“Compilation Works 1996-2005” reviewed by The Wire

Compilation Works 1996-2005
Sound artist Marc Behrens, based in Frankfurt, has travelled widely to perform live electroacoustic music, stage installations and make field recordings. This retrospective collection, available for free download, brings together more than two hours of his material that has previously been scattered across compilations and reinterpretation projects issued from various parts of the globe over a ten year period. The 19 tracks, remastered and presented with liner notes, are not ordered chronologically, so the overall effect is rather like dipping into a journal where the same spidery calligraphy registers changing circumstances, shifts of interest and emphasis.
Behrens tends to avoid grand sonic statements and definitive gestures, preferring to work with layered and intersecting textures in a generally low-key mode, where the distinction between digital and environmental sources is often blurred or irrelevant. He revisits material from the likes of John Hudak, Disinformation and Ralf Wehowsky; works with fire, with his own breath, saliva and heatbeat; generates music from a light-to-sound transducer; abstracts from recordings made in taxis and bars.
Behrens clearly uses a mixed language, but it gravitates towards grainy rustling and crackles or shimmering haloes and seeping tones, a ghostly language of implication and peripheral phenomena. It’s a kind of electronica that the ear can easily skate across without much reward; focused attention, on the other hand, reveals emergent designs and subtle correspondences. As when browsing someone’s journal, too much at once can seem inconsequential. Dipped into with suitable attentiveness, you can find strange kinds of sense and a shaping personality at work. Julian Cowley

If you haven’t already, download it for free.

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