Review: Axel Dörner + Jassem Hindi – Waterkil

Dörner and Hindi often treat the boundary between sound and silence as some sort of treacherous tightrope. Waterkil is sometimes no more than a wispy exhalation of air hissing lightly into one corner of the soundscape; sometimes no more than a speck of static scuttling around an empty room, or a shrill line of feedback shooting upwards in a solitary jet. The listener is beckoned into the quiet – encouraged to creep into the absence and perceive the sound close up, intimately observing the audio teeter and waver off balance, flickering out of existence and back in again. The tension is agonising and delightful. The duo push against eachother and against themselves, straining to make a sound, and straining to make as little sound as possible.

But this is only one aspect of Waterkil. The record can be openly loud and abrasive too: wails of trumpet, brisk zips of tape player, reverb howls and boisterous overheard conversations jostle for space in a soundscape that relished its own emptiness mere seconds before, marking the points at which Dörner and Hindi relax into more fluid and open periods of collaboration. The duo explore their full velocity spectrum on the second side, in which molecules of interference ricocheting off of silence gather themselves into stormy balls of harsh noise and distortion, tumbling towards peaks of volume and intensity. This is then of course juxtaposed swiftly by a return to excruciating quiet – soft scrapes of metal, the gasps of trumpet breath – proving that both players are capable of tightening the reins as quickly as they slacken.