BAR 009 CD

‘Permafrost’ is a transitory, flowing mass of sounds, spreading light from the inside. All sounds are literally captured from the unheard and they transport these qualities into the music like a memory.

‘Permafrost’  inspired Brian Eno to set his speakers on the floor, lay flat on his back with his head between them and drift; hence his classification ‘horizontal music’.

Thomas Köner creates his music with acoustic sound sources, mainly gongs. The concentration of musical material is one of the basic means he uses to create the calm atmosphere, which his compositions evoke. With the use of contact microphones, samplers and electronic effect devices he builts his own musical world out of original material. His previous releases ‘Nunatak Gongamur’ and ‘Teimo’, both released on Barooni, received high critical acclaim. Köner has produced music for recent works of video artists Beban and Horvatic and film maker Jurgen Reble, which will be currently made available on VHS video.

I have always felt an inclination towards an attitude that would enable me to combine the phenomena of timbre and light. Thus I have often envisaged a light that can define colour, atmosphere and the presence of music, shining diffusely through the spectrum of sound. Much later I experienced a fascinating moment in the mountains while I was watching the diffusion of light, when a haze conceiled a clear view of the surroundings. A valley filled itself with a transitory mass, spreading subtle light from within. It was a continuous process of slight alterations in the light, that never revealed the concrete object, that dissolved direction and distance in favour of the ebb and flow of a shimmering light. This touched me and reminded me of my music, my preference for sound sources that can’t be localised but which are constantly shifting in focus. This multitude of sounds are all of similar beauty and importance and all occur simultaneously.

While composing and developing a piece, my passion for ‘inaudible’ sounds is a guiding principle. I choose and build my music from elements which cannot be perceived by the normal ear. Perhaps that these sounds that are so closely related to silence transport some of their origins into the music, like a memory.

Whilst ‘Nunatak Gongamur’ dealt with bizarre beauty and ‘Teimo’ explored the peacefull inner glow of deliverance, ‘Permafrost’ appears to be more like a sound from beyond. Here are facets, different perspectives representing six views of the intangible object.

Thomas Köner march ‘93



FIRN: expanse of granular snow not yet compressed into ice at the head of a glacier

SÉRAC: at the terminus of a glacier many crevasses may intersect each other, forming jagged pinnacles of ice called séracs.

PERMAFROST: subsoil remaining below freezing point throughout the year in polar regions

META INCOGNITA: often translated as the ‘unknown edge’, also a peninsuala at the southern end of Baffin Island

NIVAL: related to snow; e.g. nival belt: the landscape of the nival belts typically combine firn fields and glaciers with cliffs and talus slopes. It is characterised by a nival climate: a climate in which more solid precipitation falls than melts and evaporates.