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CM Hausswolff - Three Overpopulated Cities...

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Artist: CM Hausswolff

Album: Three Overpopulated Cities...

Label: Sub Rosa

Review date: Feb. 3, 2005

CM Von Hausswolff’s recording Three Overpopulated Cities Built By Short-Sighted City Planners, An Abandoned and Quite Dangerous Airport And An Abandoned Church asks more of a listener than it is likely to give. Four pieces, each flowing into the next, make up Hausswolff’s imaginary journey, dealing with questions and challenges posed by nearly any modern metropolis. Von Hausswolf’s travels to these cities over a span of two decades served as inspiration for this audio indictment of their common ills.

Von Hausswolff’s work does little to encourage or reward passive listening, with its dynamic shifts more subtle than condensation, but the linguistic, political and cultural baggage sutured to each segment demand attention. The track titles and their names are evocative of the sets and subsets of ethnicities, upheavals, climates and failures explored on Three Overpopulated Cities:

1. “Mexico City and Tokyo”: Overcrowding, humidity, pollution, height differential (Mexican and Japanese men average the same height (5’4” - 5’5” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez) [white noise, dry drilling sounds, bass tones]

2. “Muhammad Murtala Or So” (Lagos, Nigeria): Religious tension, political instability, enslavement by the oil business, butchery (http://countrystudies.us/nigeria/26.htm) [bass tone, needle pops]

3. “Bangkok”: (the objectives of the Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited are listed on their website at http://www.airportthai.co.th/airportnew/html/aat2.html)
1. To support the country's economic development.
2. To support the government's policy of prosperity distribution.
3. To promote Bangkok International Airport as the central air traffic hub for Southeast Asia.
[white noise, pink noise, bass drones]

4) “Leftover Gods in Chicago”: (Von Hausswolff mistakes an abandoned church for a center of polytheistic worship) [two slowly-shifting bass tones in constant dissonance]

Von Hausswolff’s Three Overpopulated Cities... ultimately reveal themselves to be cities borne of the same processes that create their namesake sounds. In man’s quest to locate and assign meaning and emotion to objects or states incapable of knowing or feeling, the listener and the resident are left to ride out their experiences in a common vessel, a leaking boat, slowly taking on the oppressive slick of civilization, promised but never delivered. Furthermore, Von Hausswolff’s experiment with name association carries with it the promise that for every witness to the work, there is a quiet promise of uncensorable introspection.

By Andy Freivogel

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