Sogar, Basal

Mark Richardson

By Mark Richardson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

While Sogar's Jürgen Heckel works almost entirely in a digital realm, his source material comes mainly from guitar, albeit processed beyond recognition. That process might help explain why Basal has an organic quality that's both familiar and unnerving. It's as though Heckel strives to create field recordings from an unearthly rainforest, where distinctive sounds compete for attention and yet coalesce into a loose but discernible pattern. The buzz and croaks of "Ker75" sound uncannily like a pond full of (possibly aluminum) frogs, while the low-level hum filling space between the extended organ chords on "L2" brings to mind crickets on a summer night. "Dek Here" has braids of drone running through the center of the glitchy racket that manage to form a melody, but the most conventionally musical track is the closing "X Pas," with random acoustic guitar notes added to the chirps and Eno-esque ambient treatments. Heckel's tools are the same sine waves, clicks, whirs and drones that have become common with electronic experimentalists like Christian Fennesz, but Basal reflects an unusually strong sense of design.