Bernhard Gal Same Difference

If Pauline Oliveros coined the term "deep listening," Austrian composer/electroacoustician/sound artist Bernhard Gal definitely practices it to create his diverse, fascinating works. Take his "xuán zhuân" for singing wine glasses and bowed crotales ― a hovering, humming, shimmering experience in weightless floating. A product of his visits to China, "uh-jeh-gal" for sheng, guzheng, voice and live electronics disclose themselves gradually via long electronic drones, gentle instrumental gestures of plucked, bent strings and soft vocal glissandi, all graceful and evocative. "E-musik" is entirely different ― thrumming, slightly detuned guitar strings, stroked, strummed, rubbed to hypnotic effect. Interspersed throughout the 12 tracks are four pieces, two with Chinese-speaking voices and two soundscapes derived from subway recordings. Gal's sensitivity to environmental sounds, combined with his awareness of spatiality and ability to involve musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds, allows him to create music of ghostly, yet intimate, beauty. (Gromoga)