RNGMNN & KARINA DORIN – NEVER SLEEP AGAIN
Never Sleep Again – now that’s a scary title. And the Winter-Light label – specializing in deep ambient, experimental and drone soundscapes – is clearly not afraid of the dark. But don’t let this scare you away, because this collaboration is very much worth listening to – even if ‘our most unsettling fears are only a dream away’.
RNGMNN is the ‘haunting music alias’ of Berlin-based Ronny Engmann. Since 2007 he has released his music on various label such as Reverse Alignment and Cryo Chamber, and of course on Winter-Light. On Never Sleep Again he provides the atmospheric setting for Karina Dorin‘s vocals.
Don’t expect ‘songs’ in the traditional way. Karina Dorin‘s voice can sometimes be clearly heard, but at other times it is masqued using her effect pedals. After a classical music education and studying jazz, she found her calling in experimental electronic composition, and ‘delved into vocal sampling-based methods, incorporating the human voice into an electronic musical environment’.
The two found each other due to their shared musical interest and decided to work together. Dorin recorded her vocal tracks and sent them to Engmann. The ‘songs’ emerged in the usual exchange process, but were then rehearsed and finalized in Karina‘s studio. Which obviously went well, as can be heard on this album, but also because they were able to perform this work live. This will probably not the last time they work together.
SOVA STROJ – TRAVELLING WAVES II
There is a reason why the pipe organ (or church organ) has become a popular instrument for drone recordings in recent years. The incredible dynamics of the sound, for instance: from subtle sounds to thunderstorms and everything in between. But also because of its specific characteristics: the instrument seems to ‘breathe’ like a living being: the pump’s breathing, the pipes’ sighing, and its mechanical noises.
Travelling Waves II focuses on these distinct characteristics. It is recorded on the pipe organ in a former synagogue, which is part of the Dutch Willem Twee Studios (the same studio where Sova Stroj also recorded Travelling Waves I, which focused on the sound of the ARP 2500 synthesizer).
Sova Stroj is Luxembourg-based Michel Flammant. He approaches the organ like a wounded beast: ‘a beast that reacts to touch, groaning, snarling and changing position with snapping joints, scarred but very much alive. Instead of making the beast sing, I want to listen to what it had to say when I let it speak for itself.‘
And doing so, he unleashes the full power of the organ.
Some of these (four) tracks have a hint of a melody (like I.II), but at other times it simply focuses on the sonic characteristics of the organ. The first half of II.I, which – when played at an appropriate level – may vibrate anything in your house not properly attached.
Travelling Waves II is released on Élan Vital Recordings. The physical edition (CD) is limited to 20 copies.