Tabs Out | Rinus van Alebeek – The Gracious Depression

Rinus van Alebeek – The Gracious Depression
9.12.17 by Ryan Masteller

gracious depression

Life can’t be contained within the mere confines of a plastic cassette tape, but we sure can try to cram it in there! Berlin’s (or Poland’s now?) Rinus van Alebeek, Renaissance sound artist and curator, abstract poet, man about town, does his best throughout his travels to capture the very essence of human existence as he goes, recording seemingly at will, sometimes seemingly at random. Piecing together the fragments into a whole that resembles an emotional roller coaster more than anything else, van Alebeek seeks to find some hidden truth that wafts through the atmosphere, hoping that his microphone has picked it up along the way. Considering his legendarily prolific output and activity within the Berlin artistic community, I’d say he’s at least on to something even if he hasn’t pinned it down yet. But that’s what it’s all about – the search!

“The Gracious Depression” is the latest piece of manipulated musique concrète in Rinus’s repertoire, a tape made from tapes for tapeheads like us. This stretched-out, deconstructed, scientifically examined, and reconstituted composition is surprisingly musical when compared to decidedly and defiantly nonmusical artists. Notes from songs and performances peek through the veil of magnetic tape, mangled corpses of music enhancing the ambient sounds and spoken scraps of everyday life, rendered flickeringly surreal by Rinus’s technique, not unlike David Lynch’s visual effects surrounding Black Lodge spirits in Twin Peaks: The Return. Let it be said, Rinus is a master cassette editor, splicing together sound object after sound object until the result, while abstract in form, takes on a believable, living, evolving, and human texture. You can feel yourself living inside it, a facsimile of half-remembered conversations and splintered radio broadcasts.

Rinus van Alebeek is on an adventure, and if his activities are any indication, he’s a good guy to get to know within the experimental underground music community in Europe. Till we all make our pilgrimages, we have Das Andere Selbst in Berlin to thank for these lovely tapes. Track one down, they only made fifty – it’s all about the search!

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