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Reviews



De:Bug    Germany

Jürgen Heckel is Sogar. And Sogar is a more than adequate descendent of the excellent Shuttle358 CD on Tayler Deuprees´ label. Heckel concentrates on the balance between pads, bell-like octave chimes and bleepy gurgling and rustling, runs everything into itself, lets odd digital splashes run softly into an ocean of FM-synthesis only to send the last remaining sound particles back off on point-guard duty. A night like this can last for ever. Surprises appear up to the last minute, if not because Heckel closes the album with his guitar, which no-one expected. People will be talking about this one for a while. The format of a winner!

[Thaddi]



Etherreal Magazine    France

Sortant sur 12k, label de Brooklyn fondé par Taylor Deupree, le premier album de Sogar, alias Jürgen Heckel est aussi apaisé que pouvait le laisser prévoir sa pochette, paysage nu dont on ne sait pas très bien s’il s’agit d’une piste d’atterrissage ou bien des abords d’une piscine.

Principalement composé de nappes accueillantes et de glitchs mélodiques (ces petits larsens discrets, jamais violents popularisés par les artistes du label Mille Plateaux), ce disque n’est jamais ni froid ni glacé. Au contraire, Sogar arrive à influer dans ses textures et craquements une chaleur et une âme qui manque parfois cruellement à ce type de productions.

Pour ce faire, il peut user de la réverbération, travaillant et triturant une unique note pour en faire sortir le maximum de sons différents (Dek Here). Il sait également faire ressortir la rythmique interne de ses sons (Ker35) ou bien leur adjoindre une rythmique qui leur confère un statut mélodique (PE et Blun).

On a parfois l’impression que Sogar se laisse déborder par les grésillements qu’il crée (L3), mais ceux-ci sont, en réalité, toujours maîtrisés, contenus, dans un perpétuel souci d’évasion pour l’auditeur qui, hypnotisé, se perd dans les paysages ainsi constitués. Les sons micro-électroniques y croisent alors des instruments plus classiques (guitare, orgue), mais la sérénité ambiante n’est a-ucunement troublée.

[François B.]



Faqt Magazine    USA

Sogar «Basal» (12K) The current trend in glitchalia seems to be leaning toward «keeping it real» - tearing their cracks and squiggles from sounds ranging from taped ambient sound to the return of instrumentation. On Christian Fennesz’s latest disc, «Endless Summer», he returns to his first love: guitar (even if he does filter it through an army of effects). Jurgen Heckel, the flesh to Sogar’s shadow, twists the six-string, as well as odd non-musical objects and found-sound, behind baffles, effects, and intense processing on his debut, «Basal». Unashamedly bound to the glitch genre, Heckel finds freedom in such constraints by taking the structural route less travelled: the thrumming static on «L2» mimics insistant tribal beats, before being overwhelmed by the soft hail of a thousand satellite signals. «Dek Here» refrects the single-tone studies of Microstoria into a diffused rainbow of feedback and a stuck organ note that would make LaMonte Young nostalgic, while «Blun» stacks beat fragments, crackling with electricity, into a House framework that makes SND sound like Daft Punk! The most fascinating thing about «Basal», though, is that it’s vibrant, microscopic beauty was captured live. Top that, Popp!



Vital Weekly    Netherlands

Sogar is the name chosen by a German guy Juergen Heckel, who lives in Paris and ‘Basal’ is his first release. Apperentely he manipulates accidental sound, using guitars, mixing desks and amplifies and cables as instruments. Everything is then put into the holy computer for further sound treatment. Soft clicks, soft hiss and slowly faded soundscapes forms the music on this release. Quite ambient atmospheres here, but don’t be fooled. This has not much to do with ambient music as you may know it, but it extends the ambient music to the clicks and cuts movement, without having the 4/4 beats or the digital coldness found amongst some of those. Sogar is a less hectic Oval and a less poppy Stephan Mathieu, and a more coherent Shuttle358. Sogar found himself a nice spot among the best with a clear own sound. Great discovery of a new artist by a likewise great label.

[Frans de Waard]



Xlr8r    USA

Minimalist artists Sogar and ZELLE approach similar sonic constructions from divergent positions, each creating tonal textures and noise infused intricacies, that are contemplative and complex in effect. Basal is the remanipulation of found sound with the accompaniment of various instrumentation and additional processing. The sounds are natural enough to be soothing , something of an amplification of the everyday in a more concentrated arena of experimentation. Layers of melodic texturing thrive within the hums and lengthy tonal screetches, like an aesthetic restructuring of white noise. However, where Sogar’s bleeps and hisses fall into rhythmic beauty, ZELLE’s graphically constructed sound compositions aim for a precision of abstraction with the abandonment of melodic structure. Electroacoustic composers Maurizio Martusciello and Nicola Catalano create highly intricate (if, at moments barely audible) snippets of sound on their debut, Nth. The sound is deliberately sparse, leaving the act of listening quietly active and participatory.



