Kaja Günak
Einzelbuch (The Fig Tree)

This release by the German sound artist Kaja Günak draws on the recent wave of interest in the "subgenres" of modern composition. In the past two decades there has been a growing interest in the sonic zones between physical and electronic elements – the physical space, the surfaces, the textures. In a sense the sound of Günak’s work has the quality of sound art, but it is not the work of art, but the articulation of a very particular style of sound art, which is a changeable art, and in which the composer can revise and re-envision what goes on inside the sound.

This is a winning work. For me, it corresponds to the quality of interest in the sonic space. Günak is interested in the dynamics of sound, in the interaction of a sound with its environment, and is not satisfied with the latter. Her approach is not an imitation of the work of a composer but a study of how the sound is produced, in the space, in the space where the sound takes place. It is a study of the relationship between the sound of guitar and the space where the music is performed. It is an interesting study, but it is not art – it’s an empirical study.

By the beginning of the work, the tension between the recording and the space is high, and she projects a subtle sound. But gradually, as a process, it decreases and the space and the sounds become more and more spacious. This is the beginning of a larger movement. But a cautious approach is applied, and it works very well. The fourth half is the most intense part of the work. The guitar is almost a solitary instrument and Günak draws the listener to it. It is the time when the music grows quiet, grows a little bit of space, and then grows again. This is a very powerful and full-sounding work.

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(Music courtesy of Talibam!)
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(Music courtesy of Sylvain Souklaye)