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Herbert Distel: Travelogue

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Herbert Distel Eleonora Fossati
Photograph of Herbert Distel on the other side of the camera by Eleonora Fossati

Perish all thoughts about the architecture and sculpture in sound. Herbert Distel’s Travelogue is a field recording featuring a sonic journey as fabulous and magical as the sojourn itself. The spectral nature of the recording puts the recording in a class of its own. One is reminded of Alan Ginsburg’s Howl which announces the poetry of all things present. In his Natura, festa do interior (Natura, Backwoods Celebration) which featured Matéria de Poesia (Matter of Poetry), from his book Gramática Expositiva do Chão (Poesa quase toda) – (Descriptive Grammar of the Ground (almost complete poems)the Brasilian poet Manoel de Barros does similar with words as he transports the natural sound of the forest to poetry. Distel does so too in his opus Travelogue; the difference is that this is ‘journey’ is somewhere in Europe and we are party to a sculpted sound of his journey.

_Distel is a painter, a sculptor and visual artist of the still and moving image. To relocate the visual and tactile experience of a journey, ostensibly by train, would be rather dull is one considered the ambient sound comprised the noise of a platform, the hiss of steam, the buzz of electricity and the clatter of wheels on metal. However, Distel brings all of this to life as he captures its visceral sound harmonically and rhythmically. One is struck by the acuity of the ‘music’. Perspectives are bent like refracted light, however, only the blazing rays can be ‘heard’ in the mind’s mind as the supernatural mirror of steel generates the sound and spaces of silence. Rhythms are muted or loud, which does the work of the dynamics of an instrumentalist playing his music as if in the thinness and density of air. Suddenly you become aware that this is no ordinary journey, but one that will be remembered for the daring of its latter-day Homeric odyssey.

Herbert Distel, without intervening in the soundscapes, preserves its poetry with concrete mastery and consummate skill in this important revival of industrial song of an itinerant constructivist artist.

Track List: Departures and Journey; Arrival.
Composed by: Herbert Distel – guitar and African piano by Felix Hochuli.

Label: hatHUT
Release date: November 2015
Running time: 52:30
Buy music on: Squidco

About Herbert Distel

Herbert Distel (born 7 August 1942 in Bern) is a Swiss painter, sculptor, photographer, filmmaker and composer currently residing in Katzelsdorf near Vienna Austria. He is primarily known for his sculpture, sound art and conceptual art. Read more…

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