AMN Reviews: Steve Roden – Proximities (Line)

A veteran sound and visual artist from Los Angeles, Steve Roden recently spent some time as artist-in-residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, where I assume the light is very big and very intense. Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd, an artist for whom site dictates form, began buying up property and buildings in rural Marfa back in the seventies, putting his stamp on the town and the town on the map. He eventually created the Foundation to oversee the works.

A sequence of tones is played and recorded on cheap equipment by Roden in an army barracks containing ffty stainless steel sculptures. As the sun comes up, it acts on both the light and the temperature within. Processes interplay with self, temperature – it actually sounds humid and stippled like an iguana´s hide – space and the inanimate things occupying space.

As at-home listening, “Proximities” is an ambient companion with an authoritative presence. It´s a patient piece which long sounds akin to Brian Eno´s “Neroli” but slowly morphs into something quite a bit more layered and nuanced.


Stephen Fruitman