Saturday, 10 July 2010


Despite the obligatory credit to Fabra and Håfström – active participants in the installations of which this music constitutes the sonic component – the sounds in Graf Spee were entirely generated by Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, a bona fide master of the subliminal action of frequencies on the brain. The sources are unspecified – sine waves, presumably – but the authority that these permanent wavering pitches establish on the listener’s will is inescapable and, ultimately, desirable, as one literally becomes addicted to this type of nerve-kneading feeling. For the umpteenth time, though, I wonder why we can’t have a chance of listening to this sort of material via CD. If these propagations were conceived for a walking space, the necessity of flipping a vinyl (also existing in a 50-copy “art” edition with a pictorial insert signed by the artists) tears the mesmerizing enchantment to pieces.

The first part is the most “minimalist”, if you forgive the expression. An incessant throb that mutates according to the volume level and the position you’re in (needless to say: no headphones) is interspersed by an indeterminate “something” that I couldn’t manage to decipher, a fragment of a church choir maybe, or just an electronic invention (in that case, all the more flabbergasting for this reviewer) appearing in a mist and emitting a short enigmatic figuration, a question mark of sorts in a brainwashed gaze. The oscillations perceived when playing this segment loud are extraordinary, almost hurting the rear of the head in selected circumstances. At moderate levels, the effect is not too far from Eliane Radigue’s mind-numbing processes. Please consider the latter a mere reference: Von Hausswolff is Von Hausswolff.

Side two is even more mysterious, if possible. A concise hypnotic section is repeated for 12 times, giving a “rhythm” to our attention which is called out, sustained and abandoned in a minute and a half or so, only to be coaxed back by the exact replica of the previous track, until conclusion. The snippet per se is another fulfilling coalition of pulsating tremors, felt in the body and vibrating through the cranium rather than “heard”. Its plausibility is confirmed by the physical acceptance of it as a natural phenomenon acknowledged on a primary manifestation. After a while, we hope that it never stops, as if suddenly threatened of being deprived of an essential element for survival.