Someone sucked Bochum, Duisburg, and Dortmund into a digital realm full of VR air pollution visualization – and in the debut album, Ljubljana’s Olenc deconstructs cello strings with the precision of an electron microscope. Journey inside.
Perhaps the recent revelation of our modern dystopia is its false dream of mobility, and the microscopic fracture of its freedoms. But take it how you will, it is mesmerizing going this deep on Oskar-Hoffman Strasse. (Honestly, German towns have never looked this cool.) That’s the vision of Olenc’s Berlin-based collaborator Michael Saup in the companion video for Nature Scene Records. Watch; I’ve had it on repeat:
“Dust” is a composition for the VR multimedia project Dust – ‘VR Triptych’ by visual artist Michael Saup and Olenc. The installation uses virtual reality to represent and investigate the invisible sphere of urban particulate matter. It gives representation to the recent developments of open data and citizen science and chips away at popular incognizance of just how much dust, and now data may impact our private lives.
So that dust isn’t only conceptual (and granular synthesis) – it’s also a visualization of particulate matter. If you’re concerned about a certain virus as a global pandemic that kills millions, keeping an eye on PM is equally important and does the same. These unseen particles are associated with the same energy applications that contribute to global warming – and many readers are now inhaling them if you breathe deep, as they penetrate your lungs and cause major health problems, many of them fatal. But don’t despair just yet – the power of music and visuals is that they can help the perception of the invisible and make it relatable emotionally as well as intellectually, meaning this sort of project is exactly the sort we need.
The music, in haunting sweeps of sound both brittle and lush, takes on extended granular explorations of strings. There are tracks assembled from VR collaboration with Saup (on Dust), and theater performance (with Jana Menger and Bara Kolenc). And even without those works there, the music has a vividly programmatic quality – a mind trip into timbre, pulled taut to near breaking-point.
As they put it in the release:
Focusing on decomposition and the granulation of singular strings of cello, all tracks are conceptually constructed by zooming into the musical/sound matter. Particles gives a macro-microcosmic sonic journey, full of tensions, contrasts and fragility; it constantly crosses a thin line between songform and sound sculpture, experimenting with spatial imaging, spectral processing and time manipulation.
Olenc is an alias for Matevž Kolenc, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. But while that may not be a known name, he has quietly been working not only with theater, dance, film, and installation materials, but also writing for bands like Laibach, Kreda and Melodrom.
Michael Saup is multi-talented, as well, working as an artist, instrumentalist, filmmaker, and coder, lecturing on topics around sustainability and “the archaeology of the future.” Saup is devoted enough to that topic that even the Website you’d go to read about all of this is optimized to reduce carbon emissions.
It’s just the sort of music and work that’s likely to fall under the radar on Bandcamp Friday – but not our radar. So enjoy!
And if you want to playlist it, too, etc., here are all those links, too.
Nature Scene Records has all wonderful stuff, worth a dig – and I honestly hadn’t heard of them until I got this release. Well worth some time, a nice UK – Slovenia connection (also with Alistair McNeill, who sent this in, and the likes of Aloosh and Yila):