Alternative Press    USA

Non coma inducing minimalist electronica there are generally two possible avenues of listener engagement offered by most minimal «glitch» electronic music. you can strain your ears (and brain) trying to pick up the tiny, timid sounds, or you can let the disc soothe you to sleep with its delicate hisses and pops. basal offers more than that. like a few other releases on the often excellent 12k label, it actually seems composed, rather than discovered. jurgen heckel’s melodies (or the traces of them) spiral out from a still center, sparking and pealing into the air like the cries of digital baby mice. sure, the trakcs blend together, but no more than expected in such an unobtrusive, self-effacing genre. those who can spot beauty in the rust patterns on a steel plate, or in a decade’s worth of random impact scuffs on a diner counter, will find sounds here of a profoundly pleasing nature.

[Phil Freeman]



Incursion    Canada

Basal is the debut full length from Sogar, aka Jürgen Heckel. Richly layered textures, crackles and tones create some compelling sonic spaces and a mood that is quite calming and reflective. The components often melt into gentle rhythms, yet sometimes remain in the abstract. The tracks are medium length (9 tracks in all, with a total runtime of just under 50 min), and develop with natural ease. There’s a calm, contemplative nature to this music, which carries a sort of warmth about it that seems rare for a microsound project (usually favouring more of a cold, stark mood of alienation in the digital age). The melodic textures on this album can be almost hypnotising: their crackles, tones and harmonic loops mesmerise the listener with their soothing rhythms and complex layering. In all, this is a peaceful and engaging new release, and a promising start for Sogar.

[Richard di Santo]



Ambientrance    USA

Yet another new microsound artist is unveiled on the mightily understated 12k label; sogar (the nom-de-processing of one Jürgen Heckel) delivers basal, a slightly glitchy tableau inhabited by teasing wraiths of almost-musicality. An especially intriguing blend!

In enigmatic beauty Ker35, sporadic motes and slithers are topped with a pretty-though-obtuse layer of cut-up chimes. A somehow slurpy rhythm spatters behind the ringing/rippling void of PE (2:42). Speckled with occasional pips of static, live recording dek here (9:31) alights into a steamy, shifting radiance pulsing with various levels of activity. Bleeping blun emits cheerful burbling tones and effervescent clickiness. Beaming with unknown energies, L2 simply radiates within a force field of its own making. During parts of 9, a vaguely harmonica-like glare and remotely guitar-esque strums appear, making this closing number seem like a sunset campfire song from some android homeworld, sorta. I’m not sure how sogar manages to stir relatively obscure soundforms into such curiously ear-catching transmissions... but he certainly does. Like an alien robot telling not-quite-decipherable tales which are nonetheless captivating to hear, basal’s subtle eccentricities are worth a 9.0 of appreciation. Of course you know by now that 12k is the premiere source of microsonic wonders.



Grooves    USA

Squeezing between shuttle358 and kid606 circa PS I Love You, Sogar’s Jürgen Heckel brings some fumbling guitar playing and powerline drones to the glitch/click party. It’s impressive enough, especially the way in which «Dek Here» builds its quietly contemplative buzzes to a subtle, layered climax. Elsewhere, wire surges and humming drones add to the somewhat melancholic feel. Austere and serious, but that be expected on this label. Certainly a worthwhile addition to the 12k roster.

[John Gibson]



Haunted Ink    USA

I knew nothing about Sogar when I first started listening to this disk, so I checked out 12k’s excellent web site. This is what I found: «Born in Nuremberg, living in Paris, Sogar’s Jürgen Heckel manipulates accidental sound into gentle and brittle melodic textures with arrangements using guitars as well as mixing desks, amplifiers and cables as instruments.» It’s important to note that guitars, amps, and cables are all referred to here as «instruments.» This is absolutely the correct term, for what is an instrument but a device that generates sound? Notice that I don’t use the word «music,» but sound. Sound is a natural phenomenon, and can take any shape; music is a human construct, and it can take only certain set, prearranged shapes. As the blurb goes on to say, Basal was created out of «nonmusical» sounds (static, glitches, rustling electrical surges) culled from these instruments; the sounds were then sequenced and manipulated digitally by computer software. It is, consequently, impossible to tell the origin of any particular sound--to tell which sound comes from a guitar, which from a mixing desk, which from an amplifier, or which from cables. When the sounds are all processed together on the computer, they blend, fuse with one another, and become something quite different--something, in fact, that is far more «musical» than anything created out of aberrant sparks has the right to be.

