Thomas Köner – Daikan (2002)

Mille Plateaux’s recent re-release of Thomas Köner’s long-form dark ambient piece “Daikan” reminded me that I should probably add it to my personal “best of ambient” selection that I’ve been “curating” over the years. 🙂

Daikan is massive, slow, intense, with rumbling low frequencies that evoke images of bedrock being slowly carved and polished, buried in darkness under the weight of a kilometer of glacial ice*. The drone’s monotony and slowness heighten the intensity of the record’s sparsely melodic moments when they finally arrive. (if you feel like taking a shortcut, cue to the 17:00 mark of the first track and let it play for a minute.)

Unlike the original release, the new version on Bandcamp is split into three “Daikan” tracks (on Amazon, it’s still a single-track download). The cue points are probably chosen primarily to suit a vinyl release and are otherwise rather arbitrary (for example, there’s a point of silence at the 14:30 mark, which would seem like a more natural cue point to me). I would recommend to ignore the track splits, which needs a player that supports gapless playback of course, or go with the single-track download.

This new release contains a “bonus” track, the previously hard to find “Banlieue du Vide” — don’t you hate it when they do that? 😒

*) the low frequencies also test the limits of one’s stereo system and I do wonder how they work on vinyl; this is the only record I have where I need to substantially reduce the amount of sub woofer when I want to play it a bit louder.