Wednesday, 12 May 2010

DIS.PLAYCE – Habitat

This CD contains 38 minutes extracted from the soundtracks of two cityscape installations: “Ian W.Coel” (Frankfurt) and “Karl Ortmann” (Karlsruhe). I usually approach this kind of record with extreme suspicion, as we’re by now grown used to – and pretty much worn out by – people utilizing field recordings with the purpose of not having a purpose. Take the sounds, place them on record, release it and go on to the next “project”. But Dis.Playce (Maximilian Marcoll and Hannes Seidl) added something that feeds our motivation: composition. The selections comprised by Habitat – whose dedications and intents are explained in detail in the inside leaflet - are interesting in a way that is proportional to the intelligence shown by the assemblers in the logical disposition and crafty merging of the single elements. Although it is a fascinating listen when you raise the playback level, feeling completely encircled by the urban manifestations characterizing both pieces, only through a headset one is able to determine the true value of the compositional endeavor, becoming aware of the many subtleties that the seaming of the different segments reveal. In synthesis, the sonic report functions even when separated by its original raison d’être.

I couldn’t understand if the mesmeric qualities of some of the parts derive from additional processing of the sources, or it’s just a mastery in looping the constituents in such a fashion that the cyclical imageries start generating a slight harmonious aura of their own. But the secret allure of this work lies exactly there, in that – more than sheer environmental gradations – we have the impression of hearing actual music. Entrancingly affecting our psyche, the soundscapes influence the circumstantial reality without the need of recurring to violent impacts (except for a short anarchic section in “Karl Ortmann”) or excessive schizophrenia. All it takes is concentration and wide-open ears, and the reward will soon materialize. Natural or metropolitan, the spirit of these echoes doesn’t matter; what really counts is the gratification that arises from the act of listening. A rare accomplishment in the rapidly expanding universe of self-professing “sound artists”.

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