Russell Haswell and Florian Hecker Ė Kanal Gendyn (LP and DVD Editions Mego)

Russell Haswell & Florian Hecker chose to create a real-time soundtrack, to an unscored film, 'Kanal Video' (1992, 60 min.) by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss. The video itself is an hour long ride through the Zurich sewer system.

I suppose the real problem of listening to a film score is you donít know how the music is reacting to the pictures which to an extent perhaps lessens the impact of the music.

Itís actually quite an old recording originally performed in 2004 (and then mastered this year). For the performance two stereo feeds were crossed for quadraphonic (4.0) diffusion using a L&B F12 / B12 loudspeaker system. The video itself was screened on three facing walls.

There is a big influence in the work here from Xenakis. The Gendyn of the title refers to The Gendyn program, which Xenakis began working on in 1991The program consists of an algorithm which explores stochastic timbre, resulting in a waveform which then evolves constantly through the introduction of ďpolygonal variationsĒ with the help of probability procedures. I donít know whether this piece is produced using Gendyn or if it is just a homage to it but In terms of sounds itself it reminds me of early industrial with quite pure wave forms that get mutated and manipulated.

To be honest as a listening experience itís difficult listening. Some parts of it work really well particularly where the two parts come together in unison and create a deep rich sound. Other parts work less well (in parts the sounds are not dissimilar to sound of bee or fly buzzing) and you have to wonder how much of this is due to a lack of the visual element.

I canít see this being a CD that I will revisit that often and perhaps the ideal release would have been with a DVD of the film so you could see what it was the score was reacting to. DB