VA: Audio Art Compilation 03

Gruenrekorder's compilation features soundscapes from India, Australia, Spain, the UK, and primarily Germany. Inhabiting one end of the spectrum are relatively ‘pure' field recordings (Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Lasse-Marc Riek) which build arrangements from ‘real' sounds (water ripples, birds, chanting voices, boat creaks, wind), the extreme case etzin/riek's “under the bonnet,” four minutes of engine car noise recorded at the Autobahnraststätte; at the other end are more conventionally musical pieces which stand out all the more for being fewer in number. The prettiest is music for one's live electric guitar setting, “Beginnings With No Ends,” where simple motifs and swooping arcs turn hypnotic as they grow in number. Compelling too is UK cellist Bela Emerson's “Subaqua” whose loops and effects generate swirling, kinetic rhythms that at times verge on country-techno. Ranging farther beyond are Suspicion Breeds Confidence's “Meriten der Begeisterungsresistenz,” a slow-moving exercise in psychedelic post-rock, and Martin Moritz's “Mitsubishi,” an anomalous sampling of bleepy techno sputter. More representative of the collection are pieces that straddle multiple realms: Stefan Funck's eerie, multi-layered dreamscape “NachtLKw,” Brandstifter's “Rauschgiftengelloops,” which drowns blurry choral voices in ambient noise, and “plait” by Australian sound artists Anthea Caddy and Thembi Soddell which layers violent cello scrapes over a nearly inaudible base. AudioArt Compilation 03 offers a good representation, then, of soundscape-related activity dedicated to exploring the ‘musicality of natural sound' though now might be as good a time as any to suggest a moratorium on bird and water sounds.

January 2007