Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rolf Julius - (Halb) Schwarz (X-Tract/Edition RZ, 2001)

Sad news circulated this weekend about the passing of Rolf Julius. Julius' work was among the first to spark my interest in sound art and it continues to be a touching point when trying to make sense of the subsequent works I have encountered. After the Early Works disc, (Halb) Schwarz is probably my favorite. Like most of his other Small Music pieces, the material here carries with it the strong sense of being in suspended animation. The biggest difference is his tendency on this one to dip into those lower registers, so that the sounds aren't just twinkling over head but swarming throughout the room. I read a quote once by Julius: “For a long time I’ve been thinking about how to create spaces into which one can retreat, where one can find quiet, where one can see, hear, where one is able to concentrate, where one is isolated from the world around but still is able to participate in it…by means of art or music or both." There can be no doubt that he fulfilled that goal in these and his other works. Each piece feels like a small cove listeners can kneel down and poke their heads into, with sounds so fragile you fear one wrong move could send the entire space out of balance. In every strangely comforting piece, his presence is felt.

Links removed


  1. This Cd is still available.

  2. Thank you for pointing that out. I've removed the links.

  3. Just saw his installation at Soundfjord last week... wish I had known about his work while he was still alive....