CD Defragmentation/blue, cover photo by Yumi Kori.






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Gal Defragmentation/blue

Audio CD, Plate Lunch PL11, Germany, 2000

In Defragmentation/blue, time seems to stand still. Five bright blue lines float in the dark. Depending on the viewer’s perspective, they appear as a horizon or as a covering of the space, and they continue into the infinity of unlimited black. In actuality, the light rays are ultraviolet-reflecting ribbons. To move further into the room, one has to crawl under them, which completely changes the visual and acoustic perception of the space. The unboundedness of the architectural installation is reinforced by the static-repetitive structure of the sound installation. In the compositional design of Defragmentation/blue, Bernhard Gál incorporates psycho-acoustic phenomena like masking effects, combination tones, and the gestalt laws of psychology. In a progression of frozen time-windows, superpositions of partial tones unfold, varying with the listener’s position in the room; micro-tonal glissandos form floating sound textures that fill the whole room.

Defragmentation/blue was originally created as an audio-architectural installation in collaboration with the Japanese architect Yumi Kori
and premiered at Studio Five Beekman, New York City in September 1999.

Listen to audio excerpts (opens audio player)

































gal Defragmentation/blue

Audio CD, Plate Lunch PL11, Germany, 2000


Track List:

01        I                                  10'18
02        II                                 11'35
03        III                                11'35
04        IV                                11'35
05        V                                 11'46

Total time: 56'

Audio excerpts

excerpt 1:
x mp3.x(3.11)
excerpt 2:x mp3.x(5.09)

Listen to audio excerpts (opens audio player)

Conceptual collaboration / Cover photo: Yumi Kori

Defragmentation/blue was originally conceived as an audio-architectural installlation,
in collaboration with the Japanese architect Yumi Kori, and premiered at Studio Five Beekman,
New York City in September 1999. Further details here.

CD Defragmentation/blue, cover photo by Yumi Kori.











































gal Defragmentation/blue


Ständig neue Namen auf "Plate Lunch", dem deutschen Label aus Bad Honnef, so auch hier! Hinter GAL steckt der österreichische Komponist Bernhard Gal, der für "Defragmentation/Blue" mit der japanischen Architektin Yumo Kori zusammengearbeitet hat. Beider Ziel ist die Erforschung der Interaktionen zwischen zeitlichen und räumlichen Bedingungen und ihre Begegnung mit menschlicher Wahrnehmung und Vorstellung. Diese Arbeit wurde zuerst im September 1999 in einer New Yorker Galerie (Studio Five Beekman) präsentiert, und ist GAL's zweite CD nach "Bestimmung New York" (Durian, 1999). Wir hören hier: einnehmende, langgezogene und klare Wellen von sich über lagernden Tönen, denen man sich schwerlich entziehen kann, etwas wie Atem, Glockensounds dazwischen, seltsame Interferenzen von Frequenzen, die Zeit scheint stehen zu bleiben... hochsuggestible Musik, absolut hypnotisch und grossartig!

Stefan Knappe (Drone, Germany)

Defragmentation/blue is a collaboration between avantists Gal and the Japanese architect Yumi Kori. It's an attempt to recreate the artificial, aesthetic environment of a hospital, where organic time seems to stand still and is replaced by the eternal electronic pulsing and wheezing of life support systems. At points it sounds a bit like Current 93's "In Menstrual Night" - another attempt to sound out the nocturnal stasis of hospital wards - but it's much more clinical and minimal than that. As the cycles of dead tones slowly spin and repeat the whole thing becomes temporally and spatially disorientating, truly inhabiting and uprooting whatever space it's played in.

