Tone 51 – Thomas Köner & Jana Winderen ‘Cloître’

CD – 1 track – 44:24

Remastered by Thomas Köner
Photography by Jon Wozencroft

Recorded live from the cloisters at Evreux Cathedral, Normandy, France by Franck Dubois, 14th June 2014, as part of L’Ateliers. With thanks to Denis Boyer.

Track listing:

1. Cloître


Sly Vinyl:

Here’s another conversation piece to put in to your collection, readers. This record revolves around the recordings of multiple records’ locked grooves, which as you all know, serve as a barrier between the label and the needle. Achim Mohné is a sound artist (an artist in general, I suppose) from Cologne, Germany. These locked groove recordings you hear on the preview of this record come from a record collection spanning over sixteen years. As the record synopsis states, and as you can infer, each record’s locked groove is going to sound unique due to a wide array of factors – age, number of plays, dust, scratches, and so on. This could possibly be considered ambient to my ears, but again with something such as this, whether you can call this music or not is entirely up to you.

These ‘non-music’ records tend to fetch a prettier penny as time goes on in case you want to sell, but as I write, this, if nothing else, they could be a great conversation piece. Another interesting aspect: you can play this at any speed you like. Check out the preview of Accelerated Standstill by going through the Buy Now link below and see what you think of it. Cheers!

Metamkine (France):

Un travail à base de vinyls et de sillons fermés, souvent ceux de la fin de disque. Répétition, bruits de surfaces, et accumulation. Hommage au support et à la boucle, mise en avant de la poussière et des fantômes qui s’y cachent. Ce disque ravira les amateurs de Philip Jeck, Pure ou Intemporal Analogic Sound. Un disque noir dans une pochette blanche standard limité à 300 copies. (France):

Barely a month before the release of ‘Tiento de las Nieves’, Touch released a (WAV-only) download performance by Thomas Köner and Jana Winderen.

This 45 minute piece was recorded live at Evreux Cathedral, Normandy, France in June 2014.

The characteristic Köner drones perfectly match with Winderen’s processed environmental sound recordings and with some live environment sounds by the way: a faraway emergency siren, some birds, church bells ringing and audience coughs.

The resulting piece is completely absorbing: it must have been quite an impressive experience to attend this performance at the square garden between the cathedral and the bishop’s palace.

“That night of June 2014 in Evreux, Normandy, they fashioned together a very discreet and evolutionary soundscape, which included mist, birds, slow – very slow – breathing, celestial humming, rain… all of which integrate a panorama their common music designs, which is not necessarily cold.”

No physical release, unfortunately, which may be a pain for some collectors. But still, we should thank Touch for distributing a recording that otherwise would have probably remained unavailable.

This is a 44-minute single-piece live recording made in France in 2014 and available in download-only format from Touch or, for unlimited access, An extremely well balanced piece, it combines Köner’s frigid yet comforting slow-motion drone textures derived from electronically-treated gong sounds, with Jana Winderen’s transparent, summery, semi-pastoral environmental recordings. In fact, at the 24 minute point, it sounds as though Köner begins to play a section from his second album ‘Teimo’ from the early 1990’s. The piece evolves glacially and on occasion there are sounds that can be identified, such as screeching swifts in the distance overhead. [Alan Haselden]

The Quietus (UK):

Cloitre’, her live collaboration with Thomas Köner from earlier this year effortlessly forges a fiction by bringing together not just two experienced sound artists together but by adding the additional dimension of a reverberent space to their emanations. Performed in the cloisters of a cathedral in Normandy, this third ‘collaborator’ suited Köner and Winderen’s output perfectly – a reverent space designed for silence into which the pair gradually pour their recordings of bat and bird song, ice crevasses, submarine ambience, winds and vapours. Like ‘Out Of Range’, despite the wildlife hissing, chirruping and twittering, the overall feeling is that of floating in an undiscovered environment.

There are seriously deep, sinking sensations at work here, as if descending through the other side of the ocean into a deserted lagoon at the bottom of a vast chasm. The only suggestion of human life is the rare toll of a church bell, presumably provided by the venue and not the players. As such it would be the perfect soundtrack for Ballard’s early climate fiction, at times reminiscent of both ‘The Drowned World’s’ tropical temperatures and flooding, and ‘The Crystal World’s’ solidifying jungle. [Russell Cuzner]

Ondarock (Italy):

Il 14 giugno di questo 2014 in dirittura d’arrivo, Thomas Köner e Jana Winderen si trovavano in quel di Evreux, in Normandia, pronti a dar vita ad una delle performance più particolari e ambiziose degli ultimi anni di sound art paesaggistica. L’idea di fondo era quella di scarnificare una performance nata come acusmantica alla sua sola componente audio, da costruirsi sfruttando le caratteristiche acustiche del chiostro della cattedrale cittadina e senza il benché minimo supporto video. Con il suono, dunque, elevato a unico elemento, contemporaneamente pennello e tela.

La registrazione di quell’esibizione giunge oggi a noi grazie all’instancabile Touch, che ha deciso di renderla disponibile per il download e di inciderla su un numero limitatissimo di Lp intitolandola ‘Cloître‘ (chiostro, appunto). Il gelo è la tematica chiave che emerge dalla sonorizzazione, nonché il punto di intersezione che i due hanno trovato tra i loro percorsi: se in Köner esso è caratteristica comune ai soggetti di molte delle sue opere (dai paesaggi degli esordi al vuoto in forme varie delle opere recenti), per Winderen si tratta di uno degli oggetti fondamentali della materia sonora.

Il medesimo schema si mantiene intatto anche nei quarantacinque minuti della performance: la londinese fornisce gli elementi sonori – in gran parte field recordings di versi di animali, folate di vento, gocce di pioggia, rintocchi di campane della cattedrale stessa e varie altre registrazioni provenienti direttamente dall’ambiente circostante – e condensa le basse temperature al loro interno, mentre il tedesco li elabora, costituendo la sonorizzazione a partire da essi e filtrandoli attraverso la propria, impareggiabile sensibilità poetica e contemplativa.

Il risultato è una lunga proiezione sonora in grado di delineare ogni singolo dettaglio del paesaggio in maniera molto più penetrante e completa di una semplice ripresa video o di un set fotograficom per quanto meno strettamente oggettiva. L’immersione nell’ambiente è pressoché totale, come in una sorta di ipnosi guidata. Merito di un approccio che non si limita a riprodurre fedelmente i suoni, ma li rimodella attraverso le percezioni sensoriali dei due artisti, che tendono dunque a pervenire agli ascoltatori come parti già assodate del soundscape.

Un’immersione imperdibile per tutti gli amanti del paesaggismo sonoro, firmata da due dei più grandi artisti del suono dei nostri tempi. [Matteo Meda]

The Wire, UK: