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Steinbrüchel: ABCD (Bine)

German musician and designer Ralph Steinbrüchel currently resides in Zurich, Switzerland. He’s been releasing music under his surname for years now, focusing on the manipulation of sound through digital processing. His music has found a home in the likes of Room40, 12k and Bine, all of which explore the outer limits of sound manipulation, ambience and abstraction. The four tracks of ABCD (you guessed it, each one is a title) are all sourced from acoustic instruments and objects and then digitally processed, edited and removed quite far from the source. The result is something sedate and muted, like a series of hushed tones that work in tandem to form something greater. Sounds and tones are woven together to form patterns that are repetitive and hypnotic, but not boring. Every once in a while more discernable sounds come through, like the tones of “C” that suggest an electric piano or the disembodied chimes of “D,” but mostly Steinbrüchel manages to take his recordings far enough away from the source to become something wholly “other.” This otherness is comforting, pulling away from the world of the familiar by virtue of abstraction, but without alienating the listener. There’s also a certain amount of isolation in these abstractions, too — receding from context into something more insular, more pure. Steinbrüchel marries the two together, comfort and isolation, in a way that feels both effortless and somehow inert.

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Buy it: iTunes | Boomkat | Bine