I focus here on the process of creating this disk not because I have any particular «secret knowledge» into the creation of Basal but because music like this foregrounds process--pushes the act of creating music out into the open by focusing attention on the noises that most music tries to hide, thereby exposing music itself as a created thing. However, what’s interesting about this work (as opposed to some other works in the «glitch» micro-genre) is the unusual way this music actually transcends its base origins. What I hear on this disk is the work of an artist who is trying, like a Zen gardener, to prune and order a chaotic sea of sound into something beautiful and interesting. The third track, «Ker75,» for example, starts out with a series of undulating, prodding hisses that swivel around and mutate but never lose their hiss; above and around these hisses, snatches of static and digital noise pierce through the haze. Then one of the hisses turns into a simple, elegant melody, rising up and around the noise. Then some of the digital noises glisten down into a steady, soft pattern. It’s as if the song begins as chaos. Then slowly, one piece at a time, the chaotic elements are culled, cropped, or otherwise «tamed.» Of course, «tamed» here is a relative term, for the sounds never escape the category of «glitch» or even «noise.» It’s just that, amidst the chaos of these sounds, a musical idea somehow takes shape and is given definition, at least for a little while.

Errol Morris, the director of such documentaries as The Thin Blue Line and Mr. Death, made an interesting film a few years back called Fast, Cheap, and Out-of-Control. The film told the stories of four people: a lion tamer, a topiary gardener, a biologist who studied the naked mole rat, and a robot designer. These individuals seemed to have nothing in common, but Morris’ documentary reveals that each of these people were trying to control, to order, or to otherwise understand the vast chaos that is life. I hear the same thing going on in the tentative, unusual compositions on Sogar’s Basal. I see in this work the musical landscape carved out by others in the «glitch» or micromusical genre, but I also see the deep well of noise that exists beyond human defined musical categories. As I said earlier, «glitch» music foregrounds process; this work, however, foregrounds not simply the process of creating music but the process humans go through in determining what is and what isn’t music. It’s an interesting work, to say the least. Not everyone will enjoy the droning, static aberrations (the raw data) that flow throughout these nine tracks, but the melodies (when they materialize) are worth hearing, and the work as a whole is worth investigating if you are, like me, interested not only in listening to music, but in considering the concepts which shape and define how we perceive and understand all sounds, not just music.



[Microsound]

...recently arrived alongside Stephen Mathieu’s «frequencyLib» and Inoue’s & Deutsch’s «Field Tracker.»  The 3 discs are all wonderful, but I am currently, particularly enthralled by «Field Tracker» & «Basal.» This message focuses on Sogar’s «Basal,» a new release on 12K:

Rightly so, comments by Taylor Deupree have drawn parallels between Sogar &  Shuttle358.  Both artists are able to pad crackles, clicks, hiss, and static bursts in warm, luscious, padded sounds.  Both their works provide a bliss-like calm to surround the listener, while allowing other more «micro-» sounds to filter through.  Sogar’s release is a delectable morsel, that is

easy on the palette, sweet, but not overly-so. The backdrop is extremelycalm and pleasant, providing lush, warm pads and long, slightly wavering tones that keep you tuned into, and help to contextualize the sonic environment. These sounds appear to melt away long icicles that hang all around the listener.  The isles drip throughout, producing crackling sounds as they break apart and fall to the ground. There is a rich layer of sounds that flows like many winds, of different temperatures and speeds, around and through the many objects present. The objects emit, fall-apart, recompose, and interact precisely and with much control with the aural atmospheres.

This work offers a balanced and tempered approach at incorporating full-bodied, long-long lasting, slow rhythmic thuds and atmospheres with tiny, cold, metallic snap, crackles, & pops.  Tiny arpeggiated melodies subtly come and go, with no one part of the composition screaming for attention. The work is continuous and flows seamlessly from one track to the next with a well-paced evolutionary tempo.

I very much enjoy this CD and highly recommend it.  The atmosphere and environment is similar to and reminds me of Biosphere’s «Substrata.» However, they are two completely different works with only the feeling they

produce in me being similar.

-enjoy

[Raul Gonzalez]

 

01 - Ker35

02 - Pe

03 - Ker75

04 - Dek Here

05 - Blun

Sogar Press BasalSogar_Press.htmlshapeimage_14_link_0

Basal

12k (USA)

Cat. No.: 12k1014

Release : August 2001

Edition : 1000

9 Tracks - 49m:52s

06 - L3

07 - L2

08 - L1

09 - X_Pas

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