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Burkhard Beins - Disco Prova

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Artist: Burkhard Beins

Album: Disco Prova

Label: Absinth

Review date: Jul. 24, 2007

I have heard percussionist Burkhard Beins in several contexts, and his work has been consistently interesting and enjoyable. This is the first of his solo projects to grace my speakers, and it’s an enthralling listen, proof of the wonders strong conception and careful editing can accomplish.

I have not looked at the compositional descriptions Beins provides on the handmade cover, choosing to allow myself only track titles to adulterate the listening experience. Vague, symbolic and not overly illuminating in any conventional sense, they nevertheless hint at the compactness and motion of each soundscape; “Reel” does indeed spin itself out across the frequency spectrum as it rides on its bed of turntabled vinyl noise, a recurrent sound motif throughout the disc. Certain sounds crossfade, almost imperceptibly, while others are juxtaposed with deliberate suddenness. “Reel’s” finest moment is the anticlimax, where all sounds fade, leaving a sharp rhythmic clicking to slow and stop, the silence enveloping everything.

Silence is another important component of this 36-minute journey; as with many recent discs of electro-acoustic music, it is constantly in the wings, waiting to reassert its authority when each event has played itself out. It sits just underneath each pattern shift in “Igniter,” the piece itself resembling a delightfully miniature version of Ligeti’s symphonic poeme for 100 metronomes. It also begins the intriguingly titled “For Ian Curtis,” before being usurped by yet another blast of vinyl crackle almost masking a gnawingly familiar drone.

Through careful microphone placement, judicious panning and tasteful sound juxtaposition, Beins has created a unified but radically diverse piece of music that never outstays its welcome. His attention to each edit also ensures that no single event lasts too long or demands too much attention. Disco Prova is a well-crafted and engaging disc, awe-inspiring on a small scale.

By Marc Medwin

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