Galaverna here takes a turn to the medium of video, featuring ‘Eolo’, Andreas Bick‘s newest work. Shot on the Spanish volcanic island of La Palma, the video is a sort of study of the island’s unique cycles of wind, cloud and fog. The piece begins with stuttering fields of sound and video close to the forest floor, but quickly evolves to a sort of cantata featuring the voice of Almut Kühne accompanied by both the wind itself and variously processed versions thereof.
There is a simple narrative arc beginning with the sounds and sights available to an observer on the ground of the island, which slowly gains altitude both through the soaring vocals of Kühne and literally through an elevating perspective of the island. The jittery video effects of the first section are short-lived, and the majority of the work features simple time-shifting of shots – showing the tumultuous but ultimately rhythmic patterns of the fog and clouds in full effect. While Kühne’s vocals are quite pretty (think Akira Rabelais’s or Max Richter’s layered choral works) they are perhaps too vapourous to give the listener much to hold on to.
The work’s real strength is in the stark contrast of the footage throughout. Several shots in the middle of its four and a half minutes reveal starkly beautiful trees growing out of what seems to be little more than rock, and spaced unnaturally evenly at that – the cover art being a perfect example of this terrain. I was at first reluctant to accept that some of the scenes were not, in fact, finely constructed miniatures, such is the surrealism of the contrast of chlorophyll and basalt. While there is certainly some post-processing of the saturation and contrast involved, it is tasteful. With each tree’s needles piled immediately below, and little other foliage, the tidy and widely spaced forest is occasionally reminiscent of a cemetery – perhaps enhanced by the fugue-like overtones of the vocal track.
‘Eolo’ is at its best when the striking geography is left to more or less speak for itself, and the ascension from forest floor to suspension in the clouds ties the piece together nicely. While I am not particularly partial to the soundtrack itself, many will find it a beautiful accompaniment to this work. You can find it at Galaverna’s site.