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Various Artists - Next City Sounds: Interfaces [Gruenrekorder - 2020]

Next City Sounds: Interfaces is a sixty-two-minute work that moves between music, sound art, and field recording. It’s certainly a shifting & drifting, at times fairly daring sonic experience which largely managers to keep ones attention held & focus, which is a fairly difficult feat for a work that blends & shifts through different genres of the sound.

The release appears on the German label Gruenrekorder- who put out stuff in the untouched field recordings, sound art & sounds aping genres- so really the perfect place for a release like Next City Sounds: Interfaces. It comes in the form of a CD- which presented in an oversized A5  sized brown card folder- which takes in monochrome city map artwork & embossed lettering- with the whole thing been topped off with a 16 page A5 detailing the idea behind the project, and the artists involved- so another very nicely presented & distinctive bit of packing from the folks over at Gruenrekorder.

The single fifty eight-minute track was created as part of the 20th KAMUNA (Karlsruhe Museum Night), so-called ›in-situ perfor- mances‹ took place at three locations in the German city of Karlsruhe on August 4, 2018. In all twelve projects/ people where involved in the creation of the track- KITeratur, Lasse-Marc Riek, Lintu + Røyk, No Input Ensemble, ZKM| Hertz-Lab, Yannick Hofmann, Marco Kempf, Benjamin Miller, Barbara Nerness, Sabastian Schottke. Dan Wilcox, and interfaces-with the whole track been created as a morphing sound world.

The track opens with a blend of chattering & baying children voices, swirling electro sounds, and cut-up German talking. As we move on we shift into a mix of tolling & hovering ambience- that hovers with tone melted instrumental darts, bird twitters, & electro swoops. By around the twenty-minute mark, we’ve moved into a blend of crunching & baying electronics that are a drift with swooping & breathing textures. Towards the midway mark, we get more defined musical elements in the shape of wondering piano notation- though this is wrapped in a blend of warbling & eerie electro harmonics & germanic female chatter. The wonder piano pops in & out through the rest of the track- but it never really shapes into anything solid or firm in the structure.  Though-out there is very much a feeling of drifting &  ebbing sonic soup, with every so often more defined and firm elements appearing- be it a fleeting electro stab, darting beat texture, field recording strand, voice or sound texture.


I can certainly see Next City Sounds: Interfaces appealing to those who enjoy blurring & often hazed soundscaping- think a more random, experimental & Germanic voice edged take on some of Future Sounds Of London more swirling & abstract material, and you’ll get an idea of what we have here.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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