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thomas koner - Zyklop
Originally released in 2003, Thomas Koner's Zyklop is a double album consisting of an hour-long composition for Radio France with fellow sound artist Yannick Dauby plus a second half featuring shorter sound installation works (with contributions from Jurgen Reble and Yann Beauvais). The lengthy first composition is just stunning. Here Koner sets about fashioning an auditory map of the Col De Vence mountain region in the south of France, integrating dissolved synthetic ambient textures into a patchwork concrete soundscape, full of natural environmental noise and man-made interference. If this arrestingly evocative piece of music is anything to go by, Col De Vence is a windswept, rainy and unremittingly grim part of the world, but it also carries an unvarnished sense of awe. Koner and Dauby communicate a sense of scale and stately vastness with the piece's ever-present sub-drones whilst never neglecting the close-up details. You'll hear a shifting cast of wildlife (of all shapes and sizes) chiming in with the sounds of downpours, dripping caves and other elemental phenomena. This really is fantastic stuff. The album's second half is rather different, stepping away from the sonorities and sublime voicings of the natural world in favour of man-made spaces. 'Des Rives' could be thought of as a dub production based on the sounds of public transport terminals. PA announcements, passing trains and the reverberant clang of station spaces are all ordered into a hypnotic 4/4 narrative. The three remaining pieces tend to converge more closely on the kind of monolithic dark drone ambiences that cropped up in earlier works of Koner's career, knitting together rich texture and environmental detail with an emphasis on remarkable depths of low end presence. With all this material to digest it's difficult to get take in upon first listen, but undoubtedly Zyklop - particularly that hour-long first composition, 'Une Topographie Sonore: Col De Vence' - is a work that you'll revisit countless times. Very highly recommended.