attenuation effect ° 1028 ° 2021 recording, mastering, photos and design by EMERGE original sounds by AALFANG MIT PFERDEKOPF originally released by Verato Project in 2005 remastered in 2021 thanks to Mirko Uhlig and Claudius Fischer attenuationcircuit.de°firstname.lastname@example.org
Ambient and free improvisation are a great match. Purists of each of these genres may disagree But the label programme of attenuation circuit has proven time and again that deeply atmospheric music can be co-created in spontaneous interaction. The work of label head Sascha Stadlmeier aka EMERGE is a case in point. His extensive touring in the past decade has led to numerous live collaborations that have also found their way into the label’s releases.
This new album, too, consists of two live sets in which EMERGE was involved, recorded a few months apart in 2018. The first of the two tracks is a collaboration with Polish project Limited Liability Sounds, recorded in Paris. The second, recorded in Bochum (Germany), is a collaboration with Gerald Fiebig, with whom EMERGE already played some of his earliest collaborative shows years ago in the early 2010s. A comparison with EMERGE and Fiebig’s earlier collaborative releases such as “compound”, recorded in 2011, shows what a long way they have come in terms of both their individual musical strategies and their approach to instant composition.
Both tracks on this album are remarkably consistent – rather than just two live recordings packaged together, this is an album with a common compositional “theme”. Both tracks explore the merging and contrasting of extended, laminar, harmonic sounds and rhythmic samples. Found sounds and field recordings play a role in the compositions, but not as referents of the “real”. Instead, they are given a rather psychedelic treatment, opening up dreamscapes that are sometimes (perhaps deceptively?) tranquil, sometimes ominous – but never monotonous. This mix makes for stimulating music that might open its listeners‘ minds to the diversity, and ambiguity, of the world.
Bu.d.d.A. – „Bund des dritten Auges“ is a fairly new project involving experimental musicians Sascha Stadlmeier (EMERGE, attenuation circuit) and Chris Sigdell (Leaden Fumes (ex-Phased), b°tong) and which plays meditative ambient drones. Sometimes they play with a guest musician, and sometimes not.For those who need names, it may sound like Troum meets Earth together with Eno… but in reality Bu.d.d.A. builds on the legacy of German industrial band NID (1995-2005), who Chris was a member of, and which released a post-humous CD on Auf Abwegen (Asmus Tietchens, etc.).
“steps” is composed exclusively from field recordings made at the Dachau Concentration Camp memorial site.
What is it that we’re hearing? Is it the wind? Is it the sea? Is it the crackle of a burning fire? Where are we? A great sense of loneliness pervades the quiet setting which we cannot quite make out. And then suddenly living creatures enter the sonic scene. Birds and people, their voices and their steps. They seem to be walking, walking past us, towards a destination we do not know. We cannot understand in what language or languages they are speaking – or can we? It is hard to make out, because everything they say is strangely muffled, although they are not speaking in a low voice. Everything we hear feels either too loud or too quiet, too close or too distant. As if some shock had happened to our hearing before we started listening to this album. Like a bomb exploding in close proximity to our ears. Or something so unimaginably terrible that it bent the acoustic space in the place from which these sounds come through to us. This is how the album “steps” begins.
The album “steps” is composed exclusively from field recordings made at the Dachau Concentration Camp memorial site. It is not possible to represent the horrors of concentration camps in music, and – a lesson learned from the many failures in the history of “industrial music” – the attempt to do so will inevitably result in trivialising kitsch, at best. Therefore, the album “steps” does not claim to be an album “about” a concentration camp, it is an album about a memorial site. Like the modern-day classic on the subject, “Gurs. Drancy. Gare de Bobigny. Auschwitz. Birkenau. Chelmo-Kulmhof. Majdaneck. Sobibor. Treblinka” by Stéphane Garin & Sylvestre Gobart (2011), “steps” goes to show to what extent contextual information about the sonic subject matter of a piece influences our listening. This artistic strategy can also be read in political terms: Only if we know the history behind these sounds – and the history of the place where they were recorded – are we able to make sense of the present.
For part 2, EMERGE invited sound artists from all over Europe to give their characteristic processing to the original audio field recordings. The resulting audio fragments are fed into the performance, symbolising a peaceful, solidary encounter of cultures – in deliberate contrast to the fact that people from many European countries were brought together in the Dachau concentration camp by utmost force.
File under: electroacoustic music, field recordings
steps 2 consists entirely of reworked field recordings by: