LINE_012 | CD | Edition of 500 (sold out/out of print) | January 2003

Circa is Zurich based sound/installation artist and designer Ralph Steinbrüchel‘s (b.1969) first full length CD and first US release. Based on his sound installation zeit= which was exhibited on August 9, 2001 at the Platzspitz Park in Zurich, Switzerland, all sound sources on Circa are recordings of rain. Zeit=‘s sounds formed a landscape, a soundscape in it’s original meaning. Samples and tones create an intensive atmosphere. Sixteen speakers were spread throughout the Platzspitz Park. Each releasing zeit= (translated: “at the same time”) a sound, a tone, a noise. What we usually only know as a finished product (on records or during a concert) the visitor of the installation forms during this day: moving throughout the landscape of sound, collecting tones, sounds, noises, and form unique spacial compositions and arrangements.

This recording has been generously supported by Pro Helvetia, Arts Council of Switzerland. Steinbrüchel’s painterly sonic aesthetic combines the clicky harmonic loops comparable to that of Sogar with the quiet evolving patterns of artists like Richard Chartier.

In 2002, Steinbrüchel’s minicd zwischen.raum on the Swiss label Domizil was awarded the prestigious Max Brand Prize. In Spring 2000, Steinbrüchel founded his own label Synchron. With releases on Source Research (UK) and his own label Synchron, Steinbrüchel has created a unique vision and voice in the realm of electronic music.


Ralph Steinbrüchel is someone who still moves along side line of electronic music. Hailing from Switzerland, he has been actively involved in producing experimental music since many years, mostly through obscure, self-released vinyl. Last year's mini CD Zwischen.raum (on Domizil) even won the prestigious Max Brand prize. This new CD, for the likewise prestigious Line label, is based upon a sound installation zeit=, meaning 'at the same time'. All of the sound sources are derived from rain sounds, but then heavily processed. In the installation he used sixteen speakers spread throughout a park. I am not entirely sure how these sixteen speakers translate to the twelve, six minute tracks on this CD. Things hum and crackle, like rain falling on a roof, on the windows or just on the ground. With sound processing creating smaller and thicker clouds of sounds, this work is surely one of the better inside the Line catalogue and most defintely the best work of Steinbrüchel to date. Quite synthetic, but also quite warm at the same time. Highly recommended laptop ambient.
(Vital Weekly, NL)


Soundtrack to a 2001 installation in Zurich, Circa's sounds are literally built from rain; the drops were later transformed into soft electronic materials, those very ones charging your hypnotical dimension, bringing out a sense of non-belonging for the whole disc duration. This Steinbrüchel work has a stalagmitic shape, as any event comes down from an imaginary dark blue ceiling, depositing itself on the ground to form a protruding reason for observation. His electronics are much more natural than the average; they are painstakingly planned but also bear a fabulously "unphilosophical" meaning - like if any element had a life of its own, casually yet perfectly intertwining with the other ones. Like in a giant hourglass, you can see any moment of Circa as a sand grain falling: rooted in a bigger design, this is timeless music that left out redundance and fakement to be x-rayed by listeners who prefer substance over style - and, ironically, at the end a style is what you have anyway.