CD: Archegon GON1007 [2004]

Ekstatische Gefühle durch Scharbockskraut
Die heimlichen Wonnen Zingandels und Niboshis
Aufflammen festlicher Inbrunst beim Anblick des dampfenden Mahls
Sinnlicher Aufruhr im feuchten Refugium
Raserei der Leidenschaft im Gemenge der Bellagen
Lustvolles Winden und Verknäulen der Kräuter
Waghalsiges Begehren fremder Kringel
Entrückte Phantasie der wispernden Zungen

Obviously, as an intrepid reviewer for a fearless organ like Aural Pressure, one tends to come across some pretty wacky music, as well as plenty of releases that are trying their hardest to be as strange as humanly possible, while actually coming across more like one of those irritating colleagues who would describe themselves as 'krazee' with a k and two e's without thinking twice about it. There is the occasional surprise in the line of duty that's genuinely disturbed or disturbing, much that sounds annoyingly conventional to one's jaded ears, and the odd album that would be pretentious if it wasn't so damn shoddy. But very few pieces have landed on my desk ever that are remotely as rabbitfish hatstand McStrawberry as this remarkable slice of teutonic insanity.

"Fisch zum Frühstück" ("fish for breakfast") is performed by four mental Germans with a completely straight face and a concealed sense of humour that puts most of their countryfolk to shame. Tobias Schmitt is better known as surrealistic noisemonger Suspicion Breeds Confidence. Claus van Bebber I could find nothing in English about. Günter Schroth looks like Dave Mustaine from Megadeth but makes music from product barcodes via homemade hardware contraptions and software filters. Antonia Grote-Scroth is credited with 'catering' and presumably provided the detailed recipe for Parsi-style chicken curry that is included in the CD booklet (with illustrations). Stir well, simmer over an open laptop while sprinkling on the the shredded Toop, add beef Stockhausen (from cubes if necessary), decant into Bladder Flask, improvise. Serves eight tracks; total cooking time, just under an hour.

I won't attempt to transcribe any of the track names as they're all long and complex German phrases, and it doesn't really matter because the breaks don't particularly correlate with any audible indications that one track has become the next. The ingredients run from randomised digital oscillators, clicks and flutters, to the chittering and squawking of electronic bestiaries and aviaries, from rhythmic scrapes and squeaks to leaden percussive thumps and lo-fi tape loops, all arranged sparsely yet with warmth and depth. One moment the sounds are distant and ghostly and the next you're entirely immersed. What's most striking is how refreshingly pleasant it all sounds, and not in a bad way. It's like the most obtrusive, antisocial experimental noise you can think of, only a joy to listen to. I think this one's going to become an old favourite.



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