remote_ thoughts | contemporary electronic

Stadtgruen – Net Label

Posted in Uncategorized by remotethoughts on September 25, 2005

There’s something incredibly satisfying about discovering a fresh new world, particularly when that world subscribes to an ethic that sits so well and so snugly with your own. Stadtgruen is one of those worlds.

I became interested in Net labels fairly late on and it was only thanks to someone pointing out the merits of Thinner and Autoplate that I discovered them at all.

Thanks to a sniff around the links department of said labels I found myself straying onto Stadtgruen’s website and being confronted by a small yet superbly realised collection of internet only MP3 releases.

I can only recommend this website to the fullest as not only is their design sublimely simple and minimal, but the music contained within is absolutely superb as well.

Split into two distinct categories, Stadt deals with a more clubby, Detroit-laced sound and Gruen is the purveyor of deep and ambient soundscapes, with a dubby twist at times.

Featuring internet stalwarts such as Lomov and Krill.Minima, Gruen delivers the real-deal as far as I’m concerned. Not constrained by dancefloor restrictions, it positively revels in the warm, deep, fluid and lusciously atmopsheric with every release having something to recommend it: from Acidrain’s light, spacious but still Techno flavour, to the more mood-orientated, downbeat and dubby sounds of Motionfield.

Stadt, on the other hand is more funky, yet retains a depth and overall sense of feeling that keeps it from moving into mundane territory. Releases from Rob Keens, Gurtz and Marco Fuerstenburg are among the highlights, but check all the releases as there’s more than one string to this very flavoursome bow.

12 releases on Gruen: 11 on Stadt… and all very, very worthy of your utmost attention.

Pay a visit to http://www.stadtgruenlabel.net/ and see what they can do for you.

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Steve Roden – Airforms – Line – CD

Posted in Uncategorized by remotethoughts on September 20, 2005





Taylor Deupree and Richard Chartier’s Line imprint forms a natural counterpoint to the more streamlined releases of 12k. Each CD has a challenging feel and is often accompanied by an engaging narrative to explain the background of the work.

Steve Roden has been producing installations and audio artwork for many years and he has a catalogue that impresses in its sheer depth and breadth with releases on such influential labels as Trente Oiseaux, Digital Narcis, Meme, Semishigure, Fatcat, 12k and many more.

‘Airforms’ [LINE_022] is an instantly intriguing hour-long piece that was originally presented in April 2004 at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona. Inspired by a group of houses designed by Wallace Neff in the 1940’s using a process he named ‘Airform Construction’. These houses were built by spraying concrete over an inflated balloon structure and were themselves imspired by the Nautilus sea shell. They provided a chance for Neff to investigate the aesthetic possibilities of structures formed by air and the knock-on psychological effects of living inside and organically formed space.

Roden’s installation reflects Neff’s ideas in the use of air as an inspirational skeleton and five objects were built using a similar technique, exchanging concrete for plaster. These objects then each had a speaker placed inside and a multi-channel audio piece was formed using a manipulated sound of breath being blown through and old wooden pipe organ.

As a concept it’s thoroughly well researched and incredibly effective, although obviously for this CD release the sounds were reformed to work in a stereo environment instead of a multi-channel sound system.

The work is at once soothing and, as I suspect was intended, a fabulous reflection of sighing wind or breath with its ebb and flow that carries the listener with it. Constructed with multiple layers of sound, from a low sub-heavy drone right through to twinkling top end shimmers, Roden manages to give the piece a head-filling density that requires you to listen to it at a low volume to really get the most from it – high volumes may simply be overwhelming. At the correct level it becomes an amazingly deep background sound that works in such a subliminally beautiful way its hard to resist coming back to it on numerous occasions. It manages to remain, if not completely melodic, then certainly musical in an abstract way and there is a certain amount of progression throughout, although certainly not enough to distract you from the hypnotic nature of the sound.

This sort of music really isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but as a CD to work to, to sleep to or even to just daydream to, it’s up there with the best of them (see Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’ or John Hudak’s ‘Room With Sky’ for work with similar results) and proves once again that Line is a force to be reckoned with, as is Roden himself.

A genuine pleasure to listen to.

  • Line
  • Steve Roden
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