Sog is the magisterial Slip debut of Klaas Hübner, the Berlin-based sound sculptor, improviser, and instrument-builder whose installations coax out uncanny chants from whirly tubes, ceiling fans, styrofoam, and cassette tapes.
Recorded live in Germany and New Orleans from 2013 to 2016, Sog’s six works mold elemental acoustic forces through elegant constructions ranging from the domestic to the gargantuan. On ‘single tube’, a lone Hübner swings a whirly tube above his head; on ‘château poulet’ – a collaborative work with Andrew Schrock – the artist’s body becomes a 10 metre tower, whose belt and clutch system whirls jumbo tubes attached to the blades of multiple ceiling fans.
Sog’s works play out time and time again in the interstitial zone between automation and spontaneity, machine and body. ‘schwarzwald’ submits ten tape loops of the artist’s voice to a mechanised dance which visually and sonically echoes an eerie forest; in ‘music for ceiling fan and tubes’, Hübner and regular collaborator Lysandre Coutu-Sauvé sing seductively through whirlies as a ceiling fan chops above their heads.
Perhaps most astonishing is the psychedelic, otherworldly pleasures Sog’s cyclic architectures illicit. An instinct for hypnotic, primal rhythm powers Hübner’s work as much as lyricism. ‘sswsw’ and ‘extended pickup #1’ – a pair of poignant motorised elegies for metronomes and a funnelled airstream – recall melancholic cuts from Actress or De Leon as much as canonic works from Ligeti, Cage, or Chris Watson.
Sog [SLP025] is available on C50 tape or CD, with download from 23rd May 2016. It comes packaged with a fold-out A3 poster containing artwork, documentation, and accompanying notes by Klaas Hübner. Mastered by Owen Roberts.
Videos of “Château Poulet”, “extended pickup #1”, “schwarzwald”, “SSWSW”, and “music for ceiling fan & tubes” in action
Plays on Crow Versus Crow, Frission Radio, Towards The Margins, Skyapnea‘s NTS show and BBC R3’s Late Junction
“…tape manipulation reminiscent of an unhinged Kid Koala, complete with whistles and warbles, scratches and screams…” – a closer listen
“…an ear-opening perspective on the art of a very intriguing and imaginative artist…” – Nathan Thomas, Fluid Radio
“…The crisscrossing ticking of metronomes, industrial hiss and crackle of tape loops, and gong like tones of springs attached to styrofoam all make an appearance, but the drone of the whirly tubes is Hübner’s most compelling tool…” – Tristan Bath, The Quietus
“..This is great listening, Hübner’s compositions having an almost sensuous physicality even as they seem to float in space like clouds of hyper-intelligent candy floss. Aeolian harps for the modern office…” – Paul Margree, We Need No Swords