Taus – Pinna (Another Timbre)
“(The artist) creates a quiet music in order to give himself and his listeners the opportunity to hear more, and better.”
I lifted that quote from the notes to Jakob Ullmann’s fremde zeit addendum, but it could equally apply to Pinna; likewise an exhortation to play the record at a volume that “barely mask(s) the ambient sounds in the room”.
Pinna was performed live in Vienna in July 2010 by Tim Blechmann and Klaus Filip of Taus, both using laptops.
In a revealing interview for Another Timbre, Blechmann explains the pains Taus took to create a unique “sonic space” within the small church hosting the concert:
“Klaus uses only sine waves, while I am playing noise textures and crackle sounds…For Klaus’s sine waves, it doesn’t really matter where you place the speakers, but he always likes to have a subwoofer to be able to play very low-frequency sounds. But for my noise textures, the placement of the speakers matters a lot because they are very easily locatable, and I try to play different sounds on different speakers.”
Given that attention to spatial specifics, and the fact that the recording wasn’t originally intended for release, it’s remarkable how absorbing the final product is, and it’s no surprise that Blechmann and Filip are pleased with it.
“The microphones captured the sound from the speakers, the reverberation of the space…and all kinds of environment sounds like birds, audience movements, people passing by, etc. It was probably one of our most relaxed concerts. As it was a rather hot weekend in July, not so many people came…and therefore the situation was very concentrated.”
The result is one of the most atmospheric recordings I’ve heard.
With the performance beginning at the sensory threshold, the listener is drawn in by the close-captured environmental sounds, such as birds on the wing. And with playback at normal volume settings, the first two thirds of the recording seem to pass almost subliminally, any consciousness of local background noise falling away. The gradual amplification of low frequency sound then subsumes silence, while Blechmann’s textures, ghosted by Filip’s sine waves, hold the ear.
Dentistry – Vardøgr (Forwind)
Dentistry’s Vardøgr is a very different proposition, a larval coagulum of synthesised sound.
Both Patrick Fennelly and Cian Walker play synths and laptop in this Dublin trio, alongside bassist Jason Joomun. Walker is also credited with live processing.
Recorded in the studio, the mood sustained across the five untitled pieces of Vardøgr is dark and occluded, albeit each has distinctive differentiating subtleties.
Dentistry’s methodology is neither as situational nor as ambient as Taus’. Riffing on 70s kosmiche methodology, the trio’s dark ambience, with its generational hum of grimy voltage, has much in common with KTL’s genre-mere of doom and electronica.
“Vardøgr” is a Norwegian word defining “a premonitory sound or sight of a person before he arrives…a reverse episode of déjà vu perhaps” (forwind.net), an apposite appellation for such portentous mood music.
I’m less taken with Dentistry as a collective noun, though it might evoke the dissociation effect enjoyed by those under conscious sedation. Dentistry’s music evokes, in a perversely gratifying way, just such a state of mental stasis; lacking in emotional depth and colour, yet weirdly compelling.
Toshimaru Nakamura and John Butcher – Dusted Machinery + Skogen – Ist gefallen in den Schnee
Forwind label roundup: Fourth Page – Ticks and Moans, Sonnamble – Blindlight, Elvers – Elvers