Christina Kubisch – Licht Himmel

(Gasometer Oberhausen) 

The lone indication of a label name on the digipack corresponds to the place where Christina Kubisch presented the installation of which this music represents the soundtrack. In March 2006, the artist illuminated the Gasometer Oberhausen (Germany) with a series of 212 special LED lights placed all along the 100 meters of altitude that the structure reaches. Two speaker circles, set at the bottom and at the top of the huge cylinder, diffused a 14-channel sonic environment that — combined with the architectural strategy of the lights — generated an amazing result, only partially explainable by watching the cover photograph and spinning the CD, which comprises a stereo mix of the original multichannel composition.

This is an archetypal case in which an item functions either as a memento for those who actually participated or as a musical statement per se, which is how we are judging it now. Even after detaching ourselves from the idea of white-lighting immensity that the installation elicits, Licht Himmel remains a beautiful recording that stands the test of continual listening, a brilliant conception allowing us to repeatedly find places for the mind to rest and meditate, unwarranted aggressiveness or superfluous shocking occurrences all but forgotten. Kubisch utilized a concoction of natural, acoustic and electronic sources, its wholesomeness guaranteed both by the rarefied linearity of the sonic flow and the frugal magnificence of certain timbres (Tibetan metal bowls — played by Onnen Bock and Hans Joachim Roedelius — glass harmonica and glass gong above everything else) in conjunction with refined compositional choices, such as the appearance of ghostly voices and nocturnal animals in particular circumstances. It’s all extremely comforting and, at the same time, utterly distant from whatever commonplace one may come across in analogous releases, perfect for carving a 49-minute niche of much needed inner quietness amidst daily pressures.




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