‘Rien’ is a short passage of birdsong and other, less easily
identifiable ambient sounds. It really does appear to want to emulate its
title. This brief prologue is quickly succeeded by a slice
of the gently pastoral, in the form of ‘Garten Am Abend’ (garden
in the afternoon): all plucked acoustic guitar and more birds. And so Près
De La Lisière proceeds, borne upon a mixture of breeze and scuffles.
The title means ‘close to the border’. The border in question
appears to exist between something and nothing, music and sound, noise
and silence. As to reference points, think of Hans Joachim Roedelius, La
Dusseldorf, Durrutti Column, and most particularly of Dallas Simpson’s ‘Waterpump’ on
em:t’s 1997 compilaton ‘1197’.
Près De La Lisière appears to be a tabula rasa, a sonic landscape
without a subject. This absence begins to appear to be the raison d’etre
of Sinebag’s music, a space into which the listener can place themselves
and, if the stars find their correct alignment, be softly enveloped. I must
confess, however, that I was a little lost with this ever-so-gentle mixture
of music and sound collage, unsure whether I could supply what was necessary
to make it cohere into anything more than a collection of seemingly random
parts. As I listened, I first looked at the digipak cover rendered in rich
ochres and sections of cut and pasted landscapes. The German liner notes
defeated my rusty grasp of that language so I turned to Google for further
clues. And, after skimming over a couple of fairly straightforward reviews,
I found what I was looking for on Sinebag’s own website (www.sinebag.com)
in the form of a collection of photographs. The homepage has some broken
image links and the site is frames-based, but if you look at the navigation
on the left and click ‘art?’ you’ll see a horizontal row
of small images. Select the second one which appears to be a view of an allotment
or similar. Then click the image of an apartment block at the top, the one
with the caption ‘fotos frühjahr 03’. A whole row of images
load (you should be able to go directly there with this URL: www.sinebag.com/art/ungarn%20fotos/index.php).
These photographs provide a perfect accompaniment to Près De La Lisière:
they’re blurry polaroids of summer days, a bearded man I assume to
be Sinebag himself, a woman that’s probably his girlfriend, time spent
on a balcony, cloud-scudded skies, empty country roads, views from a train
window. All of them, or at least their sum totality, are intensely evocative.
Beautiful though the digipak cover is, these images open up a personal aspect
that provides me with a connection to the music that I might not otherwise
have been able to establish. Perhaps I also appreciate the relative anonymity
of this discovery and its potential for personal association, who knows.