Review – physical, absent, tangible (contour editions) 2010 – by BNG, WHITE-LINE

physical, absent, tangible – Compilation (contour editions) 2010

A compilation of sorts, “Physical, Absent, Tangible” brings together the creations of five artists on a new imprint curated by none other than Richard Garet. Garet’s own works have set the benchmark for soundscaping and sound installation art over the last few years, with releases on a clutch of influential labels worldwide. No surprise then, that an ear for quality control and a talent for working with discerning and intriguing artists has brought to fruition this debut edition on Contour.

I8u’s opener crystallises an interest in auditory minutiae, exploding the almost imperceptible world of the quantum and the superstrings theory, the physical world reduced to digital noughts and ones, Brownian motion set under a sonic microscope perhaps.

De Laurenti’s winding, acousmatic inversions home in on the non-physicality of source material as the locus for a pair of emergent pieces formed from the detritus of malfunctioning equipment, and hard data manipulation and construction. The second part in particular is self destructing, slowly, entropically, like a looped tape that is slowly wiping and dissolving over time, a receding memory trace, with a heterodyne clicking permeating the background.

Sanson works on a series of eight sketchy collages that he likens to assemblages of photographs, maps, old films, a meta-narrative construction that acts like a kind of auditory scrapbook, of half remembered places and events, that even the artist cannot place in his memory. Amongst this ferment of shards, Sanson’s psyche might be revealed in a curious, Ballardian reconstruction of hazy remnants, a kind of grab-bag of activities and presences, that once collaged and re-assembled, might decode or unlock some lost or repressed memory.

Mackern and Galli’s work is based on electro-magnetic interferences from the Santa Rosa storm in Uruguay, these radio frequency elements, combined with hardware hacking, and circuit bending, serve to uncloak the formerly hidden auditory signature of radio atmospherics caused by the storm – what ancient people perceived as the hypothetical “Voice of God”. This is a crackling, fizzing work, peppered with verbal interferences and strange, atonal surges, that remind me of a Storm Chaser’s bad acid trip.

All in all , this is a fine debut from a label that promises to deliver a compelling mixture of intelligently sourced material, fused with a diverse roster of artists from around the globe, taking in elements of minimalism, installation art, field recording, and everything in between. Watch this space.

contour editions