Review: T. Liefhold – The Singing Work (Falt, Jan 19)

There are no actual vocals on The Singing Work; instead, sound artist T. Liefhold encourages inhuman objects to sing, coaxing tonal reverberations and complementary textures from a variety of sources, and the resulting work is just as harmonious as what actual human voices could produce. In large part, Liefhold’s newest release presents music of rattle and clatter; taut strings produce resonant oscillations, footsteps rustle leaves and other natural detritus, occasional guitar notes falter and feed back into a restless din. But the unique presence that The Singing Work asserts is not one of shaky, uncertain abstraction, nor do its uncanny soundscapes attempt to evoke environments beyond our earthly perceptions. Instead, the space it occupies seems to be the machinations beneath our everyday surroundings. Liefhold strikes, plucks, and vibrates the mysterious contraptions that maintain the organic processes we take for granted, and with the field recordings he also incorporates we see a sublime coexistence of cause and effect, imaginary apparatuses interacting with their real-world results, a detailed yet peaceful cross-section of a world that’s at once industrial and natural.