Artist: John Hudak
Title: Sand Or Stars
Catalog Number: and/16
Release Year: 2005
Format: CD
Status: Sold Out

Track List:
01. (untitled)
02. (untitled)
03. (untitled)
Comparisons between the sand of the earth with the stars above are
many, but comparisons of this release by American composer John Hudak
with his previous work are far less to be found.

The first track on
Sand Or Stars is unlike much of John's previous work in
that it features sharp staccato percussive sounds suddenly dodging in and
out, but nevertheless it still has John's "endless" compositional sense
written into it. A subtle sense of humor seems to be inherent in the piece as
well, as if some of the sounds hesitate with indecision as to whether or not
they should make their presence known or perhaps they are trying to avoid
colliding with some of the other sounds. And upon listening to this piece, be
careful with volume settings at first listen, because the listener will quickly
discover another aspect of this piece that is unlike much of John's previous
work: sudden volume shifts. This seems to suggest that the sounds are also
changeable in temperament as well.

The second piece on this CD is perhaps the most meditative of the collection
with its muted midrange buzzing that jumps around within the stereo
spectrum, perhaps being reminiscent of musical radar signals or
sonifications of normally inaudible activity occurring in a planet's
magnetosphere, all the while maintaining a benevolent warmth throughout.

And what could possibly be described as the amplification of rolling ion
particle blasts being broadcast via shortwave radio, tells us that we have
reached the third and final piece of this collection of what could be
considered as being among John Hudak's finest works.

Sand Or Stars was mastered by Stephan Mathieu.
Paris Transatlantic  (October 2005)
Given today's irrepressible tendency to make classification prevail over
actual substance, a work like Sand or Stars is difficult to describe. You could
say it sounds wholly unadulterated; Hudak is well known for his personal
take on reductionism (not in the lowercase improv sense of the word),
usually starting from environmental recordings that capture the essence of a
single sound source (he once put contact microphones on the Brooklyn
Bridge), transforming it into small molecules and granular self-cloning
clusters of indecipherable activity. What appeals to the ear is the barely
regular sonic shape and peculiar logic as these bionic manifestations flutter
around the listening space, peeking from various angles of a structure with
no apparent architecture, moving from a percussive/metallic bouncing via a
delicate brain massage of hypnotic buzzing frequencies to a reverb-drenched
passage whose nature seems to be aquatic - but I wouldn't bet on it.
(Massimo Ricci)
Vital Weekly  (September 2005)
It has been quite a while since I last heard a work by Hudak, so this disc
comes as a very nice re-introduction to his work. The CD contains three
tracks, all of which clock between 17 and 20 minutes. The compositions are
the same: a long stretch of stretched sounds, edited and put together almost
at random. Of course this has a purpose: it pulls the listener to focus on the
sound itself, instead of on development in time. This character of the music
is enhanced by the duration of the tracks: after 5 to 7 minutes time becomes
quite irrelevant and the quality of the sounds is all important. And here lies
Hudak's great strength: the original material is treated so very well, that one
keeps listening to the sounds, intent on grabbing them in some way, while
they themselves elude captivity all the time. This is a pretty miraculous feat
and one that Hudak maintains throughout the whole disc. Excellent listening
experience!  (Roel Meelkop)
Cookie Scene  (August 2005)
The latest work by haiku poet of sound John Hudak. He has recorded 3 long
tracks with the sound of tapping on a tin can as source material processed
until it sounds like sand or stars (and I understand that  the conclusion of
whether it is sand or stars is then left to the listener). His alchemic craft,
applied to full effect here, encourages the structuring of a storyline in the
listener's brain through sound-processing accompanied by a superb sense
of concept and aesthetics.  With mastering by close friend Stephan Mathieu.
(Kazumichi Sato - English translation by Jonathan Way)
E / I  Magazine  (Winter / Spring 2006)
Hudak's Sand Or Stars offers three long compositions, each a meditation on
incomprehensibility and enormity. Like most of Hudak's recent digital
recordings,
Sand explores small "non-referential" sound events and
strategies of restatement, variation. In contrast to the thematic conceit, each
of these feels relatively stable, confident, and seems to inhabit small, womb
like spaces rather than the quantum topographies of an unquantifiable
expanse. Resistant to language more than to counting, these are less
remarkable only against the backdrop of Hudak's consistently strong work.  
(William S. Fields)
Smallfish  (July 2006)
John Hudak has this uncanny knack of being able to entrance and hypnotize
you with the most reduced and seemingly simplistic manipulations. However
there's an awful lot more going on than it initially seems. This is constructed
out of three very distinct works that range from micro-fractured electronics -
which have been processed from an unknown sound source - to a more
friendly and deep drone-based style. There are links with his work on Con-V
and Spekk, although these pieces are actually more varied in style. Stephan
Mathieu has mastered the CD to the highest possible standard and, once
again, and/OAR have delivered a superb album. Recommended.
(Mike Oliver)