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Plaqué 7" Loop Dubplate (limited to 3 pieces)

Plaqué Review

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PETER SCHUBERT & ANDREAS USENBENZ – “PLAQUÉ”

Plaque CD Artwork, Physical

Plaque CD Artwork, Physical

In Carsten Seiffarth’s 2009 essay for the Goethe Institute, Sound Art was called a “New Art Form.” As in – it is an established artform but it only plays a fringe role on the outskirts of the art world, as visitors to galleries will testify.

One of the reasons this may be happening is that the very oeuvre of Sound Art is inextricably linked to the location it is presented at. For example, take a look/listen to the World Expo in Brussels, 1958, at which Varese debuted Poèm électronique.

The same goes for Plaqué by Peter Schubert & Andrea Usenbenz. These works are tied up with spatial as well as historic roots. There is the element of the snapshot of a time when you listen back to the recording of an installation – summoning the genii locus of a place & time & modus operandi long since vanished.

Plus, if you couple the fact that there are few art galleries equipped to deal solely with sound art … well, that is in part the ceremony of the modern day vinyl revival that has made vinyl hold out against CDs and Digital. People go to a gallery to look at an image; they create a ceremony out of it as opposed to looking at the image online. People create a ceremony out of listening to vinyl – and the same should be for all forms of audio, even birdsong. Is that lost with sound art on a home system? Not if you create a ceremony out of it.

A question that could be asked in the case of “Plaqué” by Usenbenz & Schubert: is it “just” an archival recording of a long gone performance? As with Varese’s Poème électronique, “Plaqué” was created for a specific event. Plaqué marked the 200th birthday of Daniel Straub, whose diligence in Geislingen shaped the small German town for decades to come. It was he who was involved in the construction of the railroad line and founded the famous company called WMF, which produces kitchenware and cutlery to this date.

Usenbenz and Schubert traced Straub’s history in the Geislingen of our present, walking around the modern versions of his old haunts. The collected field recordings were presented as a live performance. This served as a preliminary work and a basis for the work now published herein.

“Plaqué” is not just a recorded performance, it is an advanced work, a new composition containing additionally recorded material. It gently loosens its spacial and temporal roots without losing its contextual base. The result is strangely fascinating and universally relevant, slow in temperament – almost a churched requiem with the undertones of an organ. It is an independent piece of sound art, which deserves the same form of attention and appreciation as a painting or a sculpture. Even if it’s not a unique piece, entering one art collection, but an edition that will be enjoyed by 200 collectors.

“Plaqué” will be released on Klanggold on December 18th 2017.

Bell’s Breath transforms the tolling of the bells in the Ulm Minster into a work of sound art. This project by Andreas Usenbenz was created for the 125th anniversary of the minster spire’s completion and was presented in the form of an audio installation inside the minster in the fall of 2015. Andreas Usenbenz is self-taught. Since 2000, he is working in sound-art between field recording, composition and improvisation. For his work Usenbenz primarily uses sounds from his immediate surroundings. These sounds can be sampled directly from the environment. They serve as starting material for his compositions. Drone Music or musique concrète, Ambient are genres which are heavily connected to Andreas work. Andreas Usenbenz has taken a raw recording of the tolling of the minster bells at Ulm and created a piece that is disassociated with the emotion extolled by the original master. But this is no remix. The peal of the minster bells are welcome to most, but grate to others. With Bells Breath, Usenbenz re-frames a sound and emotion that is pan-European in to a work that is refreshingly astute and modern. Using layer upon layer of process sound, Usenbenz forms an ambient piece where artwork and location become an inseparable one. What the audience experiences is an amplified perception of itself. Very minimal and, dare I say it, very cool – “Bells Breath” references the minimalist artworks that came out of the late 1960’s. A new understanding of art was being developed in contrast to abstract painting. Part of it was an abandonment of categories that had been considered essential until then, like the aesthetic experience or the artists signature style. Industrially produced materials were now being used, every day objects were stripped bare of their function. Experiencing art turned into an experience of self-awareness on behalf of the audience. If you are familiar with the genre of minimal music – this album, ‘Bells Breath’ is a stand out example of the genre. Not too clever, not too flat: just right. Andrew/ sigilofbrass

New Review for Bells Breath