Sandra Boss – Animal choirs outside of time

Kritik February 17 2018 SB

Sandra Boss ”Luft” (Falt, 2018) – review by Wieland Rambke

Air is the only invisible of the four elements; It can only be seen in its effects. Air is also, mythologically as well as naturally, the element of the voice, of sound and music.
With her most recent release entitled “Luft” (the Danish word for air), composer Sandra Boss has chosen a fitting title; One that encompasses all of these aspects and simultaneously connects them with the mechanical properties of the central instrument of her release: The organ.

On “Luft”, released on the French label Falt, Sandra Boss presents a handful of compositions that were realised with an organ as the central point of an extended system: The instrument has been fitted with a control-mechanism, allowing her to remotely alter the flow of air through the organ’s pipes. Furthermore, the behaviour of the organ is controlled via external sequencing gear. This means that under the flow of information and direct interaction, the instrument produces sounds that can cut each other off and interfere with one another. At other times, they come to complement and enrich each other. Thus, the system can be employed to both balance out and to disrupt. Sandra Boss has created a system that allows her to play the organ live, under conditions that produce unforeseeable results within a clearly defined spectrum of possibilities. Suppression, exhaustment, excitation and release all coexist in these compositions.

The result are short, on-the-point studies – self-contained pieces that unfold themselves between chance and control. Listening to this release can be likened to the experience of going through a photo album: While every piece here is an autonomous miniature, every single one of them is also a natural part of a larger whole. The ghostlike and invisible force of air is mirrored in the emotional impact of these compositions: They have a floating quality, oddly alienated from time. They feel deeply natural too, at times evoking images of animal choirs and spontaneous natural sound phenomena. These pieces are both natural and super-natural.

Driven by a careful fascination with classical instruments and out-dated MIDI-gear, Sandra Boss has created an unsettling mosaic of vibrant and vibrating pieces. The release is the result of a probing curiosity that explores the space between classical techniques of playing and composing on the one hand, as well as improvisation with an open invitation for chance. Human, instrument and machine are equal contributors to “Luft”, organised by a composer who has a deep and clear understanding of every single one of these elements.

Info: ”Luft” was released by the label Falt in January 2018.