Bernhard Günter
Monochrome Rust/Differential

LINE_009 | 2 x CD | Edition of 1000 (sold out/out of print) | April 2002

Monochrome Rust, the third piece in a triptychon, initiated with the works Monochrome White and Polychrome w/Neon Nails, (LINE_005) presents what a shiny new, digitally clean piece like Polychrome might become after fifty years of degradation and corrosion – the neon nails have have become rusted, and lost their shine. Nevertheless, this study of transience is not negative – it rather contains some of the calm of handling memories of long gone events, seen in a new perspective created by the passing of time.

Differential is, in a way, the epilogue, the final touch added to the triptychon of Monochrome White, Polychrome w/Neon Nails, and Monochrome Rust that completes this cycle based on the work In Audio by British duo, Immedia as part of their LINE release 2 | 1 (LINE_002). Differential is a very subtle, very filigree piece, maybe even more abstract, and minimalist than the three pieces it was derived from, much like a translucent version of Monochrome White.

Bernhard Günter‘s work; minimal, beautiful, quiet, slowly evolving, evocative, has been praised by both critics and listeners since his first cd, un peu de neige salie (Selection, Germany) in 1993 which was listed as one of the “Top 100 Albums that set the World on Fire” (The Wire, UK). His work has been released internationally on such labels as Digital Narcis (Japan), Metamkine (France), V2 Archief (The Netherlands) and on his own label Trente Oiseaux (Germany) which been been home to numerous influential recordings by noted electronic and electro-acoustic artists. He has performed concerts around the world and his music is regularly played (in absentia of the composer) at the Futura Festival de Musique Acousmatique (Brest, France). In 1999 he received one of twelve Honorable Mentions at the PRIX ARS ELECTRONICA (Linz, Austria).


Günter sizzles on the threshold of audibility - now what's left to say about these pieces? Bruckener's symphonic high peaks levelled and symphonic tradition emptied out? A reaction to information overload and the everyday congestion of contemporary life? Tai chi for the ear, readjusting auditory balance and clearing out the channels? a world glimpsed in a grain of sand? a test of encdurance? soundtrack to a quantum world? Pond life? A moth's hearing? A final Beckettian fizzle? Monochrome Rust evokes Rothko. Practical difficulties: where to set the volume level; whether to use headphoens; whether you have heard it if you've played it but not heard it; where to find time in a day for this set when it's difficult enough to find time for Morton Feldman's time-consuming and very beautiful music; whether to read, write, paint, move around, cook, gaze from a window while it's on. The bottom line is fascination. Gunter has made music which listeners of many persuassions have found fascinating. Rhythm as in flame flickers, dancing. Differential offers more muted sizzling on the verge of inaudibility; tiny cricket sounds, liquid drizzle, desiccated rattle. Explanations may be endlessly rehearsed but the bottom line in intractable: Günter's music has the capacity to fascinate the receptive.
(The Wire, UK)


As with many LINE releases, describing the hyperminimal microsounds of Bernhard Günter's Monochrome Rust/ Differential is difficult like telling a sketch artist about the features of a ghost's face seen from a distance - a long time ago - while you were drunk. Extremely vague yet undeniable! Two single-piece CDs are part of Günter's "triptychon", with Monochrome Rust (44:30) being the third piece (following Monochrome White and Polychrome w/Neon Nails). A digital degradation of Polychrome, the track emits a continual stream of sunlit dust motes which dance for your ears... For the most it simply rustles in randomistic patterns, sounding like two or three especially tiny insects busily chewing through cellophane... or something like that. Fizzier, busier disc #2 , Differential (44:00) spews forth currents of energy-speckles which buzz into a steadily rippling particle-drone. The track was derived through a digital-differencing procedure (comparing the uncommon frequencies between each of the forementioned pieces, then again between those "differences") so that means this is like an audio negative of a negative of a negativeá I thinká right? Regardless, crunchy microbes stir with enigmatic intentions at an intermediate intensity somewhere midway between crisp silence and sheer white noise. Monochrome Rust/ Differential is another atomized mystery. I've nothing but respect for the microvisions of Bernhard Günter (and like-minded explorers), yet am still plagued by a bit of bewilderment...
(Ambientrance, US)