Das 7. Siegel by Hans Castrup

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Hans Castrup | Das 7. Siegel
Submarine Broadcast Company (CD/DL)

A document of a 3-channel electroacoustic sound installation at Museumsquartier Osnabrück by musician and visual artist Hans Castrup. Das 7. Siegel (aka The 7th Seal) is based on a print by Albrecht Dürer from 1498. The piece runs for over thirty-six minutes, opening with a soft smouldering drone. A dragging clang and whistling wind enter. The atmosphere just drifts, that is until a series of what sound similar to the magnitude of computer dial-up penetrates the peace. And suddenly its whispery winds once again.

This cyclical channeling of pitch is not lost on callous ears, instead it brings with it a auditory chasm, bridging the state of mind and body. While it would be easy to offer a cauldron of pure noise effects, or go the opposite way and wallow only in the murky sleep-inducing drone, Castrup has opted to tweak our senses a bit without dominating the entire program. The variables, like a winding sound reminiscent of pulling up the anchor of a pirate ship, are great unexpectations.

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The highs and lows continue, with assorted grumbling industrial and electric babble. What I find peculiar is his use of playing with the thin layer of surface, as some of his effects are embedded under a hushed almost mono-sounding layer, and static rises above that with a crisper clarity. Wild creatures erupt into caws as a little melody floats up from the ether. It’s quite a distinct set of calculations that places the listener in a headspace of lost + found memories.

At the core this is an emotive work that comes off rugged and textural. Here lies the objective kernel that offers a genuine sense of tension, just below its shifting, impenetrable surface. The intervals that are most eruptive and uncomfortable are also its most seductive.

 

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