Music Reviews

Thomas Koner


Mille Plateaux

How compelling is the dark? Do you see it as a mysterious place, filled with things better left unmentioned? Or is the dark a place of solace, of comfort? Does the dark feel like a cave or a blanket? Daikan evokes darkness, and has many of the trappings of a dark ambient CD, however, where the likes of Lustmord or Yen Pox create an air of menace and foreboding, Thomas Koner evokes stillness and calm. Koner’s darkness is not the absence of light, but its transmutation into sound.

Koner intended this music to complement an installation by fellow German filmmaker Jurgen Reble. The two often perform together, Reble performing upon a 10-meter strip of black film, which he slowly scratches and treats it with chemicals. Koner samples the sounds of the projector, and uses them as source material for his textured soundscapes.

Koner and Reble intended this CD to “create a presence of sounds which do not refer to anything, and not only allow, but stimulate a complete awareness, free of dramatized illusion.” I don’t agree with their claim. There is a dramatic, narrative flow to this CD, albeit one that evolves at a place closer to glacial than theatrical. Sonic events recur in space, Koner contrasts density with sparseness for rich sonic contrast and even build up wisps of sound that could add up to a melody. It is this ebb and flow that makes the CD so engrossing, one feels immersed amid the rumbling bass, shades of melody and enveloping textures.

Daikan echoes the comfort of a darkened room at night. It is best listened to in a comfortable setting, one where one can turn off the light, and yet have an intimate knowledge of the geography of the room. Its majesty is best revealed in private moments of reflection, where physical boundaries seem to melt away.

Mille Plateaux: • Thomas Koner:

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