Vertikale Skift, composed by Terje Paulsen (Norway) and Ákos Garai (Hungary), guides the listener through a series of alluring sound environments, ranging from discretely layered drones that highlight upon faint listening spectrums into dense tapestries of sound divulging complex layers of sonic interplay. The environmental aspects assoicated with these recordings are quite evident, however, the content also reflects a definite sense of intent, as the compositions are further processed and arranged in such a manner whereby the result is an all-encompasing listening enviroment. With that said, there’s an inherent sense of momentum and dynamic to the recordings that comprise Vertikale Skift, making it one of the more unique sound-based release I’ve heard in some time and a release not to be missed!
Christopher McFall / May 2011
01 Skisse 8 (Paulsen) 4:42
02 Waterworks I (Garai) 3:57
03 Waterworks II (Garai) 5:33
04 Skisse 9 (Paulsen) 6:50
05 Skisse 10 (Paulsen) 6:11
09 Waterworks IV (Garai) 8:32
09 Tracks (55′34″)
Tracks 1,4,5,7,8 recorded and composed by Terje Paulsen August 2010
Tracks 2,3,6,9 recorded and composed by Ákos Garai September-October 2009
This album edited, compiled and mastered by Ákos Garai October 2010
Front cover by Ákos Garai
Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2011 / GrDl 093 / LC 09488
Ross Baker | Musique Machine
Within experimental music, collaborative releases are common, and the results are often an intriguing chance to try and work out exactly where one artist’s input ends and the other begins; split releases, on the other hand, allow for a broad listening experience of two halves. For this release on Gruenrekorder, however, Terje Paulsen and Ákos Garai have provided individual pieces which highlight the differences and contrasts between their own approaches, while retaining the track sequencing of a single album.
It would be easy to simply approach Vertikale Skift from the perspective of comparing the two composers‘ strikingly different techniques (Paulsen’s ‚Skisse‘ tracks source their sounds from computer-based electromagnetic signals, which gives them a much colder, sharper feel than Garai’s more organic ‚Waterworks‘ set), but this would miss the point of the record: to draw these approaches together into a single piece, which would work just as successfully if credited to a single artist.
The release opens with the minimal ‚Skisse 8‘, which works with a narrow range of textures and frequencies, playing instead within the realm of audible dynamics. After the almost oppressive drone layers of ‚Waterworks II‘, ‚Skisse 9‘ and ‚Skisse 10‘ provide respite; ‚Skisse 10‘ veers away from layers of crackling to near silence, to return minutes later with a much denser tapestry, eventually fading seemlessly into ‚Waterworks III‘. The final piece, ‚Waterworks IV‘, initially working with a reverberated drone, seems to operate in a similar territory to the opening piece, before a much louder section draws the album to a close with its most intense five minutes.
Dynamic, then, is the key to Vertikale Skift’s success. Over the course of the album, and within the pieces themselves, there is constant movement; even within seemingly static sections, a sense of sonic depth is always present. Whilst many lesser field recording-based works take existing sounds and turn them into a sterile sound piece, Vertikale Skift creates a real listening environment: one which, although artificially created, retains the space and time of an actual place. A fine electro-acoustic work which continues the high standards we’ve come to expect from Gruenrekorder.
Richard Allen | a closer listen
An initial look at the digital download implies that the tracks are out of order: five “Skisse” tracks from Norway’s Terje Paulsen interspersed with four “Waterworks” tracks from Hungary’s Ákos Garai, founder of the 3leaves label. And yet to separate the two is the dim the light of the entire project. Paulsen and Garai were onto something with their game plan, because the album works best with the current track sequencing. Skisse is the Norwegian word for sketch or study, and Paulsen’s quieter contributions do at first seem like outlines: the impressionistic borders to Garai’s glistening sheets. A puzzle needs a frame, and the contrast between the thick and the thin helps the listener to appreciate both. In “Waterworks I”, the water sounds like a burst pipe; in the second segment, the deluge has slowed to a trickle, but wanders speaker-to-speaker like an unidentifiable leak. Paulsen surrounds these entries with his own studies of static and silence, guaranteeing that the white noise and whirl of “Waterworks III” will be welcomed when they arrive. But by the end of this piece, Garai seems to have turned contemplative as well; perhaps the two are not so far apart as they initially seemed. As each composer presents his final piece, Vertikale Skift morphs into a single tale.
Guillermo Escudero | LOOP
This is a new collaboration between sound artists Terje Paulsen (Norway) and Ákos Garai (Hungary) and this isn’t a pure field recording release in this series.
They combine found sounds and the electronic processing offering a wide range of sounds, radio airwaves, sharp edge elements, post-Industrial hum and drones producing dark soundscapes.
A few words by The Field Reporter Editor Alan Smithee plus PART I of the lists with the most relevant works of 2011 made by our staff and other artists, curators and journalists.