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CD Feature/ Noise-Maker's Fifes: "Zona Incerta"

img  Tobias

It is always interesting to see how impossible it remains to faithfully reconstruct the world around us through sound. Self-proclaimed keepers of the arts hold a clear disinclination towards the mere collection and composition of noise, but even holding a microphone outside of your window will not result in a street you can burn to CD-R. The mysterious messages of the manifold media reach us through a murky filter and our minds can only respond with muted recognition, spaces of our imagination folding in and out of each other in endless dimensions. Take “Zona Incerta”, for example. There is nothing to be found here which is, strictly speaking, foreign to our ears. And yet what these two tracks spread out over two sides of vinyl evoke is far beyond the imaginable.

Taking the systematic approach brings us one step closer towards the edge of the enigma. We learn that the title refers to “a small region of gray matter that is part of the subthalamus" (which, as it turns out, is part of the diencephalon, which is a region of the brain occupied with visceral activity). In a broader sense, it also epitomises a place full of uncertainty, of unknown parameters and laws. Made up of a variety of aural scenes, which melt seemlessly from one into the next, from the small into the big and from two seperate sides into a continous listening experience, “Zona Incerta” is either nothing or everything, according to your point of view. I’ll admit it straight away: I hardly noticed this release the first time I put it up. Extreme low-pitch drones blow spooky like the wind around an empty barn at midnight, while waves of subdued metalic scracthings hit the screen. There is an overall-impression of all-devouring discretenss, a music so subtle it can not be placed. Side two, with its recordings of Kenyan insects and only occasional onomatopoetic objections, is even less immediately tangible. But despite the first impression of insignificance, something profound remains, growing inside the imagination and injecting intense images into the neural system. Connections are established, links created and suddenly, there is a landscape, which stretches in greyish blue across the horizon, while the eye scans its surface area. Nothing is entirely “real” here, everything is either blown out of proportion or reduced to pocket-size: The turning of a tap screams like a giant factory, endless oceans of water fill a bathroom basin, while monstrous machinations whisper softly into your ear. And then you finally grasp what all of it means: This is placeholder-music meant to distort the original image, metaphoric music intended to deepen the significance of the underlying vocabulary, zen-music which represses almost everything in order to express the all-encompassing and visual music which helps to truly listen once again. If a record shop were in need to put a label on it, then musique concrete with an exclamation mark would do it.

Maybe what makes “Zona Incerta” so addicitive is its implied suggestion that all of this can actually be fully understood by only concentrating on it often enough. Which, of course, is a trap. The more you zoom in on it, the blurrier it gets and the more it leads to misunderstandings. After all, when all is said and done, this could nothing but a seemingly random collection of noises from the world around us, enhanced with a few effects and pasted together by a group of Belgian artists who have fifteen years of experience in sound manipulation. It is the moment that you let go of this superflous information that you truly experience their magic. For that imaginary microphone is always pointed towards the inside.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Drone Records

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