Review: Galerie Déplacée – Tendresse (self-released, Jan 30)

Audio recordings of sound installations comprise a significant portion of the material most foundational to my learning to appreciate everything I hear (and don’t hear). Classics like Tinguely’s Sculpture at the Tate and Eastley’s career-spanning 2×CD compilation on Paradigm were and are incalculably influential on me and the way I listen, thanks in most part to their simultaneous radicalization and distillation of the relationship between the physical and the auditory. That quality, however, is somewhat predicated on actually knowing what the installation that was recorded looks like, or better yet having seen it in person; there’s an interesting limbo opened when a document is presented without the thing it documented, as I discussed with regard to Wind Tide’s release of audio from their Focused and Found Routines. But in that case we were at least given a bit of description about what the work involved, and any shred of context can go a long way. Here, with Tendresse, the Polish sound artist operating under the pseudonym Galerie Déplacée gives us what is perhaps the most precisely cut half possible—i.e., the effect without any of the cause—in the form of a digital album ripped from a cassette which in turn was tracked with roughly 33 minutes of the sound of the unknown installation. With two degrees of removal (or three?) it’s hard to tell where one plane of perception ends and another begins, so one might as well focus solely on the audio itself, which is pretty incredible. I love the subversion of clarity in using portable analog as a documentation medium, and the automated homemade-industrial mechanisms that somehow drag across and tap string instruments with bows, strike bells, and maintain swelling cells of feedback that never tip over into chaos are a perfect fit for it. The static minimalism of the overlapping operations easily immerses, and the incessant repetition is comforting, in a way, and it’s as if we don’t actually have to see the physical art at all to “know what it is.” But I bet it looks cool as fuck.

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