Auf Abwegen

The German city of Darmstadt is where Marc Behrens was born in 1970, and 20 Zonen is a suitable homage to the locality. To gather resources for the project, Behrens visited many familiar districts and recorded – with typical competence – a plethora of organic, tangible and automatic sounds, adding a couple of paradoxical touches in the shape of small fragments of a fanfare band opening and closing the piece. The ever-winning murmur of ephemeral airplanes also appears in appropriate contexts. The distinction between the signs of urban development and the acoustic characteristics of various natural environments is even more conspicuous when the juxtapositions are made with commonsensical rationality and clear consideration of the tiniest details. Birds, frogs and soaked ambiences get adjusted to the clangor of a passing train, and the noise of potent machines is a well-received attendance rather than constituting a factor of aggravation. The composer manages to engage us totally in a soundscape that doesn’t look like a mere series of events, but a logical progression of episodes – somewhat linked by an invisible thread – whose aural incidence evokes a long-ago that we all seem to miss one way or another.

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