Ruben Kotkamp is a Dutch multidisciplinary artist and composer whose installation works focus on the physicality of sound and the experiential qualities of music. Earlier this year, he released fall/winter 19’20, a collection of ambient works interspersed with multilingual poetic readings of narrators Hedvig Holgersson, Line Branchereau, and Sara Abraham. Today, we premiere the video for “untitled in chrome 1,” an evocative track that is an extended version of fall/winter’s opening track “untitled in chrome 2.” The video acts as an addendum to the album’s palpable narrative, reinforcing the sonic lore contained within.
Kotkamp notes that he was thinking about Abstract Expressionism, particularly Pollock’s work, when creating the video. The visuals, a thin metallic film floating on the surface of a gently sifted body of water, are a quasi-monochrome representation of that idea. Based on haptic video art, “untitled in chrome 1’s” focus is purely textural, working in tandem with an audio pairing of equal focus. Indeed, the sounds offered by the musician on this AV piece are gritty, dirty, organic and elegant. If the visual aspect of the piece embodies a finished expressionist painting, the spontaneous movements given to the sounds are, on the other hand, reminiscent of abstract expressionism’s action painting in their dynamism.
Dispersed throughout the work, we can hear the different elements that later became fall/winter 19’20: a voice-over (only this time in English, as opposed to Swedish and French), playful white noise gestures that explore the stereo field as in “like a virgin,” and muffled instrumentations morphing in the background like in “untitled in ultraviolence.”
Originally premiered during SWITCH, IFFR 2020, “untitled in chrome 1” is the harmonious sum of jerky electroacoustic interventions, frozen trills and pads, abstract vocal splicings, and spatial treatment that shows the maturity of Ruben Kotkamp’s sound practice.
by Hakeem Lapointe.
fall/winter 19’20 is out now. Stream/download here.