Released by: touchRelease/catalogue number: to085cd
Release date: Jun 7, 2012
ambient, dark ambient, minimal, drone
Thomas Koner has reaffirmed his stature in the experimental music world during the past two years, mostly due to the string of reissues from his early solo career and the 1996 debut album from the duo Porter Ricks. These recent editions came via Type, but for his first new album since 2009's "La Barca" Koner finds an even more appropriate home: Touch Music, the purveyor of all things oblique and subtle in forward-thinking sound.
"Novaya Zemlya" is the most minimal album in ages for the label as Koner focuses the album's three extended tracks on a variety of low-level hums and obscured field recordings that are crushed into fine bits of dust. The album's quiet, barren soundscapes hint at vast worlds as seen through a keyhole, providing mystery and intrigue rather than explicit detail and description. Traces of barely identifiable sounds occasionally waft through the atmospheres – cracks of thunder appear on the first track while the last holds distant piano notes – but Koner's focus lies in abstract restraint, just as it always has.
-Ryan Potts, Experimedia
Novaya Zemlya (lit. "New Land"), also known in Dutch as "Nova Zembla" and in Norwegian as "Gåselandet" (lit. the "Goose Land"), is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe, lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island. The artwork, by Jon Wozencroft, includes an essay by Thierry Charollais, "Thomas Köner's Novaya Zemlya: towards a metaphysical geography"... Of course we find the unique Köneresque glowing drones that we know from his previous works. But we will also be touched by an unrevealed, barely perceptible sense of melody and harmony that Köner has gradually developed since Kaamos (1998) and Nuuk (2004).
"Thomas Köner (b. 1965) is a pioneering multimedia artist whose main interest lies in combining visual and auditory experiences. Over his long, much celebrated career, he has worked between installation works, sound art, minimal soundscapes, and as one-half of Porter Ricks. He attended music college in Dortmund and studied electronic music at the CEM-Studio in Arnhem. Until 1994, he worked in the film industry as editor and sound engineer. Thomas has extended his concept of time and sound color to images, resulting in video installations, photography and net art. His point of departure was composition of sound in which aspects of a performance and visual language were gradually integrated. At first in the collaboration with film artist Jürgen Reble and the live performance Alchemie (1992). Following this, he started to compose film soundtracks and music to accompany historic silent films for the Louvre Museum and the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, who called him a major innovator in the contemporary music scene, as well as noted his collaborative practice which has led to his working with musicians, filmmakers and visual artists on installations and sound performances, and to his creation of six video works produced in two cycles, starting in 2003. Mastered by Denis Blackham.
Thomas Koner Novaya Zemlya from Thomas Koner on Vimeo.