Boomkat Product Review:
A monumental debut work for Shelter Press, ‘Death Star’ is something of a definitive statement or magnum opus in the explorative oeuvre of NYC artist/composer Marina Rosenfeld - a big RIYL Iancu Dumitrescu, Lea Bertucci, Jakob Ullmann, Okkyung Lee, Maryanne Amacher.
Marina first grabbed our attention with the uncannily echoic industro-dub environs of ‘P.A./Hard Love’ in 2016 (a real precursor to Jay Glass Dubs we reckon), before showing a quieter, more sensitive side in her collaboration with Ben Vida ‘Feel Anything’. Now on ‘Death Star’ she places deeply uncanny sensibilities to stunning use across an album focussed on the microphone as a listening device and instrument - a sort of mechanical ear/eye - with impressively elusive/illusive results.
The original recordings come from an installation - a plexiglas orb housing seven microphones - that picked up and fed back samples of visitors to an exhibition at Portikus gallery, Frankfurt. Marina’s album reworks those recordings with fragments of piano played into the same system or orb of mics, generating utterly enchanted ethereal spaces that speak to the listener’s atavistic responses to echoic space and acoustic phenomena.
In four movements Marina grows the source material from liminal, plasmic and dreamlike as she begins to feel out the work’s scope in ‘Death Star’, all quite polite but edged with a menace that gets more complex, with a chamber ensemble playing back notation of the original location recordings in more atonal and aggressive iterations re-amped thru banks of speakers to edge on KTL’s electro-acoustic doom or Iancu and Ana-Maria Avram’s spectralist music. So good this.