Somnambule - Writing About Music

Sinebag ~ Près De La Lisière

‘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 ( 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: 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.
Colin Buttimer
February 2006
Published by Milkfactory