Thomas Koner – Novaya Zemlya

Thomas Koner

CD – Touch
Novaya Zemlya by Thomas Köner is made of abstractions that do not condense into a tangible construction. The continuum is very perturbing and is diluted in barely audible frequencies. In this release for Touch, the author, who can boast of a long career in the ambient-isolationist scene, has created immaterial tensions that pay homage to a specific and very symbolic geographical area: the homonymous Russian arctic archipelago where devastating experiments with the atom bomb were carried out during the Cold War. These days there are no more explosions in the area, although “subcritical” tests are still made, permitted by the nuclear test ban treaty. The landscapes where these recordings were collected are uninhabitable now: there is no trace of human beings. Reflecting this, the record’s drones are extremely dilated and the atmospheres are very rarefied and full of iterations. Despite the clear elegance and strength of the captures, the symbolic references bring us back to the themes of diaspora and isolation, evoking claustrophobic “cold war” environments. The themes of “glacial” and “emotional extraneousness” have always been a source of inspiration for Thomas Köner. Sequences and resonances permeate the work with a studied spatiality amid cavernous echoes and crackles: a melancholic recording of a desolated reality, of evaporating history, of spaces losing their function. What’s left after the explosion is radioactive fallout, which fades with time, bringing with it the marks of contamination.