AMN Reviews: Anton Lukoszevieze – For Fred Sandback

Fred Sandback
Fred Sandback (Photo credit: Squish_E)

Anton Lukoszevieze: For Fred Sandback [Absence of Wax]

This brief but intriguing recording by cellist/composer Anton Lukoszevieze is a kind of memorial in sound to the late Fred Sandback, an American Minimalist artist best known for space-defining sculptures consisting of stretched yarn. Lukoszevieze encountered Sandback’s work at a retrospective exhibition while the former was on fellowship at Cambridge a few years ago. The cellist was affected deeply enough by Sandback’s art to interpret one of Sandback’s non-sculptural works—a painting of horizontal lines that appeared on the cover of the exhibition catalogue–as the basis for a score. Lukoszevieze then performed the composition multiple times on cello. This fifteen minute track is the result of the overdubbing of his performances.

As performed, the work is built on the sonorities of the cello’s open strings and harmonics. Lukoszevieze creates an undulating, at times ghostly sound that integrates mostly related pitches into a weave of shifting consonances and dissonances. It’s possible to track individual lines and hear slowly bowed tones, sometimes roughly textured, sometimes penetratingly played sul ponticello. Each part in isolation is almost tentative; stacked up, the parts produce a layering effect that manages to avoid muddiness or an overly opaque thickness.

It’s easy to imagine a kind of parallel between the vibrating strings of Lukoszevieze’s cello and the individual threads of yarn Sandback used to delineate corners and other spatial features of the rooms he worked in. In each case the material serves the ambiguous purpose of enclosing and yet leaving open the environment in which it’s situated, whether that environment consists of three-dimensional physical space or the sonic space of pitch relations.

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