Komet, Rausch

Michael Heumann The Library Discography Haunted Ink Haunted Ink Review Archive The Inkbottle

Released: 2000

Komet is Frank Bretschneider, the founder of Germany's Raster Music label (now called Rastern-Notion). His music helped pioneer the "microscopic" sound, though I shouldn't even mention this, as "pioneering" generally translates into creating historically interesting music that is no often listened to. That's certainly not the case with Bretschneider's music, especially Rausch, a work that fits easily into the microscopic landscape of 12k and Raster-Notion while still managing to sound and feel like a work straight out of Force Inc. In essence, Rausch is the first microscopic continuous dance album I've ever heard, and it's excellent. What makes it excellent? The sounds are, on the whole, crisp, highly digital (that is, electronic-sounding), yet also very much alive (hence the "crispness"). The title track, for instance, includes a bunch of sharp, 808-type sounds (those tiny rhythms that seem to stab you in the ears), along with some piercing digital blips and bleeps. I've heard variations of these sounds before, but here they seem fresh and alive, not stale and repetitious. Perhaps this "freshness" is a product of the structure, the ordering of these sounds. Yes, of course, there is repetition here (read: rhythm)--but it is the kind of repetition that doesn't completely repeat. Rather, the beats and blips here are subtly and continually changing shape as the track goes on. This is a very subtle transformation, so subtle that it took me several listens before I picked up on it. In fact, I believe that it is because of those subtle changes (those changes I could not consciously pick up at first) that I continued to listen to this disk, wondering why I found it so fascinating. After a number of listens, I realized exactly how these changes occur--sounds simply morph, slowly and carefully, from one one thing to another. A sound could, for instance, go from sharp and tinny to slightly rounded and more distorted, all in the space of a single track; a rhythm could, again, move from one propulsive bar to another while slowly changing speed or focus. These transformation repeats themselves over and over again on this disk; in fact, it takes dozens of listens to fully appreciate how subtle and carefully designed this disk really is.

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