almost inviting extraneous elements to join and enhance an already well-functioning organism; the substantial pleasure of this experience is limpidly non-turbulent, the music moving through a natural schematic reconfiguration between a castigated minimalism and the breathing cycle of a lethargic animal which no climatic variation or fortuitous event could ever accelerate. Roden confirms himself as one of the most heart-gifted among today’s ear manipulators.

    massimo ricci / touching extremes
  • Audio/visual artist Steve Roden got an idea for this CD from a soup he once tried to order at a restaurant. The dish was called “oder delias” and he remembers seeing rice forms floating in the broth. Then again, maybe Steve didn’t actually order the soup because it was too expensive as it cost $9 and then again maybe all of this is just some sort of a crazy dream he had. Who knows? The point is the source material for this “deep listening” CD [had to borrow the term from Pauline Oliveros] is a bamboo flute that was made for Steve by Bernhard Günter. You want quiet and you’ve got deadly quiet. As with the majority of Steve’s releases, this is as intense as deep listening gets. You turn up the volume to the maximum just to hear the bare minimum that is occurring on this record. The first ten minutes or so are spent heavily concentrated on the humming and gentle blowing into a bamboo flute. For the most part, you’re also hearing still air. Then a mellow gong opens up the door to the next phase of the piece. Shimmering bells and some sort of an organ-like instrument permeate the remainder of the CD. The glistening sounds become slightly louder, slightly more demanding, but the piece never fails to stick to its original calm posture. What’s interesting is Steve added a humming [almost drill-like] sound that caresses the ear drums half-way through the recording. I don’t know what the source material is but its glow turns out to be hypnotic. It’s that gentle, caressing humming of the still air that sends us off into the deep, dark night.

    tom sekowski / gaz-eta
  • Un flauto di bambú realato da Bernhard Günter. Questo, die base, lo strumento utilizzato da Roden per la prima usita della nuava etichetta die Heribert Friedl. L´ispirazione die Roden parte da un bizarro sogno ambientato in un ristorante ma sono Günter e l´idea die sogno a dominare la natura di questa lunga traccia riduzionista, minimlista, eterea, impalpabile. il cursore del volume sale fin quasi al massiomo per aver ragione de rumore di fondo finché non si schiude un panorama di tiepidi tocchi di campane, dili che emulano un synth, screpolature di glitch, organetti natalizi: letteramente la musica dei sogni.

    stefano i. bianchi / blow up
  • Première sortie d’un tout jeune label autrichien qui fait mentir son nom tant le packaging est beau, en carton fin et illustré de superbes dessins, cet album au nom étrange, écrit par Steve Roden, activiste notoire du field recording et des longues pièces électro-acoustiques, aimant à construire ses morceaux à partir d’objets concrets pas nécessairement musicaux ou les pensant comme des installations, compositeur d’une musique concrète au sens immédiat du terme, une musique qui n’est pas faite de bruits (même si elle en intègre) mais qui, dans sa chair électronique, insère et accueille la pulpe palpitante du monde extérieur, de l’environnement le plus immédiat : ici, cuisine étrangère et papillons.

    Pour élucider cette dernière phrase énigmatique, il faut raconter l’histoire de ce disque, qui ne manque pas de sel et qui est comme le gage de la poésie de cette composition : Steve Roden a eu l’idée de cette pièce dans un restaurant, alors qu’il voulait commander un plat à base de riz nommé Oder Delias. La phrase, dont l’évocation florale le séduit, résonne poétiquement dans son esprit pendant plusieurs jours, même quand il rêve, y compris aussi au réveil. Il en parle à Heribert Friedl, patron du label, qui lui suggère l’analogie de Oder (Ou, en allemand) avec le Or anglais, et qui fait remarquer que les délias sont une famille de papillons. D’où ce titre double anglo-germanique. Pour la petite histoire, Roden ne commanda finalement pas le plat en question.
    Cette longue pièce d’environ trois quarts d’heure est, à l’image de son titre, chargée de fragrances florales et de vols de papillons : les sons qui la composent sont d’abord infimes, à peine audible, et grossissent peu à peu vers une complexité électronique toujours douce et soyeuse, mêlant les sons les plus divers et mettant en tension le lisse des sons synthétiques omniprésents avec la rugosité des sons concrets moins nombreux empruntés au monde extérieur. De sorte que la pièce grossit peu à peu d’une vie qui semble s’inventer lentement à mesure que le temps coule, s’anime, s’infléchit, palpite, s’arrête net peu après son centre, pour repartir sur des percussions métalliques délicates, touche de fantaisie et d’ethnicité minimale à l’intérieur d’un disque avant tout citadin, à l’écoute des chants muets des villes et des lieux publics. Travail avant tout contemplatif, qui semble déroutant au début, mais qui séduit ensuite rapidement et se laisse gagner par une émotion discrète, lorsque intervient, en courts motifs ascendants (une ou deux notes le plus souvent, répétés de manière arythmique), la flûte de bambou offerte par Bernhard Günter à Steve Roden. De cette flûte, Roden joue avec une infinie tendresse, comme si ce disque passait, en son centre plein, de la contemplation citadine à la déclaration d’amitié profonde. Dans cette supposée déclaration, que l’on devine peut-être plus qu’on entend (car après tout, Roden et Günter nous sont, à nous la majorité des auditeurs, inconnus) se loge tout le projet de ce disque, petit poème du minuscule et de l’insignifiant, dédié à un plat de riz, un bouquet, la trace colorée d’un papillon dans l’air, une flûte de bambou qui est à peine plus qu’un jouet : poème célébrant tous ces menus objets ou événements qui font la trame de nos jours et qui, en quelque sorte, nous dessinent un monde à côté du monde, plus petit, plus coloré, plus parfumé et plus clément.

