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Album Review

Zyklop compiles five of Thomas Köner's installation productions dating from 1998-2002 — long, quiet stretches of carefully textured ambience created for museum exhibits. "Une Topographie Sonore: Col de Vence" is surely the most accomplished work here, stretching the distance of the entire first disc of this double album. Over the course of an hour, Köner and co-producer Yannick Dauby certainly present the "sound topography" they bill the song as: lulling silence gives way to a series of real-world field recordings that transplant you from dreary ambience to a distant field where crickets chirp and other sounds of nature surround you. The other four productions here aren't quite as expansive as that tour de force, but they're still unique and well-crafted, each of them also co-produced (by Yann Beauvais and Jürgen Reble) as well as totally ambient. To truly grasp everything exhibited here, an understanding of French will help; Köner writes his liner notes in the language and also includes whispers of it in "Une Topographie Sonore: Col de Vence," "Des Rives," and "Tu, Sempre." In relation to Köner's previous work, Zyklop is a bit more diverse than his one-track Daikan album (2001) and not quite as intense either; further, the productions here are much more developed and thought-out than what he'd done back in the days of Teimo (1992) and Permafrost (1993). Zyklop isn't the kind of album that you'll want to listen to over and over. It's more of an album you listen to in awe the first time through and return to periodically, forever discovering sounds and moments that escaped you initially.


Born: 1965 in Bochum, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the few musicians with ties to the unrelated but somewhat connected fields of contemporary avant-garde, techno, and indie rock, Thomas Köner has released albums of sparse ambience for the Dutch Barooni label, recorded similarly skeletal and lo-fi techno (with Andy Mellwig) as Porter Ricks, and appeared on albums by Bill Laswell's Divination as well as Sonic Boom's EAR collective. A native of Germany, Köner began recording with 1990's Nunatak Gongamur, the first in a series of LPs for Barooni....
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Zyklop, Thomas Köner
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