AMN Reviews: Kim Nasung – Places (Wefrec)

Kim Nasung´s electro-acoustic works are postmodern ghosts in the machine, the spooks that have abandoned superannuated analogue technology and are insinuating their way into their new, digital successors. On “Places”, he succeeds in evoking both possible and impossible landscapes with a paltry arsenal comprised of field recordings, a “noise generator” and mini bandura, a stringed Ukrainian folk instrument.

“Places” takes the listener to unwelcoming, peopleless vicinities. Even he can´t name them, giving the tracks titles like “v.6” and “”7 v.4, coordinates on a map not yet charted. The lazy lapping of a cold sea at its shore conjured by a slurry of static, dust and metal shavings, its waves disturbing a wreck half buried in the sand. An ultra-modern suburban mall abandoned before ever greeting a single customer, now taken over by the buzzing flourescent lighting and escalators grinding against their drive chains as the oil runs dry. Fog tentacles of dry ice exploring the absence in an electron shell. And yet, as this unsettling album begins to draw to a close, something very familiar can be heard in the near distance. Something almost musical, something signaling amusement.

The Lublin-based Nasung also participated in a major event arranged by the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw together with The Art And Technology Foundation of Poland showcasing new experimental electronic music from Belarus. Along with Nasung, domestic artists Harpakahlo, Vasn Piparjuuri and Krzysztof Orluk accompanied visitors Knyaz Mishkin, i/dex and Pavel Ambiont. The unique hour-long document, by and large revelatory, especially in its more subtle moments, has been compiled by Jarek Grzesica – who also participates under the monicker Gold Plated Face – of the Warsaw Electronic Festival and set in a sturdy, black hardcover book entitled “Opening the Door: Belarus Sound Art in Poland”, detailing the event richly in word and text.

Stephen Fruitman