Christoph Heemann – THE RINGS OF SATURN


Those who missed the extremely limited CDR edition of this work, which I reviewed here, can now quench their thirst with a remastered version on transparent vinyl (though I keep stressing my preference for digital when it comes to “deep listening”: no clicks, pops and distortion, and no spell-breaking side flipping). Unlike the Walter Sebald novel it takes its title from, whose plot unfurls in East Anglia, most of the location echoes captured by Christoph Heemann for The Rings Of Saturn seem to come from some northern province of Italy, as certain dialects and soundscapes, though knowledgeably veiled by the processing, are quite familiar to these ears. Evocative appearances are daintily amalgamated with the paradoxes (old fascist marches, mangled muzak, noisy outbursts..) that characterized Heemann’s work with HNAS and previous releases such as Invisible Barrier, with early Zappa an improbable yet clear influence. Heemann’s compositional lucidity and expertise in placing events here are of the highest order: every detail is circumstantiated, every move makes sense. It’s not a sequence of field recordings as much as a demonstration of reverence to Luc Ferrari, and yet, in a way, another temporary escape from reality – or a slight deformation thereof – using modified elements of authenticity to lead the discerning listener through different states. Hallucinations in a medieval village, you might say.


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