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Net Feature/ Marcus Obst: „sky742790 (8k remix)“

img  Tobias

Marcus Obst can't sit still. Well, actually, he can, but there don't seem to be all too many moments without him working on music in his life. Next to releasing as a solo artist (on labels like Mystery Sea, Drone and Afe) or in collaboration with others (Mirko Uhlig, for example, on the still fresh „Farewell Fields“), he maintains a site on Field Recordings and associated issues and has now added a sister-netlabel to his by now well-established Field Muzick record outfit. The somewhat opaquely titled „sky742790 (8k remix)“ is the first outing on the promising imprint.

Even though the exact meaning of the name will probably remain Obst's little secret, we can provide you with an exact account of the story behind its creation. In Autumn of last year, ever-active Austrian soundartist Wolfgang Dorninger invited him to participate in a large live-electronics performance involving a combination of various remix techniques.

Operating from the Stop.Spot Festival in Linz, Dorninger used his own piece „8k“ as the source for a tripart modus operandi: First, he set about resculpting it using granular synthesis, then combined dubplates culled from the „8k“ sessions in a spontaneous and energetic quasi-DJ set. Finally, he established contact with a network of friends on the internet, with various artists joining him in real time.

Marcus Obst was one of them. His music on the night contained both the original version of Dorninger's composition and the live stream from the first phase of the event as well as prerecorded samples from other sessions (including Organ and Guitar). Passages from what he ended up with were bundled with extracts from the after-party and finally again processed and manipulated in the studio for the final mix.

In its essence, therefore, „sky742790 (8k remix)“ is something of a double-hybrid: The reworked remix of a reworked remix. It does not strive for historical correctness, nor is it content with simply taking the concert as a starting point. Obst is instead interested in how the incalculable and unimitable factor of the live situation, which is often lacking in many works of experimental music, can be included in a work whose collage-like character will cause many to describe it as „abstract“.

The solution to this goal is not as complicated as it may initially seem. Key to making things work is treating the sound sources as equal and of using the benefits of working at home with the same intuitive and improvisational state of mind as in the initial performance. „sky742790 (8k remix)“ moves with grace and without any obvious seems, yet it never sounds like an intellectually conceived work of highbrowed art.

Rhythms of plucked frequential strings peal from reverbed spaces, guitars are being reduced to atonal snarls, dub echoes are planted on the grounds of wind-swept fields and machinal whispers merge with dark and eery drones – there is an agreable degree of impredictability about this album.

The web has always been a good place to hang out at for Marcus Obst (whose newsletter regularly contains valuable links to worthwhile netlabel releases), but it is doubly so on this ocasion. A double-edged concept, which implies it can be enjoyed as a stimulating backing to online activities at a lower volume and as a sort of psychedelic brain massage at more prominent sound levels, it makes use of the multi-level functionality of the digital medium. Thanks to its inobtrusive nature, it can be listened to in an endless loop – there never needs to be a moment without music in your life any more either.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Marcus Obst/Field Muzick

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