“Stilhedens…” and “Untitled_V N Z” in Chain D.L.K

The title “Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod” (it should be Danish for “the flow of silence in the blood of the birds”) could fit to the sound you’ll meet in this release by Danish visual artist (I guess he made the meaningful collage of the cover artwork) and musician Paw Grabowski aka øjeRum: initially issued in a very strictly limited edition of 30 self-made cassettes in 2016 and recently re-issued by Italian label KrysaliSound, which kept the hiss of the tape during the mastering, the sound gets unrolled over a one single 30 minutes lasting track, based on repetitive loops of a slightly pinched acoustic guitar, sparse elongated sounds, abstract field recordings and other evanescent resounding entities (including birds, of course!). Paw shows he learnt the minimalist lesson by the way he stacks identical chords through unperceivable (the tonal ones) or clearly (the length of the whole phrase or of single tones) listenable variations, but besides some insertion like the hits on glass (following the same speed of the guitar chords after 7-8 minutes), the fading of music overwhelmed by almost silent field recordings in the middle of the recording and an unexpected flooding of an ambient ghostly pad in the last minutes, the composition is quite flat. It can match a vague sense of loneliness, a romantic (in the authentic meaning of the word…) dazed melancholy or a merely hermetic detachment, but a mushrooming of this dark-tinged ambient-folk in the music (more or less independent) market is getting closer to those cliches, that should maybe have been antithetical in the guise of many musicians orbiting around these sonorities.

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Besides an almost scientific approach to recording techniques and the general “sonic strategy” based on the idea that music can be squeezed from matter, one of the linking ring between this “Untitled_” (the tag that starts any title of his outputs) and the previous one (“Untitled_TeVeT”) on Francis M.Fri’s imprint KrysaliSound by Venetian musician and concrete performer Federico Dal Pozzo is maybe only water: the one turning into a 380 kilos weigh ice block on the latter, and the mini acousmatic concert of delays, echoes and a series of odd reverberations and mutations (where the liquid sonic source paradoxically seems to turn into a hiss or a fire crackle) of the dropping ones on the former. The other one could be its detachment into two related parts: as for “Untitled_TeVeT”, “Untitled_VNZ” (being VNZ, a sort of code derived from the first three consonants of Venezia, Italian for Venice, the conceptual and the material framework of this release) sounds like a bipartite acousmatic progression, whose watershed (occurring after 20-21 minutes) is an Italian sentence by a female voice, that appeared shredded in the first part saying something meaning “one second before I ask myself how it will be, one second after I think to the next time, but when I do that, it’s nice and I don’t think to anything else”. As the dropping water is the sparkle element of this first progression, the sparkle of the second part is another concrete distinguishing element of the sonic landscape of Venice, the toll of some church bells (I guess they’re the ones of St Mark’s Basilica), gradually re-morphed and melting with the likewise transformed sound of chirping birds; this intriguing amalgamation sounds like fading into an obscure synth pad, that Federico suddenly turns off, as if he can control the voltage of this sonic electric film. The isolated resounding frequencies, wisely extracted from the initial tolling bells, will soon fade into a maze of hissing noises, similar to the white noise related to broadcast of no signals on TV screens or radio, a disturbing chaos that Federico channels into a “balancing” sound before the final minutes where he seems to give voice to poltergeist musicians of Venetian ghosts, who seems to play a classical romanza in between the dying atoms of Federico’s pulverization. It’s everything but a cliched romantic sonic postcard of Venice, that maybe mirrors the shadow on that same cliche.

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