Review: Helena Ford – Wir Brauchen Angst. Und Schade

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Spread over an extended duration that conveys the sheer length of time it takes to transition, the two hours of Wir Brauchen Angst. Und Schade dwells entirely between disappearance and emergence. These pieces often fixate on wisps, traces and brittle high pitches, neither broadening into the fore nor thinning into the horizon, akin to the buzz of awakening circuitry when turning on a long-dormant light. Yet the shrill tone never subsides; the flicker never stabilises. By foregoing a sense of progression, instead shifting between iterations of taut liminality, Helena Ford’s music is left unequivocally stranded in the realm of process, for which the utilisation of no-input feedback could not be more apt.

Other pieces thrive on echoes divorced from their source (“hhhhhhhh 1”, like a vehicle skidding round the upper stories of a car park) or drips of micro-plosive (“kkkkkkk 1”, like rain on cracked guttering), always rendered as streaks of vibration upon vacant walls of silence, and always pitched upon the edge of materialisation yet never permitted to collapse into definitive form. Wir Brauchen Angst. Und Schade is about the texture of these sounds in any given moment, but also the experience of dwelling within transition for such an extended period of time. Where some use long duration to construct grand arcs of narrative, Helena Ford uses it to push the “before” and “after” out of reach, like land masses drifting ever further apart as the ocean expands between them.

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