Sunday, April 15, 2012

Marc Behrens – Apparatus (Agxivatein, 2011)

Marc Behrens – Apparatus
Agxivatein 2011

Behrens was in born in Darmstadt, Germany in 1970 and his work ranges from concrete electronic music, installations, and more recently field recordings. He has performed and exhibited in six different continents and has collaborated with artists such as Bernhard Günter, Nikolaus Heyduck, and Paulo Raposo.

This CD-R release, Apparatus, was composed from April to May in 2010 using recordings from 2005-2010 conducted in Austria, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Namibia, and South Africa. The project was originally presented as an installation from May to June in 2010 in the Phonebox series at IMO in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Each song has an A and a B version, because the installation was presented in a four-channel setup: two for headphones, and two for ceiling speakers. “A. Hum/Bells” is composed of a fluttering, percussive sound in addition to bells and droning sounds that could be the hum of machines. A couple minutes into the piece it becomes quite noticeable that the sounds oare of printers at work, at times becoming loud and uneasy. A juxtaposition between the organic/technological is made rather clear when a field recording of cicadas or some bug enters amidst the noisy printer. It’s a nicely composed piece with great flow that combines both the rhythm of the sounds of nature and the rhythm of the mechanical. “B. Hum/Bells” expectedly features similar sounds of bells, bugs, and printers. However, it is slightly different, incorporating a new percussive texture in the foreground. I can definitely see it adding aural and spatial confusion to the listener participating in the installation. “A./B. Rain/Compressor” is only one piece, presumably placed through both the headphones and the external speakers. It begins with a field recording of rain dripping and then a very loud, whirring sound of a machine enters in slow, rhythmic intervals, droning in and out. The rhythm is not fixed however. A buzzing of a fly or bug joins in towards the end of the piece. On the whole the piece is simpler than the previous two. But throughout the album what I’ve noticed is that you can really feel these sounds because they have a powerful consistency. A sense of environment is created. We hear both the original space that these field recordings were conducted in and a new space that is created through the composition of the recordings as well. What is the rain dripping on, and where? What kind of machine makes this kind of sound, and where?

CD-R for purchase:

Marc Behrens website:

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