Carl Michael Von Hausswolff – THERE ARE NO CROWS FLYING AROUND THE HANCOCK BUILDING/RED EMPTY

Lampo/Whitewalls

Swedish sound artist and installation builder CM Von Hausswolff recorded the material for this album in 2003, capturing “building vibrations, passing breezes and overheard speeches from tourists” at the top of Chicago’s John Hancock Center, later adding repeated cycles of rotating feedback “to suggest crows encircling the conceptual tower”. The resulting sound resembles the incessant throb of a giant mechanical heart being gradually eaten away by acidic humidity, but its inherent ferocity, masked by the pummeling vibration, never seems to reach real saturation, the sonic elements fusing instead into a single corpulent entity that sounds like a cross between an ocean wash and a distant train. Von Hausswolff has collaborated frequently with the likes of Leif Elggren and John Duncan, and this project corresponds well to their aesthetic of working around the thresholds of genres, since the disc comes along with Red Empty, a collection of photos by Von Hausswolf taken in various abandoned sites (churches, factories, even hot dog restaurants..) specially floodlit by 1000-watt red spotlights. These pictures are the only documentary evidence of a series of events that, to quote Anthony Elms, “search for the monochromatic that banishes purity as a senseless utopian drive”. Gazing at them as the record ends, silence encroaching on the last sputters of feedback, one concludes that managing to lead a normal life is utopian enough itself.

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