It’s been a while since we’ve heard a new full-length work from Marc Behrens, so it’s great to hear him back in action. Queendom Maybe Rise is an album of two pieces, one long enough to be an album of its own (“Maybe Rise”) and a second, shorter piece whose nature is completely distinct (“Queendom”). While the two don’t relate well, having them both in one place is a bonus for Behrens fans, who might otherwise need to purchase an album and a CD3″ in order to add them both to their collections.
“Maybe Rise” is the clear entry point to the disc, a thoughtful mediation on the contrast between human and natural elements in the “coastal rainforest, table lands and outback of Tropical North Queensland, Australia”. The locational blending creates an otherworldly sheen, especially when sound samples crash. In the sixth minute, static rushes perform a soft duet with monkeys and birds, who continue their mating cries despite what seems to be a sonic indicator of impending threat. In the ninth minute, the electronic carpet is yanked from the bottom of the recording field, briefly exposing the animal cries before edging its way back to the foreground. This abruptness exposes the fact that an animal observed in the wild is not necessarily doing what it would without us; the presence of an observer changes things, even if it is only the grass, the insects and the scent. The 26th minute provides a mirror image of the ninth, as lightning strikes loudly on a seemingly clear day and eerie chords sprout from the ether. To put it another way: don’t fall asleep.
“Queendom” is a different beast, only tangentially related (“Queendom/Queensland”) in that it was recorded for a German consulate’s inauguration ceremony and is comprised of the layered tentacles of Yôko Higashi’s voice. While the vocal element provides a shock after 41 minutes of soundscape, one eventually appreciates the experimental nature of the piece. After all, Behrens is working with sound in each instance, attempting to be objective as to the sources; a good sound is a good sound, no matter where it comes from. If the first piece is preferred, it may be due more to the length and order of the pieces rather than their quality; each holds its own distinct appeal. (Richard Allen)