2 Reviews | By textura
11min | snow
Gruenrekorder upholds its reputation for unusual catalogue items with its latest releases, the more conventional of the two a vinyl set by Seoul-based piano-and-drum duo 11min (the album’s actually issued by Weather Music with vinyl distribution handled by Gruenrekorder) and the other, a book-and-flexi-disc research project titled A soft hiss of this world, more characteristic of the label’s experimental-leaning output. Let’s begin with the more accessible release, snow, a six-track, instrumental offering from 11 (pianist Jiyeon Kim) and min (drummer Sangyong Min). As presented on the thirty-seven-minute album, 11min’s sound is neither jazz, pop, nor minimal electronica but rather acoustic material sensitive to texture and dynamics, executed with improv-like spontaneity and amenable to electronic treatments. The record splits down the middle, with the A’s four pieces credited to 11min and the flip 11 alone, the concluding “loose” and a fourteen-minute remix both Kim productions. The tracks aren’t intended as naked exercises in virtuosic display, which the opening title track makes clear. Here and elsewhere, Kim and Min craft delicate settings where texture is paramount. For “snow,” Min establishes a simple yet nonetheless effective drum pulse with brushes over which Kim drapes equally simple phrases, the pauses between them long enough that pedal sustain is conspicuous. []


Tim Ingold & Carmen Pardo & Mikel R. Nieto | A soft hiss of this world
Issued as part of Gruenrekorder’s Field Recording Series in a 500-copy edition, A soft hiss of this world is, in its visual presentation, a logical sequel to the previous book project by sound artist Mikel R. Nieto: whereas Dark Sound challenged the reader by having its words appear black on black, the new book presents its texts by Nieto, Tim Ingold, and Carmen Pardo as white on white. Such a choice might seem perverse, but there is a reason for it, given that the research project has to do with the ‘sound‘ of snow, which on the immediate experiential level seems non-existent, and relatedly silence. As with the previous book, the new one’s texts are presented in multiple languages, in this case Basque, Spanish, and English. The genesis for the project was 600 hours of field recordings collected by Nieto in the Finnish landscape, recordings of snow, ice, and snowflakes made using microphones capable of capturing activity at a level below the threshold of human audibility. One particularly fascinating thing about the six minutes of material presented on the transparent flexi-disc is that every time it’s played the turntable needle wears away the vinyl such that, like the snowflake, each play brings the recording one step closer to extinction; in Nieto’s words, “each listening destroys the sound. []