Still und Dunkel | Abandoned
Hallow Ground (LP/CD/DL)
From the opening seconds of searing harsh noise rasp like a contact mic applied to a sheet of metal unto cat-claw-on-a-chalkboard effect, through electronic swells and resting in a spell of quick-clicking, Abandoned (English, ‘quiet and dark’) by Still und Dunkel rips through dynamic (d)evolutionary spaces. I should mention that the sounds described take place within the initial four minutes of Lure, the first track of the UrbEx anthemic instrumental homage. Not having the 64-page 12” booklet which accompanies this audio-visual live performance stockpile of progress questioning audios allowed my imagination to venture into these compositions.
The project involved members Christoph Brünggel (visual arts), Benny Jaberg (film), and Pascal Arnold (media) visiting worldwide abandoned and hidden places and addresses the phonic recreation of these thematically, if not directly. The titles (e.g.: Hallway, Flicker, Portal, Dome, Transient…) offer vague tips on the setting’s motif. However, a range of radically divergent interpretations of the experience they transmit may manifest across the multi-dimensionalist sound art. The process of re-naturalization is at the forefront of these abstract mutations of atmosphere. Lost to public consciousness, what tales and messages can be spun of lost places? Examples of these anti-tourist trap sites include field recordings from inside the pillar of a bridge or an empty water reservoir in Switzerland or shortwave radio feedback.
A hard industrial aspect is a reoccurring presence throughout the release. This reminiscent big plunging effect like the one that opens the album keeps fluttering about. There are stints of prolonged softness. In these moments, an organic decay. When you get too comfortable in the eerie ambience, it strikes again – this unshakable, undeniable metallic cascade. As much as my experience leads me to empathize with the discovery of some post-occupied place and being simultaneously in wonderment and also in hair-on-edge fringe of horror, this album masterfully accomplishes the agenda of transmuting post-civ places into immersive soundscapes.