Review: Annina Boogen – Operation Beton (self-released, May 25)

A note from Jack: After four straight days of protesting I am exhausted, badly sunburnt, and still aching for the injustices experienced by my Black neighbors and those who stand in solidarity with them. I am resting today for my own health and I feel a need to return to some semblance of my routine, so for now I’ll be back to publishing reviews. Know that my head, heart, and soul are always with my fellow Americans.

With a world in nigh-unprecedented turmoil, creative works that deal in immersive escapism are more valuable than ever. Water sounds aren’t everyone’s bag when it comes to phonography, but I’m not sure even those listeners will be bothered by the 26-minute recording that comprises a significant portion of Annina Boogen’s “synthesis report” for her Operation Beton project, which “deals with the relation of energy infrastructure and its surroundings, the alpine landscape.” Boogen used a variety of collection approaches to acquiring information and understanding of this relationship, from the use of hydrophones and standard mics to gathering relevant “image and text material.” The latter are presented in a booklet that is not available on the Bandcamp page, but the LP recording offers up more than enough opportunity for thoughtful consideration as it gently moves from trickling water currents to clattering flagpoles and distant conversations. The progression throughout the A side seems to perfectly encapsulate the purpose of the project as the detailed, mechanical interiority of the dam recordings give way to the openness of the countryside.

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