KUNSU SHIM’s LOVE performed by NICK HENNIES, GREG STUART
Review by Patrick Farmer
Recently I’ve been writing a little about the essence of friendship saturating the running board of Wittgenstein’s Nephew, a part-memoir-part-fiction by the late author, Thomas Bernhard. As I looked at the words, through which I was hoping to retrace, though so often the twine is too short, back and around to the constant manifestations of love in my own work when writing about the ear, I realised that I can do the same with LOVE, a piece by Kunsu Shim, here performed by two of the most original percussionists working today, Nick Hennies and Greg Stuart. So. Just as there is something beyond what I am always trying to say about listening, that whatever I say about listening as language ceases to exist because it has already happened, I appear to feel the same way about my experience of listening to LOVE.
Every time I listen to this recording, the vignettes (consisting of various pulses, notes, and durations performed on various percussions) manifest as exhalations. Each breath melding into the last in memory, if not reality, each saying something that the previous could not, but at the same time entirely dependent on that which has come before it. The love, of the parts, depletes any memory of the parts.
This is a transformation of ground, where hand and knowledge are separated by the plurivalence of love, and thus related. The recording is the collection of a calm dispersal, a throwing of the dice, each passage denoting a side. It would appear that the dispersal has taken place, but we did not see, or hear it, so how are we to know? It is almost as if this is a work of erasure, all of the components are already scattered, this is how we suppose we know, about the ground, and it is the job of the performers to retrace, to collect that which they have let fall, and so it is that throughout this recording, as soon as every thing happens it is erased by another thing. As if you’ve not heard it before, but you have heard it before.
Each segment appears to have been made in an unknown place, resulting in an irregular consistency between signal and noise, which is a wonderful occurrence, and took me quite by surprise, at least on headphones. As striking as the rhythmic patterns may be, that which goes on, behind, is as important in the experience of, taking this in, as remembering to inhale when Hennies and Stuart exhale. I’m sure I’d feel the same if the percussion existed in the background, if the artists involved were to breathe in as environment breathed out. Cutting up the world into little fragments, Hennies and Stuart lower their toes to the floor.