catalog number: moar3
title: Comme
format: CD
status: available
Billy Gomberg (b 1979, Chicago) is a musician and video
artist living in Brooklyn, New York. His studio practice
incorporates analog synthesis, digital treatments,
acoustic recordings and custom programming that gives
rise to electronic sound caught gazing at its own
physicality, acoustics in love with their own abstraction.

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' - it's presence as
we listen gives it expression, our listening finds its
language." (Billy Gomberg)

Billy has exhibited or performed in New York, Boston,
Providence, London, Lisbon, Graz, and Zurich to name a
few, plus he was one of the artists featured at the first
and/OAR label showcase event during February of 2009.

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)

(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)

  (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