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Andreas Usenbenz & Christoph Lammers – Drawing in Sound

a1415553511_10This piece’s title is intended to be taken literally. Andreas Usenbenz produced a soundscape incorporating objects, lo-fi and contact microphones, field recordings, guitar, ebow, looper, iPad, dictaphone, cassettes, tape loops, an OP-1 synthesizer and field kit, according to the album’s notes. Artist and Curator Andreas Pytlik responded to Usenbenz’s work – and vice versa – during a live performance recording. He used a variety of objects, ink, charcoal, brushes and his bare hands to produce a seven- by four-metre canvas.

The pair’s goal was to interpret a “meadow in the context of contemporary drawing and contemplative soundscapes.” They shared their prework – sound improvisations and sketches – in advance of the recording session. That in turn was incorporated into an exhibition entitled Wiese (German for meadow)hosted by Städtische Galerie Rosenheim last spring.

This audio recording is a lovingly detailed, hybrid ambient/field recording piece. We hear wind blow, birds sing, rustling hay, guitars and more. The 24-minute work is loosely formed, like a casual stroll through the meadow it’s meant to depict. Not quite searching, not quite aimless. It has an extraordinary strength of presence.

Pieces like this are often referred to as a meditation on this or that. Usually, that’s simply shorthand for quiet.

In this case, the two artists are so clearly contemplating their subject matter – the meadow and by extension nature – that the term is appropriate. It encourages both a reflection on the environment and introspection on our place within it.

Kevin Press

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