Staplerfahrer and Tilburg sound deserts

January 24, 2013
By Travis Bird

In abstract sound exploration, there’s some kind of instinct that guides certain folks, who seem to simply feel things on an uncommon level. Few I’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, “Burying Lamps In The Deep Solitude” (Striate Cortex) shows off de Turck’s engagingly slow pacing. Extended sine tones and field recordings are punctuated with blasts of noise, oscillations, and rogue guitar notes. It’s minimal in the sense that there are few elements and they’re allowed to move and breathe, but it’s not really in the usual spiritual/meditative mode; there’s a sense of the musician at work throughout each piece, a more exploratory feel. De Turck isn’t afraid to play a watery field recording for several minutes before introducing extremely light processing. Even in such abstract environs, there’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.

“Exiled in Bilbao” works in a similar way in a collaborative format. A co-release by a quartet of labels (including de Turck’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, there’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 Turck’s strengths as an improviser, composer, and tinkerer, his patience and contemplation stemming from a true affinity for sound for its own sake.

Staplerfahrer, “Burying Lamps In The Deep Solitude” CD (Striate Cortex)

Larraskito Audio Dissection Unit, “Exiled in Bilbao” CD (Dim, Gold Soundz, TIBProd., Series Negras)

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2 Responses to Staplerfahrer and Tilburg sound deserts

  1. S.C.47.STAPLERFAHRER « striatecortex on January 25, 2013 at 7:01 am

    [...] [...]

  2. Tilburg sound deserts « staplerfahrer on January 25, 2013 at 7:54 am

    [...] can also read it on the Digitalis site over here (along with lots of other great in depth reviews and [...]

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