Black Metal Square by Jacob Kirkegaard

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Jacob Kirkegaard | Black Metal Square
Important Records (LP)

Based on the sculptural installation, Black Metal Square (2015), these three pieces are the latest work by field recordist and sound ‘alchemist’ Jacob Kirkegaard. This is a limited edition of one hundred copies. “The installation refers to Kazimir Malevich’s famous painting Black Square (made one hundred years prior in 1915) and his quote ‘It is from zero, in zero, that the true movement of being begins’. The astronomer Robert Fludd’s drawing of the black square from 1617 inscribed with the phrase ‘et sic in infinitum’ (and so on to infinity) is also an inspirational source for Kirkegaard, who asks the question: ’but how does the black square sound?”

The whole work runs for less than a half hour, but is imbued with a rich bass low rumble from the metal plates. After a while the sound that initially sounds like a timpani for gong begins to resemble a jumbo jet flying overhead. It’s presence defies gravity and has this pulsing atmospheric feel. Besides the plates Kirkegaard has incorporated the use of sensors, contact speakers, amplifiers, and steel wire to conduct this lingering drone din.

On Black Square 75 (referring to the scale of the plate) the scale shifts slightly higher in register, but after the first two minutes its vaguely noticeable. This would lull most deep listeners, perhaps to slumber, and could potentially irritate hyperacusis sufferers. It’s deep, yet airy, low hum with a bold grounding.

Finally on Black Square 100, the tone has dropped into a smouldering cauldron of boiling drone. This sounds like a field recording of a thunderous tornado on the far horizon, built with pressure and density this shakes the floorboards some, especially with any volume increase. It’s amazing to imagine this was composed by one man and a piece of steel, my guess is Nakajima Akifumi (1959-2013) would have felt a kinship to this piece. Peaceful and weary, Kirkegaard has brought forth a work of intense introspection, turning the void inside out, yet still remaining a complete mystery.

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