Sunday, 29 January 2012

Moniek Darge - 'Soundies' (Kye)

Sound art or music?  It's an eternal dilemma; I have vacillated between positions myself, it's certainly easy to group Darge's work into the 'sound art' category.  Especially when presented as Soundies is, a compilation subtitled "selected work 1980-2001", with a list of which sources each recording is culled from. But I want to treat this as music.  If there is a difference, to me, it's in expression and intent.  Darge certainly is interested in the pleasures of listening, but I feel there's a lot of life in the little spaces of this CD. It's an array of fun, including voice, clarinet, violin, "musical objects", harp samples, slides, and "performance"; the resulting tracks vary but all maintain a strong emphasis on detail.  The longest track is the opening, from 1980, 'Sand'; it takes it's time to develop, suggesting the anti-music structures of Anton Bruhin in places, but is not bogged down by it's own conceptualism. As her work progresses (with a 12 year gap between 1983's 'Fairy Tale', my personal favourite, and 1995's 'Harpje', my second favourite track) Darge seems to be more interested in how things layer.  There's a soundscape feel to her late 90's work, partcularly 'Caete' which drapes wind and sea waves over clusters of small sounds. Darge's pieces feel organic and not too carefully meticulous, which keeps them closer to the underground than to the museum, always a good thing. The vocal work is inspiring at times, sometimes leading the pieces into a narrative feel. Her editing style is not as simple as saying 'cut-up', but there's a discordance and motion that always orbits around direction. It's a long disc, as a good archival release should be, and is understandably more varied than her Sounds of Sacred Places recordings, which are beautiful in their own way. I never seem to get tired of music like this, which draws from my own interest in abstract/surrealist sounds - and of course, the unending influence of the NWW list in my life. Darge is too late for that list but clearly comes from similar mental space.  

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