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Florian Hecker: Synopsis

Tramway, Glasgow until July 30th
Four stars

Listen hard, and for a fleeting moment,the cascade of chimes that open Florian Hecker's twenty-five minute sound installation sounds a dead ringer for The Wedding March. Within seconds, however, the four compartmentalised areas of Tramway's main space that hosts Hecker's quartet of variations on a theme explode in a riot of sonic confetti. These sounds fall over and under each other from a network of suspended speakers walled off by a maze of acoustic panels.

The starting point for the prolific genre-busting German artist and some time collaborator of Russell Haswell and The Aphex Twin among others is Formulation (2015), a computer generated piece that plays through a trio of speakers at angles to each other. As a composer of space as much as sound, Hecker creates what are effectively three remixes to play simultaneously in the other allotted areas.

While three speakers are allotted to each composition, two spaces contain two speakers apiece, while a grand total of five dangle into the room's biggest area. While each work is made in the image of the original, they are nuanced enough to discern Formulation DBM Self (2015-2017) and Formulation Chim 111 [hcross] (2017) from Formulation as Texture [hcross] (2017).

With it being pretty much impossible to isolate each chamber of sound, the differences melt like snowflakes on the palm of your hand. Heard together in this way, the resulting cross-cutting cacophony kicks out an industrial pulse that recalls the daily (organ?) grind of a steel-works. Rather than heavy-duty clang, it's as if the factory has been stripped bare and the left-over raw material cordoned off in a zero gravity container and destined to gently rub up up against each other for infinity. There are rushes, skids, elisions and collisions followed by occasional moments of calm in a celestial-sounding conversation that orbits its way safely home.

The List, June 2017

ends

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