The Fugitives

Nice compilation curated by Monika Golla, a German artist prevalent in film, video, photography and performance…all the artists on Escape (EDITION DEGEM CD 14) were commissioned to produce a piece of music or sound on the theme of “escape”, or to use Golla’s own phrase, to “unravel their different perspectives”. Quite often this kind of “themed” approach – the artistic equivalent of putting the cart before the horse and flogging it to death – can end up stilted, contrived, and boring, but I’m finding this comp a compelling listen. Almost every track has a sinister, nightmarish edge, uncovering hidden fears and dangers that lurk in the modern world – especially the urban life, evidently. While most of the pieces could be classified as one form or another of “electro-acoustic drone”, there are also traces of real world / documentary recordings leaking into the creeping murk, which tie things down to some extent so that Escape is not a completely fantastical series of dark episodes. There are also a few cuts using voices, usually concealed or distorted, to further advance the terrifying sensations. Far from offering the listener any sort of escape from anything, it seems to me they present the contemporary world as a trap, with forces both seen and unseen hemming us in at every turn. The maximal sound art on offer here creates a highly clotted, churning sensation, restricting our movements and distracting clear thought. Very good. No use in listing all the names here, as 99% of them are new to me in any case; judging by the majority of website URLs printed here, they are mostly German creators. Also no use in attempting to describe individual tracks, because if you buy a copy you will find a paragraph of plentiful annotations for each work which explains the underlying concepts in lucid detail. An excellent set which, I like to think, may communicate something of Monika Golla’s own perception of the world. From 12 June 2017.