Harald Guenter Kainer - Adolar [Gruenrekorder/Gruen Digital - 2012]
Adolar, an album-length audio component of the ‘Luftblicke’ in October 2011 in Graz (Austria), marks the entrance of Austrian Harald Guenter Kainer onto the contemporary academic drone scene. Structured around data specifying distances between Earth and various stars, Adolar is an experiment in contrasting sonic representations of distance. At the exhibition, loops of varying length colluded in various combinations to assist the listener’s attention toward contemplation of these vast spans of emptiness which lie between heavenly bodies. The listener’s movement between rooms was intended to bolster this affect and likely was intended to highlight the ephemeral qualities of the random and unique sound-events.
Heady conceptual frameworks appear to be the modus operandi of the Gruenrekorder label, and Adolar fits snugly in with their ever-widening catalog. Often the “high art” component of such works is taken to be more important than actual listenability, but this is fortunately not the case here. I presume that the album version of Adolar is merely a sizable excerpt from the event, as the structural stability of the piece throughout its duration adheres to the concept of the combination and re-combination of the same basic sounds. The result is hardly as boring as it sounds, however. A plentitude of silent and near-silent portions between the “events” aids in capturing a massive, dark, timeless mood. The soft, atonal drones have a somewhat time-stretched and gritty exterior but are presented to us without much other embellishment. Pacing and attention are pivotal for enjoying a drone journey such as this, but this works equally effective in a purely ambient function as well.
This first mass-released work by Kainer demonstrates a major achievement and hopefully will demarcate the beginning of a fruitful career in sound-related endeavors. It’s impossible to say, but if previous examples of academic-minded musicians serves as any example, this may be the last piece of this variety in Kainer’s catalog – who knows what other capabilities he has yet to reveal.Scott W