Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren’s Long Lines begins quietly with whispering, unimposing vocals, and muted sounds. In this duo, both Gburek and Van Halteren bring vocals and field recordings to the performance, while Van Halteren also plays samples and Gburek provides electronics and a prepared guitar. Originally meeting on the Internet, Van Halteren met up with Gburek in Belgium to begin a small tour of experimental and improvisational music.
Improvisation, words as sounds, indirect noise, and understated electronics, Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren’s Long Lines fights against being pigeon-holed as one particular style. After my first listen, I struggled against making the rather too easy and too simple comparison to other musicians. For me, Long Lines was a lesson in immersion, of listening without making judgments and connections.
Van Halteren is an Ameican sound artist living in France where, among other things, she teaches at a university and hosts a podcast called That Tuesday. The podcast features a guest sound artist and then Van Halteren and her guest explore sounds and places. This performance, Long Lines, is a direct result of Van Halteren’s podcast. Gburek, another sound artist, is also an American expat living in Poland. Gburek has had several netlabel release as well as an episode of Radius, the experimental radio show.
This half-hour performance by Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren is ethereal and, at times, surprising in its choices. Long Lines could have been one thing, say poetry over music, but Gburek and Van Halteren improvise ambient drones and subtle noises to indirectly change the course of the performance and, in turn, make this piece of music enjoyable and memorable.