Narrow is both the name of SteinbruhelÂ´s latest album and the aesthetic parameter within which he chose to work – a limited range of soundwaves out of which he crafts the twenty-minute, ambient title track and five, four-minute long Â´N-VariationsÂ´ which literally narrow in on specific elements of the mother track. The German-born Zurich resident is one of the most critically-celebrated sound artists of the latest leading generation and Narrow is likely his most accessible work to date.
This evocation of the deception of stasis proves just how much life and movement there is in that which seems still. The variations succeed brilliantly in isolating and magnifying the strands that make up the whole rope of the drone. Notions of liminal regions of existence – borders, boundaries, states of flux – and their transgression have come to dominate academic and artistic theory to such a degree that one sometimes wants to heave a sigh and shout “a rose is a rose is a rose”. But SteinbrÃºchelÂ´s delicate tweezing back of its petals to gaze deeply into the heart of his rose reveals patterns and intricacies that justify such delicate sonic research, providing us with a glimpse of the beautiful complexity of the seemingly straightforward.
Packaged in Room 40Â´s own new, diecut variation of what has become familiar as its signature, minimalist cover design.