Straub’s Incline

From Peter Schubert and Andreas Usenbenz we have the record Plaqué (KLANGGOLD KG024), a single 41-minute piece of sound art. It’s a mixture of field recordings, performance, sound art allied to a conceptual / history / research theme. The Geislinger Steige is one of the steepest railway inclines in all Europe; while this railway ramp is Victorian, the actual trade route linking Southern Germany with Amstetten is much earlier and can be traced to Roman times. Our musician friends Schubert and Usenbenz are mainly interested in the area because of their devotion to Daniel Straub, a 19th century metalworker and owner of many profitable steel mills and foundries. He seems to have worked on this railway ascent and supplied the metal for its construction.

To commemorate Straub’s works, Schubert and Usenbenz “followed his footsteps”, did some research, and collected sound recordings that might illustrate his achievements in some way. Plaqué is the result, its sound surface further treated with electronics, effects, mixing desks, samples, cassette tapes, dubplates, synths, and more. While not a very eventful listen – it’s the aural equivalent of being dragged up that railway incline at 0.002 miles per hour on a gloomy overcast day – some listeners may be enchanted by the subtly-shifting nuances of sound in these grey featureless minimal drones, and the sense of inexorable forward-motion into an unknown zone. If you purchase the CD, you might stand a chance of also buying one of three locked-groove 7-inchers (the duo used locked-groove dubplates for live performances of Plaqué). From 29th December 2017.

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