Steinbrüchel Opaque (+RE)

Ralph Steinbrüchel is a Swiss electronics artist with a decade long resume of previous works and collaborations with other minimalists such as Frank Bretschneider and Kim Cascone. Opaque is essentially a ten-minute piece composed for the Taktlos music festival in Berne, Switzerland as part of a surround sound experience in a special "listening” room where it played in a cycle with sounds from other artists. The track is a slow, shimmering seesaw replete with textured trills, prayer bells and digital hiccups. The rest of the album consists of other artists given access to some of the original Opaque sound files and pointed in a specific direction for their alteration/combinations. Chris Abrahams (of the Necks) added clustered piano notes from the uppermost octave to duet with the sounds of tiny bells. Taylor Deupree opened up the track’s melody, giving it a resonant and richly glitch-y digital finish. Both Oren Ambarchi and Toshiya Tsunoda found ways, with added guitar and field recordings, to make each of their efforts oddly menacing — a quality nowhere to be found in the original. In the end the album works exceptionally as both a single statement and a collection of the various artists. (Room 40)