RLW

14

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This mysterious project known as RLW is the outlet for German composer Ralf Wehowsky to conduct his experiments in noise and silence. His music is often placed in the post-industrial scene, yet it is such an abstract form of sound art that it is hard to pin down as fitting into any genre. There are elements of serious electro-acoustic composition in these works, and the essential elements of music are often the only bare trace elements he leaves behind -- after heavy processing and editing to a pinpoint. On first listen, this music can sound like a random collage of noise, with each burst of sampled sound separated by long periods of silence or lingering tones, just on the threshold of audibility. In terms of avant-garde music, this is certainly a challenging listen even for the hardest of ears. After repeated listens, this recording starts to make some kind of internal logic come to the fore and reveals itself to be a very calculated study of structure and sound that is so alien to common notions of music as to be absolutely enlightening. The kind of compositions displayed on 14 make Wehowsky's experiments the true heir to the concepts of John Cage and Karlhienz Stockhausen and, most interestingly, this tangent developed out of post-punk to a greater extent than from 20th century classical music.