In abstract sound exploration, thereâ€™s some kind of instinct that guides certain folks, who seem to simply feel things on an uncommon level. Few Iâ€™ve heard recently have honed this instinct as well as the Dutchman Steffan de Turck, as exemplified on a pair of 2012 releases under his Staplerfahrer moniker.
A Staplerfahrer solo CD, â€śBurying Lamps In The Deep Solitudeâ€ť (Striate Cortex) shows off de Turckâ€™s engagingly slow pacing. Extended sine tones and field recordings are punctuated with blasts of noise, oscillations, and rogue guitar notes. Itâ€™s minimal in the sense that there are few elements and theyâ€™re allowed to move and breathe, but itâ€™s not really in the usual spiritual/meditative mode; thereâ€™s a sense of the musician at work throughout each piece, a more exploratory feel. De Turck isnâ€™t afraid to play a watery field recording for several minutes before introducing extremely light processing. Even in such abstract environs, thereâ€™s something narratively engaging; like an accomplished jazz musician, de Turck always seems to know where he is and how a given moment relates to the whole.
â€śExiled in Bilbaoâ€ť works in a similar way in a collaborative format. A co-release by a quartet of labels (including de Turckâ€™s own Dim Records imprint), Larraskito Audio Dissection Unit is a crew of eight European ringers in different combinations, including Sindre Bjerga and Jan M. Iversen along with de Turck. Recording in Bilbao, Spain, the experts here bring a hugely diverse, inventive, and resourceful sound palette, making for some fascinating sound environments that are uniformly dynamic and evocative. Distorted guitar notes, single-note drones, rhythmic loops, and lively modular textures work with subtle field recordings to make up these pieces. There are time-based elements like radio static, but only the barest narrative emerges; instead, thereâ€™s a lot of imagery. At times sounding quite urban, at other times hinting at musicality, and at still other times overtly nature-oriented, they remain abstract and not easily categorized, all marked by an unhurried pacing and rare self-assuredness, especially in such a format. Both CDs showcase de Turckâ€™s strengths as an improviser, composer, and tinkerer, his patience and contemplation stemming from a true affinity for sound for its own sake.
Staplerfahrer, â€śBurying Lamps In The Deep Solitudeâ€ť CD (Striate Cortex)