Thomas Köner, "Daikan"

Saturday, 29 March 2003 19:33 Steve Smith Reviews - Albums and Singles
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Mille Plateaux
After my first listen to this album at a low volume level, I was a little worried because there didn't seem to be much going on; but luckily, subsequent listens on a decent system revealed a great level of detail, much of it buried under immense low end. The focal point is the periodic repetition of a low-pass-filtered percussive sound, stretched out to such an extent that its booming decay lingers long enough to reveal the slow fluctuations of a vibrating membrane. This is accompanied by a harmonically rich, but somewhat muted, midrange drone that very slowly fades from complete silence to full volume and then back again to nothingness, bringing new layers of sound with each iteration. The tonal elements resemble Köner's more recent Unerforschtes Gebiet recording in their texture and evocation of abandoned places. Here they are softer. The percussion and gradual variations in amplitude lend a mysterious—and somewhat human—element to an otherwise uninhabited landscape. Midway through the piece, the drone descends rather conspicuously through four closely-spaced notes, in what is reminiscent of a threateningly futuristic movie soundtrack. After this big event, some quiet, almost mechanical, filtered noise emerges, along with repeated bass-rich volume swells that sound like more stretched out percussion, this time played backwards. The slight hissing and patient rise and fall in volume are like breathing; and the middle part of this recording is really quite beautiful, despite the abundance of low-end making it almost claustrophobic and morose. Shades of the descending melody are audible as the original sounds return, and the drum sound re-enters and grows more and more extended throughout the remainder of the piece. It finally ends with a sustained rumble. Even with the limited range of sound that Köner seems to have confined himself to, Daikan is quite stunning and is a fine addition to the Köner collection. 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 September 2005 04:36