    johnny one shot / infratunes
  • Questo piccolo oggetto – come definire altrimenti una cosa stampata in sole 300 copie – ripropone la musica di uno dei più sottovalutati poeti di questi anni, e la ripropone in tutta la sua nuda ispirazione. Roden sembra avere scelto definitivamente la semplicità – achtung!!!: semplicità… non banalità… – sia a livello delle strumentazioni utilizzate sia a livello delle strutture che ne derivano. Il risultato sta in una sorta di purezza innocente, quasi un ritorno ai primordi del ‘paradiso terrestre’ quando l’uomo non doveva far altro che allungare la mano per raggiungere frutti succosi e messi nate e cresciute spontaneamente. In realtà sappiamo che tale ‘paradiso’ non è mai esistito, e ai nostri primordi c’erano terreni infidi e bestie feroci, tale e quale ai nostri giorni. Ecco quindi il concetto di sogno, o meglio del sognatore, che ci racconta di quella purezza ‘inesistente’ se non nei mondi della sua fantasia, una purezza di cui, comunque, abbiamo estrema necessità. Ecco quindi le sottili trame, un soffio dell’anima, sporcate da limpide gocce di suono, come di una marimba, o da un ‘chorus’ celestiale, come di un organo a canne di bambù, o da soffi vellutati, come di ‘flauti di pan’ suonati dal dio in persona. Tanta ascesi può far pensare a Messiaen, ma si corre il rischio d’essere fuorviati: Roden è Roden. Gli abbiamo già dedicato un abbondante spazio nei nostri articoli, ma mi rendo conto che non è mai troppo.

  • Wie das Album zu seinem etwas eigenwilligen Titel gelangt ist, lässt sich leicht in dem wunderschönen Booklet nachlesen und jede(r) nur peripher am lowercase-Genre Interessierte sollte dies auch tun; nachdem er/sie das Album erstanden hat nämlich. Steve Roden, Sound Artist aus Los Angeles, ist in diesem Umfeld ja beileibe kein Unbekannter, und ich finde es eigentlich sehr erfreulich, ein ganzes Album von ihm auf einem heimischen Label veröffentlicht zu wissen. Zur Musik selbst. Es beginnt ganz standesgemäß mit einigen Minuten nahe dem (vermeintlichen…) Nullpunkt, die man nutzen kann, um den Volumeregler im Uhrzeigersinn leicht aus dem gewohnten Bereich zu bewegen. Hierbei muss man gar nicht übertreiben und die wunderbaren glockenspielähnlichen Töne nach etwa zehn Minuten geben erstmal einen recht guten Anhaltspunkt zur Einstellung der gewünschten Lautstärke. Ist diese gefunden, entwickelt sich das Album zu einer wahren Fundgrube. Die vierzig Minuten Spieldauer sind gut gewählt, und zeichnen sich durch eine angenehme Vielschichtigkeit aus. Konzentration hilft naturgemäß bei der Entdeckungsreise, auch wenn die Ursprünge der Klänge, sieht man von einer namentlich genannten Bambusflöte von Bernhard Günter, der darüber hinaus auch fürs Mastering zuständig war, bedeckt gehalten werden. Was ich in diesem Fall als einen richtigen Schritt empfinde, ich stelle während des Hörens köstlich wenig Konnotation her, bin eher von den außergewöhnlichen Soundscapes fasziniert, die im Laufe der Zeit auf einer feinen, detaillierten Grundierung (hier kann ich die Flöte übrigens gut erkennen) auftauchen und wieder verschwinden. Was soll ich sagen, words fail me, es gibt eine ganze Menge wirklich erstaunlicher, wunderschöner Momente auf diesem Album. Ich kann es mit nichts vergleichen, es trägt eine ganz eigene Charakteristik, ist erfüllt von einem positiven, fast kindlichen Touch und jedenfalls eine seltsame, unbedingt hörenswerte Ausnahmeerscheinung in diesem Genre.

    tobias bolt / quiet noise