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G*Park - Seismogramm

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Artist: G*Park

Album: Seismogramm

Label: Blossoming Noise

Review date: Sep. 19, 2007

Switzerland’s extremist sound/performance art collective, Schimpfluch Gruppe, use intensive means to provoke intense responses. Their core members Rudolf Eb.Er (Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock), Joke Lanz (Sudden Infant) and Dave Phillips, have defined an aesthetic that brings the abreactive impulses of Viennese Actionism to bear on Dada and surrealist art tactics and body extremism, coupled with brutal editing that all but disassociates the accompanying audio from its abject origins. Their recordings are bracing, but Schimpfluch’s quality levels fluctuate wildly: my recent encounter with their live actions left me deflated and bored, though the ineffectiveness on display may well be Eb.Er’s aim.

G*Park is another limb extending from the Schimpfluch host outfit. The musique concrète project of Marc Zeier, his body of recordings is as miniscule and graceful as his peers are outlandish and confrontational. Seismogramm is his first album, originally released as an LP in 1990 on Schimpfluch’s own label. Two CDs, Yack Park and Geopod (both on Zabriskie Point) closely followed, before Zeier turned his attention to painting. An injury put him out of commission earlier this decade, but he has since returned to music, releasing several CD-Rs on Tochnit Aleph.

Drew Daniel of Matmos listed Seismogramm in his musique concrète top ten at Pitchfork, celebrating its “tranquility, clarity and focus.” Recent concrète often tries to impress via velocity, cognitive overload or alienation effect. EQ and processing becomes the star, evacuating the distinctive tenor from each concrètized source. Zeier, in comparison, allows breathing space for each of his carefully tended sounds, using drop-outs, near-fades to silence and other ruptures in volume as punctuation marks.

Here, the editing and processing work together to wreathe each source with its own muted, grayscale halo. “Spiegelberg” is the highlight, where stray voices, barking dogs, hooting owls, the rustle of wind against mic and the reverberant properties of wind tunnel scenarios are all turned on their head. But it’s not pure abstraction. By respecting the integrity of each sound source and refusing to denigrate their character in a slurry of FX, Seismogramm feels like it’s beamed from some gently dislocated world, as though it’s the soundtrack to a sci-fi story where one wrinkle in time throws the planet’s alignment slightly off balance.

By Jon Dale

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