David Keenan (THE WIRE, UK)

Die Simulation eines institutionalisierten, fünf Wochen andauernden Sterbens in einem japanischen Krankenhaus. Natürliche biologische Rhythmen erodieren in kontinuierlich fluoreszierendem Licht, in immergleichen Servieren von Essen, in der Wiederholung von täglichen Routine-Check-Ups. Das Ticken der Uhr wird schließlich vom repetitiven Pulsieren der Beatmungsgeräte substituiert. Diese Situation stellten der Wiener Bernhard Gál und die japanische Architektin Yumi Kori in einer Installation nach. Wo das Zeitgefühl aufgehoben ist, friert Gal den Sound in einem statischen Kontinuum ein. Die immergleiche Wiederkehr derselben Sounds tönt intergalaktisch, wie ein Universum an und für sich und das bewegungs- und richtungslose Klangfeld dämmert seiner eigenen zeitlichen Defragmentation entgegen.

Alfred Pranzl (Skug, Austria)

Defragmentation/Blue" was an audio-architectural installation presented at the Beekman Studio, New York, during the summer of 1999 by Austrian sound artist "gal" (Bernhard Gal) and Japanese architect Yumi Kori. This CD follows gal's first opus, "Bestimmung New York" (1999, Durian) and consists of a very different project. Instead of the speech-based pieces of the earlier experiment, this work showcases long sustained tones. Frozen in time, bright blue lines appear in the dark without beginning or end. Immateriality is the key to this continuous hour-long piece. Five movements have been indexed, but they only reflect subtle atmospheric changes. Microtonal variations make the tones beat softly against each other. The linearity of the music is punctuated by occasional chords of chimes. In the course of the album, one wonders who is the sound artist and who is the architect -- the aesthetic plasticity of the music blurring distinctions between the two forms of expression. "Defragmentation/Blue" makes a minimalist meditative landscape. The first and fifth parts tend to associate the cold sterilized linearity of the music with hospital corridors through the use of breathing sounds and monitor blips (an impression enhanced by the cover artwork). Both beautiful and disquieting, this work manages to say a lot with very little. Recommended as one of the most significant releases on the German label "Plate Lunch".

François Couture (All-Music Guide, USA)

Defragmentation/Blue is a conceptual piece by a German sound artist who goes under the ridiculous lower-case name of 'gal'. It was originally designed to accompany a light installation by the Japanese architect Yumi Kori. In the useful sleevenotes, Kori explains how the piece evolved in response to her spending five weeks in a hospital watching a close relative dying. The modern hospital is a place of artifice and routine, where natural rhythms are substituted by new temporal experiences like the serving of meals and daily medical check-ups. Kori was severely disorientated by the experience: 'after some weeks it turned out to be impossible to tell how much time had passed and even whether time had passed at all'. The installation, together with Gal's music, was designed to replicate this phenomenon of 'defragmented time'.

The booklet has a couple of photographs of the installation, which was held in New York in 1999 - a crepuscular affair of the kind most often associated with the American artist James Turrell. I'm a big fan of Turrell's work, and this looks to have been an excellent piece in similar vein: fine shards of light faintly illuminating a carpeted chamber suffused in the deepest blue.

Although designed for the express purpose of soundtracking the installation, Gal's music nevertheless retains its impact when listened to as a piece of work in its own right. It's indexed into five tracks, but is really one continuous piece: a very long and slow unfolding of liquid frequencies and low rumbles. Soft, intermittent bleeps evoke the deathly pulse of the life support machine, while occasional intakes of breath conjure a distinctly Beckettian mood. Confronted by such a stark piece of conceptualisation, there really is nothing for the listener to do but surrender to its embrace. Listening to this music, time ceases to function as a linear sequence of events and is reconfigured as an endless, painful present, always on the brink of slipping into nothingness but never quite relinquishing its grip.

Richard Rees Jones (The Sound Projector, UK)

Austrian Bernhard Gal is a finely talented sound manipulator and I was indirectly introduced to him thanks to John Duncan. ... (Defragmentation/Blue) deals with a special relationship between time, space and the way we perceive them; it's the aural soundtrack for an installation created with Japanese architect Yumi Kori, in which light and music go together. The resulting acoustics warmingly embrace the listener: soundwaves, pulses and sighs gently lull us into an almost physical sense of void. Really good stuff indeed.

Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes, Italy)