Intermission, 2007

— Album

Intermission was composed to accompany A Sac of Rooms Three Times a Day, an installation by artist Alex Schweder, which premiered at Suyama Space in Seattle, WA. The installation was comprised of two transparent, vinyl houses, one inside the other, that would inflate and deflate three times a day.

Derived from recordings of the four inflation fans, Intermission accompanied the piece during its two hour deflated phase; referencing its past movement, future activity, and resting present. The edited version of Intermission presented here, divorced of its surroundings, evokes the stillness and emptiness of a tundra landscape, creating its own environment of calm contemplation.

Track Listing

  1. Intermission


Photo by Steven Miller.

Read Reviews

  • A covert and laudably subtle piece of installation-derived brilliance by Yann Novak, this hour-long piece was designed to support the gallery project A Sac Of Rooms Three Times A Day by artist Alex Schweder. The installation itself (premiered at Suyama Space in Seattle) involved two transparent vinyl houses, one inside the other, inflating and deflating three times per day, and this composition sources its sounds from recordings of the four inflation fans. The piece actually played back during the deflated stages of the installation, lingering like a ghostly remnant of the process, but even divorced from this context there’s a strange potency to this humming mass of textures and overtones. Fans (sorry) of this sort of thing might be reminded of Eric La Casa’s wonderful air.ratio album on Sirr, depicting the flow of air currents through various ventilated spaces. While the peculiarities of its conception render Intermission an inevitably less varied and rigorous work than La Casa’s there’s still something mesmerically absorbing about these muted, grey textures. Highly recommended.
    – Boomkat

  • Intermission’s embryonic life was as part of a Seattle sound installation, “A Sac of Rooms Three Times a Day,” wherein two transparent vinyl houses one inside the other that were inflated and deflated three times a day. It sees the light of day as an edited extract from the deflation section, source sounds being four inflation fans which, after electronic manhandling, end up as if configured into a three-tiered sound perspective – along the lines mapped by film and radio sound designers like Walter Murch and Murray Schafer – of ground, field and figure. The one-hour soundscape presented by Yann Novak has just these three elements: a relatively smooth low-end ground drone, like a long invariant sinetone of minimal oscillation; a field of whooshy cloud-tones – in effect the main active protagonist of the piece – that seem to cycle periodically across the ground, now like waves breaking quietly onto a shore, now like distant deep wheezey whale-lunged breathings; and a figure – present like a kind of non-irritant tinnitus- in the form of a high-end buzz-cum-whistle overtone, initially liminal, but intensifying into a sustained piping. This is essentially all you get for 60 minutes, with perhaps a few tweaks of volume or resonance. There’s no ebb to its flow, until the final ten minutes where the ground is removed to leave field and figure exposed. And, in a sense, what you get is all you need if this kind of field-work at the less conventionally musical end of the spectrum is what floats your drone-boat. Melody is absent, harmony an occasional tentative listener hypothesis. Removed from surrounding context of its conceptualization, its static – vaguely malevolent yet somehow serene – insistence could almost be a louder American cousin of Köner’s glacial sub-drift. In fact at times the overall experience feels like listening to a less rugged version of Monos (esp. Generators) or a less interventionist Coleclough.
    – Igloo Magazine

  • Leafing through the as-yet modest back catalogue, two complementary works released earlier this year within a month of one another and featuring Novak deserve special attention. Both deal with how sound, as much as architecture, defines the characteristics of a given space…A month later Dragon´s Eye released Novak´s “Intermission”. This piece was created to accompany another artist´s installation, comprised of two transparent vinyl houses, one inside the other, inflated and deflated thrice daily. A photograph of the deflated dwellings, echoing the cover of Auditiorium, graces the album cover.Novak recorded the efforts of the four large machines to inflate the sculpture, which was then played back while the vinyl lay in its flaccid state. This CDR edition proves that “Intermission” is one soundtrack that serves equally well as a strictly audio piece, evoking a sense of calm yet causing a slight shivver. Who knew the hum of giant electrical fans could be so musical?
    – Sonomu

  • Label boss Yann Novak’s ‘Intermission’ is a piece of work that accompanied an installation by artist Alex Schweder. The piece, entitled ‘A Sac Of Rooms Three Times A Day’ involved the inflation and deflation of 2 transparent vinyl houses. Yann used recordings of the fans used to inflate the houses and it gives rise to an earthy, pulsating and dense drone flavoured work that subtley shifts in tone over time. I love this end of the electronic drone music style as it has a calming, serene sound that’s contemplative and surprisingly accessible. For fans of labels such as NVO or Line this is a must. Excellent.
    – Smallfish

  • Featuring the edited sounds from an installation piece of the same name, where the inflatable nature of the piece is directly connected to the sounds, since they were taken from the inflation fans, we encounter massive humming drones of blurred, fricative nature and constant high overtones that coexist in horizontal, static manner. The sheer scale of the process renders the vast breathing cycles virtually imperceptible.
    – Modisti

  • Considered away from the physical space they were originally designed to accompany, both the Intermission and Auditorium discs are two parts of the same parcel, Eno’s On Land stripped of the land, music for empty airports. Intermission’s 60 (minute) cycle hum epitomizes both Brian E’s definition and Satie’s precepts regarding “furniture music.” The drones here simulate the respiration of a giant’s lungs, pensive movements of clammy air that assume fictional shapes, suggestive of things heard but unseen, tangible and palpable to the touch. Registers set at the intended low volume, this symphony of minimalist existentialism wreaks a subtly hypnotic havoc on the inner ear, and is totally immersive sans its tactile raison d’etre. Auditorium’s soundwaves ripple more malevolently—this invert “maximalist” music is the cochlea of that giant’s ear vibrating like an earthquake’s aftershocks. I can imagine that the fluttering bass frequencies grounding this recording made for uneasy listening in the art-space. At home, the surrounding affectation don’t get in the way of the speaker cones, which tremble under the weight of the steam blasts and disintegrating hisses that emerge from Novak and Droun’s hiccuping harddrives. The collaboration with Bennett, the 27-minute “Brooklyn in Seattle (altered),” continues Novak’s obsession with bringing cityscapes to febrile life. Using Bennett’s recordings of Brooklyn’s traffic noise, street tonalities and random urban didactics, Novak’s resultant sonic canvas transmutes the brick and mortar landscape into something alien and exotic yet puzzlingly familiar, Brooklyn as viewed through the tattered celluloid of Blade Runner, tics, wisps and clicks simulating a Gotham acid rain. Housed in an ultra-white digipak embossed in a bas relief of the lower borough, only 25 of these spectral jewels were minted—well worthy of acquisition.
    – e/i Magazine

  • Yann Novak runs the Dragons Eye Recordings that released his work ‘Intermission’ which supports the sound installation called ‘A Sac of Rooms Three Times a Day’ from the artist Alex Schweder who exhibited it at Suyama Space in Seattle. The installation consisted of two houses made out of vinyl that were one inside the other and three times a day were inflated and deflated. Novak’s music was focused on the deflated process and in particular ‘Intermission’ is an edition of the four original hours that the music was used for the installation. Along 60 minutes the music essentially deals with drones which are covered by modular waves that get into a loop and a sharp note emerges and intensifies gradually. This is a deep and hallucinating trip where we encounter desolation and mystery. Novak invite us with a special sense for contemplation to an endlessly voyage.
    – Loop