Review of Mit Ohne [12k2010]

Textura (.ORG)

Though presented here in audio form only, Mit Ohne is actually a collaborative work by Ralph Steinbrüchel and Yves Netzhammer, more specifically an audio-visual installation named The feeling of precise instability when holding things which was presented in 2003 at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, Switzerland. In the display, Steinbrüchel’s sound pieces were synchronized to Netzhammer’s slowly mutating movements of 3D animation imagery. Even without the visual dimension (apparently a three-part projection was augmented by a multi-channel sound presentation), Steinbrüchel’s seven tracks—four of them less than two minutes each—suggest a sense of movement through geographical space, a feeling further reinforced by having each of the pieces flow uninterruptedly into the next.

In the first part, the soft patter of crystalline tones initially resembles drops in a puddle before elongating into a blurry whole. A swelling surge announces the onset of part two, after which bright melodic fragments shimmer and glisten in the third. Part four is the longest of the set and, more than any of the others, its droning layers of slow-motion tones encourage reflection. As the work moves towards its close, the static-laden and insistent sixth is capped by a serene seventh. Mit Ohne‘s pretty drones of glistening tones and soft pitter-patter are exactly the kind of understated and polished sound sculpting one expects from 12k and, for that matter, the release wouldn’t sound put of place on ROOM40 either.

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