Original Issue: 1997 Big Cat Records (ABB1000 CD - as part of Driftworks box)
Reissue: 2004 Mille Plateaux (MPM 003) (Buy it here!)
Margot-meter: 4,5 moons / 5
As you all probably already understood, I've a real love for Thomas Köner. Without any doubt my favorite artist.
During my summer holidays, I was lucky enough to experience live his "Pneuma Monoxyd" audio-visual installation (see picture at the end of this post).
Unfortunately, I was totally unable to grab on film the power of his infra-sound barely-lit ambience...
1 Nuuk (Air) (4:50)
2 Polynya I (6:31)
3 Nuuk (Day) (7:24)
4 Amras (5:35)
5 Nuuk (Night) (4:13)
6 Polynya II (7:22)
7 Nuuk (End) (5:55)
DVD-1 Nuuk (Suite)
DVD-2 Nuuk (Air)
DVD-3 Nuuk (Day)
DVD-4 Nuuk (Night)
DVD-5 Nuuk (End)
Thomas Köner's Nuuk is, in many ways, a crystalline example of ambient music. The album provides ample room for sound to be experienced as mood, thereby allowing the listener to translate his/her emotional reaction into words, with very little interference. As often the case, the process of filling empty spaces with descriptions of the music's strengths seems to run counter to Nuuk's primary objective: To reach beyond the artifice of the conceptual, and to touch more directly upon an individual's core of aural perception.
Tomas Köner is a formidable manipulator of sound and image. As I have not personally experienced the latter, I will do my best to convey my impressions of the former. This is no hindrance, as the four pieces found on Nuuk provide ample fodder for the mind to conjure spectacles akin to the physical landscapes Köner uses in his accompanying visual presentations.
Geological shifts, with their unceasing yet patient modulations, form the crux of Köner’s musical analogies; the full weight and implication of time and its corresponding transmutations are felt deeply as the album extends through its cycles, each piece gaining glacial momentum as sound carves grand canyons in gray matter. Nuuk is superficially similar to albums by other electronic manipulators of sound, most notably The Caretaker and Deathprod; each of these artists are familiar with crafting portentous and unsettling soundscapes. Köner’s creations, however, opt for awe and natural majesty as their core, as opposed to the malign funhouse visions and icy caresses of the aforementioned artists.
It isn’t often that a CD can shock the mind into realizing one’s relatively infinitesimal universal position. How is it that I feel dwarfed by mere audio? Is there a link between spatial magnificence and the delineation of sound? It seems Köner has spent much time investigating the relationships between space, size and time, and has somehow found music to be a more than adequate descriptor of said interrelation.
from Thomas Köner homepage:
Köner uses sequences of images from webcams as raw material, which remains constant in his basic focuses. He has traces of people and their vehicles come to appearance acoustically, but not visually. The shift from day to night and the influences of the weather give motion to the segments. In this way, in his shortest work NUUK, which lasts just over 6 minutes, he condenses a total of 3,000 individual web images taken from the Internet into one scene. Despite the cinematic motion of the image, it seems like a still photo.