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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Gregory Büttner - Voll.Halb.Langsam.Halt [Gruenrekorder - 2018]

Gruenrekorder, the ever reliable label for all things in the realm of field-recording based sound art, presents Voll.Halb.Langsam.Halt by Gregory Büttner. This release is available in both CD and digital formats.

When I was a young chap I used to fantasize about being a stowaway on a large naval vessel at the turn of the century. Perhaps fueled by stories of the Titanic or the explorations of Jacques Cousteau, my day dreams often drifted to adventure on the high seas. Even at middle age now, I’ve never stopped being attracted to maritime sights and sounds. Despite never having the opportunity to realize those childhood fantasies, Voll.Halb.Langsam.Halt provides a welcome vicarious excursion. In 2010, Büttner had the opportunity to travel the Baltic Sea in a 1930’s steam boat, an ice-breaker. Using a pair of contact mics, to achieve stereo recording, Büttner captured sounds throughout the vessel. The metal hull, the engine, the atmospheric ambience of the ship are all expertly captured, without the use of any additional manipulation. 

Clocking in at a 35:35, Voll.Halb.Langsam.Halt is presented as one single track, however it unfolds in multiple parts (cut in a way to play like a multi-track disc). The track opens with a reverberating ticking sound, kind of reminding me of morse code being entered quickly, and is followed by a thicker persistent knocking. Next we move onto the sounds of the engine plugging along with contact mic movement along the way. As you can imagine, the sounds are repetitious in parts, and drone along in short spurts to longer spans. The are many variations on machinery chugging away in rhythmic fashion. At about the halfway mark, a real fast sputter breaks up some structural ambience. Later engine movement almost mimics tribal drummer, which recedes into some final moments ambience once again to cap things off. All in all, Büttner’s recordings give a picture postcard recap of his travels. Given the nature of this material, that’s really what it’s all about.

So in summing-up with this album Gruenrekorder once again delivers an exceptional audio travel diary.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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