A stunning work from Australian intermedia artist Joyce Hinterding, Spectral is based on celestial site recordings of magnetic fields and weather satellites made with custom-built antennae. These phenomena were recorded in the isolated wilderness of Bruny Island, Tasmania, and later appeared as the sound element in The Levitation Grounds, an audio/video installation with artist David Haines. The result is a complex universe of mysterious interference, ghostly transmissions from unfathomable places, disembodied static, and failed communication. What is manipulated sound and what is straight sound remains unknown - this is musique concrete of the spheres.
A white hot crackle of condensed energy, VLF transmissions recall the work of code-crunching glitch wranglers such as Pimmon or Fennesz. Hinterding couples these sounds with rhythmic pings of signals from passing satellites and the hushed breath of static electricity. All of these slowly ebb and flow against the warm, diffused modulation of her receiver's own electrical components.
- The Wire
The minimal gradual changes in texture and character of sound and the repetitive subtle rhythms leave the listener hypnotised and lost in a particular space and time.
- Phosphor Magazine
Satellites map, but 'map what'? Recalibrate the interface and a different set of patterns, with no recognisable shapes, emerges. The behindness of things, their hidden occult, writes an un-decipherable script in the recording medium. We're left with mystery, absence and occasional flashes of presence.
- Ann Finegan
Spectral is a drifting ever-changing field of sound; unchecked currents drone while live wires crackle and pop on the periphery, hinting at danger. There is an energy here in line with Pan Sonic's early recordings, that feeling of barely harnessing the raw power of pure electrical activity.