Reviews | By textura
Circles and cycles | Kg Augenstern
It’s a safe bet no one else’s artistic practice is quite the same as Kg Augenstern’s. Operating under the alias, Christiane Prehn and Wolfgang Meyer use custom-designed “tentacles,” in simplest terms extendable fibreglass canes that from a fixed position scratch surfaces in circles, to generate audio documents of physical settings. For their second Kg Augenstern release on Gruenrekorder (the first 2016’s Tentacles), the Berlin-based duo decamped to Sicily in autumn 2019 to collect recordings of ten abandoned places, including an old prayer hall in Palermo that was used for a site-specific audiovisual display of the project. In addition to the audio component, the release includes images captured by a camera installed in the centre of the circles as scratchings were made. No humans appear in the photos; instead, there are ruins that in their decaying condition retain the residual trace of their creators. For each location, two pages of photos show the site itself; two subsequent pages show the tentacle reaching onto the surface. []


Stadt (Land Fluss)“ | Daniel Kötter & Hannes Seidl
[] Issues of trade, tourism, industrial development, financing, public spaces, policing, urban control, socialism, and identity arise as historical cases are referenced to strengthen positions (Haussmann in Paris and mobilizations in Argentina as examples). Details accumulate to form a dense stream of electronic and real-world sounds, the texts less converging into shared viewpoints but instead accentuating the vast number of perspectives that emerge when such issues are broached—more questions than answers, in other words. Perhaps that’s one reason why the sound design seems to grow denser as the piece progresses, with the buzzing mix perhaps intimating that positions lose ground when they multiply so abundantly. As the work’s end approaches, the speakers tellingly recede from view and the city as a bustling, sprawling organism takes over, almost as if it’s got a mind of its own. Are Circles and Cycles and Stadt (Land Fluss) musical works? Not in any conventional sense, yet they are music, albeit strange music, of a particular kind—they’re Gruenrekorder projects after all, and one would be naive to expect anything but something unusual from this always compelling label.