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CD Feature/ Aufgehoben: "Messidor"

img  Tobias

Imagine you have a rock band. Then take away the singer. After that, delete the need to write anything like a song and while you’re at it, do away with the notion of melodies and harmonic development.Subsequently, attach one of the drum sets to a distortion pedal, so that even the faintest brush of a cymbal causes an ear-deafening aural inferno of white noise and scrambled frequencies. And then put the result of this deduction process into a huge hole of hollow blackness and ask the group to keep playing their guts out for three quarters of an hour. Finally, try to come to terms with the thought that this can only be a weak representation of what aufgehoben really sound like on “Messidor”.

In the harsh parts, when everything gets lost in a maelstrom of huricanic violence and mutilated frequencies, it feels as though the instruments were playing themselves, led by bodyless pupeteers. It is in fact hard to believe that there are actually people behind this at all, that human beings could come up with a music so alien to any conventions or even the physics of hearing. And yet we know that this is true, as at least one of the band members in fact runs his own record label (appropriately titled “difficult fun”), which is possibly just as impenetrable for the majority of listeners and yet looks like a cute kitten against the dark moloch of this album. We also know this from the shorter pieces, when there is a sudden sense of rhythm, of recognisable elements, such as with the backwards-loops, gargantous stabs and overtones of “Rückfragen” or in the scraping metal-groove of “Norganon”. But for the largest part, “Messidor” is an aggressive beast trying to scratch out the audience’s ears and eyes. Now trying to be radical or extreme for its own sake is not necessarily the most exciting thing in the world, but no matter how frenzied the racket gets and no matter how scrambled the messages may be, aufgehoben are not turning their backs on the crowd, refusing to communicate. Of course, your entire body will at first resist these sounds, which hide behind thick clouds of madness, torn and twisted guitar strings and effect-manipulated drums. Opening up to it means allowing yourself to be vulnerable, but surprisingly leads to the insight that this music, too, is not just a messy mash of noise, but has a heart, regardless of how deep it may be burried in the mud.

Admittedly, many will not agree with that last statement. But what one can hardly argue about is that the album has a mysterious pull, a somehow sanctified ambiance, which cuts through your senrsory system like a samurai sword through moon-lit nights made of sushi. We take our initial mindgame back – don’t try imagining there is a band behind this, the term means nothing in the face of this thickly flowing lava stream. For the 45 minutes of “Messidor”, rock really is dead.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Aufgehoben
Homepage: Holy Mountain Records

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