Monday, December 8, 2008
Hans Grusel's Krankenkabinet - Blaue Blooded Turen (Resipiscent CD)
Resipiscent sent me a few things for review, including this crazy disc by Germany's Hans Grusel. This guy has a story that you wouldn't believe, including trying to build a fifty-foot guitar with members of Scorpions as well as escaping East Germany in a cider keg (more details here...). I don't know if the cider fermented, but Grusel comes up with some truly warped sound dilemmas on this disc with an approach that seems to mix the lo-fi basement vibes of the American scene with the more heady approach of the German electronic pioneers.
From what I gather, each of these mini suites (including "Sturm und Drang (at Sea)," "Blooded Door Part One," "Soundtrack To Dallas Bower’s 'Alice In Wonderland'" and "Blooded Door Part Two") is through composed, although with all the buzzing and bubbling running through these it must me strange notation indeed.
The disc opens with the three part "Sturm und Drang (at Sea)," whose string motions and warbbling electronics set up an uneasy mixture of grating electronic motions and atonal, Leroi Jenkins style fiddle washes. It's really a strange mix as the two methods are kept quite distinct. There seems to be little if any processing of the viola itself, opting instead for a sort of duet approach that really peters around in the ol noggin. Some head-scratching moves here that somehow leave you vegetating on the floor without ever getting too brutal.
"Blooded Door Part One" opens with some dizzying clicking that eventually grabs hold of some blippies and just keeps motoring. Using instruments listed here as the zeroscillator and, my personal favorite, the wretch machine, the first part of this spaces way out and actually doesn't sound totally unlike that Olson/Emeralds remix I reviewed a ways back, if a little less overtly spaced out. There's even a trumpet in the mix there, it's lilting little melody dizzily swaying about towards the end of the work alongside some harmonicas that manage to sound like accordions. Hell, concrete is even listed as an instrument, so who knows. Beautiful stuff though.
The "Soundtrack to Dallas Bower's 'Alice in Wonderland'" is total circus-vibe carousel weirdness that slips into some darker, rabbit hole material. Pretty industrial situation here, long hallway steps, drips, metal shards. Generally a pretty dangerous situation it seems, but again, the choice and placement of sounds keep it spooky rather than some onslaught. Serious organization going on here that manages to create a pretty spooky head space. Definitely opts for an anti-Disney, pro Queen of Hearts as post-apocalyptic ruler of the world ordeal, as evidenced most sincerely on "Who Stole the Tarts?"
The disc closes with "Blooded Door Part Two," which features more lurch and grit as oscillators swell and subside around each other, sans trumpet this time. Really together stuff with a clear aesthetic vision that is realized fully. Those Germans always manage to get the crazy in while still taking care to keep it professional, you know? Awesome disc from a label to watch.