[ reviews ]

a szellem álma35. a szellem álma [ rec. 2003 ]

> rel. 2004 - doubleCD .absolute.[koblenz], Germany (website)
Marc Behrens / Francisco López "A szellem álma" (CD - .absolute[koblenz], 2004)
Some collaborations are just meant to happen, but it still took over two years for this one to see the light of day. A Szellam Álma is part of Francisco López's series of collaborative albums released on his wandering imprint .absolute. This particular item came out on .absolute.[koblenz], a division of Bernhard Günter's label Trente Oiseaux, one of Marc Behrens' main channels. A Szellam clma is a two-CD set. Disc 1 features a 64-minute work in five parts by Behrens, composed from sound materials supplied by both artists. Disc 2 contains a single 74-minute track by López, again created from sound materials supplied by both parties. Whether these sound materials were the same or not is very hard to say and ultimately irrelevant. Traces of López's signature sounds (his white noise that is not quite white noise) and Behrens' soundshapes (shards) and pacing are found in both pieces, but in the end these two incarnations of A Szellam clma are basically typical works for each composer. Behrens' piece is rudimentary at first, shifting between periods of silence and white noise, and grows increasingly complex, with the addition of strobbing clicks, more delicate shapes and softer forms of nondescript sound matter to the building blocks he uses, all arranged in a way that suggests an impressive architecture yet never quite reveals its nature. López's piece is another exercise in self-disappearance. His textures occupy the physical listening space, establishing an abstract sonic ecosystem that becomes so obvious-sounding it vanishes from the listener's mind. Its presence is felt again only when it suddenly disappears. The prolonged silence that follows has the same effect: after a few seconds -- even minutes -- of waiting for the sound to reappear, the listener's attention wanders off and forgets about the disc still spinning in the CD player, until a new texture claims back the space a few minutes later. From shortwave-like in-between broadcasts to the sound of a loudspeaker breathing, both sounds and silences are as puzzling and confounding as ever. Which can be good or bad, depending on your degree of exposure to López's modus operandi. Canadian Online Encyclopedia All Music Guide, 2004

Marc Behrens / Francisco López "A szellem álma" (CD - .absolute[koblenz], 2004)
"a szellem alma", which means "the dream of a ghost", is a collaboration featuring Marc Behrens and Francisco López. The source material was made conjointly, but the individual artists set out the subsequent process of editing and arranging independently, and present us with the result, each on their own CD that is. At first, Marc Behrens' album resembles a world of noise bursts falling on top of each other, forming a cascade of hisses. Soon we are led into the world of microscopic events, from which subsequent waves of noise erupt. Microscopic events are layered on top of drones. It's fascinating to hear the composer's ability to build atmosphere through sound with what seems to be a relatively homogenic toolkit of source material. There are many unexpected turns, an abundance of micro-narratives forming small niches in an all-encompassing whole, a void populated by long dramatic stretches. López CD kicks off with a couple of minutes of silents. Mandatory. A deep rumble with organic rumbling hits us unexpectedly and continues to invade our field of hearing. Gusts of noise are added, fade away. López has done it again. We are made ingredients of a sonic machinery, where López pulls the occasional lever, and thus provokes a claustrophobic experience. More silence. We are gradually pulled back in the maze of hisses and drones, and are let go when we least expect it. Two different artists, and two very different kinds of movement. Whereas Behrens presents a more delicate and introvert piece, López has built a capturing machinery that knocks off of our feet. Both, however, succeed in capturing our attention, and display their fine ability to craft with sound. Phosphor Magazine (The Netherlands), 2004 (12/04)