AMN Reviews: Antony Maubert – Panorama SO2 (Luscinia)

a0053996108_16Antony Maubert (b. 1974) is a French sound artist currently living in Spain, whose music studies ran parallel to his classes in physics. Teacher of computer music, composer, organizer and theorist, he describes his creative acts as “analysis and deconstruction of contemporary society”, chiefly its downside, it would appear – crowds and power, violence, the destruction we wrought on / brought upon ourselves.

On Panorama SO2 (as in the chemical formula for sulfur dioxide), Maubert sculpts toxic exhaust into a revolting cinema of the atmosphere under machine torture. Brand-new, shining, and well oiled, it runs fast, smooth and slick. An unwelcome atonal pitch works itself out of ear range. But the engine gets grittier and sputters. As it strains, it actually sings its own swan song. It weakens, entropy craving its tribute. Breaking down, miscarrying, a new jolt of energy keeps it kinetic. We are such skilled mechanics. A reboot, a terrible sputum of impurities, the air a miasma. Then quiet, but for an ominous seeping. The engine is ancient now, like a Model T, its rattling muffler pitted and rubbed raw with age, finally fizzling out.

Now imagine breathing all this in.

Stephen Fruitman