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The sound wizardry of Ralph Steinbrüchel resides in delicateness, subtlety, and the rightful appropriation of samples. No matter who supplies the raw sound materials or what these materials are, Steinbrüchel will manage to make them sound like...Steinbrüchel. At the basis of Basis are guitar recordings from Lawrence English's Crónica release Happiness Will Befall (the four "Interlude" pieces) and Ben Frost's Bedroom Community release Theory of Machines (the two "These" pieces), and, for "Falter," piano recordings by Bernd Schurer, with whom Steinbrüchel has simultaneously released the striking duo project Falte on the Non-Visual Objects label. The "Interlude" tracks are four five-minute reflections on quiet bell-like tones turned into shimmering drones, static yet gripping in their own right. "These 1" (17 minutes) and "These 2" (nine minutes) are slightly grittier and more changing on a mid-term scale, capturing the abrasive quality of Frost's original textures. As for the 20-minute "Falter," it provides a very quiet, even lulling, moment of contemplation, electric piano notes slowly echoing back and forth between the left and right channels, as textures morph very slowly in the background. Basis is not Steinbrüchel's most striking record -- in that department, his Zwischen.raum EP or the aforementioned Falte are your best bets -- but it exemplifies his less-is-more philosophy and his craft as a soundsmith.

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