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T. Raumschmiere - Random Noize Sessions Vol. I

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Artist: T. Raumschmiere

Album: Random Noize Sessions Vol. I

Label: Shitkatapult

Review date: Feb. 21, 2007

Blue, in its antiseptic, inorganic purity is the perfect color for the artwork and contents of T. Raumschmiere’s Random Noize Sessions Vol. I, a 2006 release on his own Shitkatapult label that culls previously unreleased live and studio tracks from 1999 to 2005. Regardless of the electronica sub-genre you might like to place it in, it’s a stubbornly withholding and consistent set of tracks. If nothing here really catches fire, the album convinces us, it’s because it doesn’t need to.

Despite the punk rhetoric surrounding Raumschmiere’s (given name: Marko Haas) persona and music, this album consists of some of the most embodied electronic music I’ve yet experienced. Very few of the sounds Raumschmiere employs bear any special resemblance to any particular genre, yet is built on the same basic logic that builds tracks up gradually before turning their fabric inside out. In typical cheeky fashion, Random Noize Sessions Vol. 1 opens with the album’s longest and perhaps least dynamic track, the 7-minute “Radikal Meditation,” which is best described as aggressively ambient. If the album begins on a disorienting note, though, it’s due to the sonic palette Raumschmiere uses and not audience-baiting track sequencing. The language Raumschmiere builds up on this track is a gradual accretion of looped, indistinct noises he terms “Knarz” - best described as a digital analogue to the ‘fuzz on the needle’ sound. These electronic accidentals make up the basic foundation of the album’s sound and process. Each Knarz, in isolation, sounds somewhat like listening to electricity course through an electronic circuit: a snap, a buzz, a droning hiss. Constructed in a certain manner, they can sound like anything from a miniature study of Coil’s domestic occultism (“So Leis’ Wie Noch Nie”) to an expansive, paranoiac soundtrack for an imaginary documentary on molerats (“The Actual Vermona”). The determining mode here, despite ties to house music (most songs feature a steady beat) is not just minimal, but intimist, focusing on tidal momentum and subtle perceptual shifts.

Although undoubtedly the album’s most trying track, “Radikal Meditation” is still compelling if only for the way it shows its seams around the three minute mark. It’s something like the optical illusion where - depending on what one takes to be positive space and negative space - out of the drawing will emerge either two faces or a candlestick. Our attention drifts over in a gradual but still surprising way from the random, looped events to the shimmering, vaguely menacing traces they leave behind. These sounds resonate, but not enough to conjure any kind of recognizable affective form.

The album, like much of Raumschmiere’s work, takes shape at the intersection of ambient and four-to-the-floor house while never committing to any particular era. A lot of contemporary electronic music is compelling precisely because it’s able to reinscribe familiar sounds in unfamiliar ways - Junior Boys and The Knife, for example, both lay down long-phrased pop melodies over boisterous synth spurt. At the other end of the spectrum, much avant-garde computer and electronic music manages to dig up unexpected sounds but fails to devise an equally surprising syntax - think of the greater share of Max/MSP dicking around. Random Noize Sessions, Vol. 1 never goes out of its way to impress its audience, and it’s a stronger listen for it. At the same time, however, the extent to which it goes out of its way to confound expectations—expectations that may or may not exist for Raumschmiere’s American or European audiences—can turn the strength of its minimalism into an aimless, not random, exercise.

By Brandon Bussolini

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