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CD Feature/ "Der Michel und der DOM"

img  Tobias

Remixprojects have been around for ages and their reputation has gone from bad to worse. Initially a pure techno-related phenomenon, the idea spread to the mainstream and quickly became known as an easy way for record companies to make money. “Der Michel und der DOM”, however, is of an entirely different nature – a collection of pieces that stay true to the original material yet move in wonderfully strange ways.

A quick explanation for non-Hamburg residents for starters: The “Michel” mentioned in this album’s title refers to the St Michaelis church, the “DOM” stands for the city’s traditional fun fair, attracting millions of visitors each year. These institutions, seemingly worlds apart, find themselves at close distance, with only a few minutes of walking time seperating the two. Sound artist Costa Gröhn, one of the active members of the artist roster of the Frankfurt-based Gruenrekorder label, quickly saw the potential for an exciting cultural encounter, especially since the Dom, despite it’s character as a place of leasure and entertainment has its true roots in a clerical celebration. He therefore captured the essence of these attractions in a series of field recordings, which were in turn sent to ten different musicians from the field of eperimental music. The rules of the game were simple: Use these snippets of organ performances, bells chiming, people laughing and screaming and bumper cars bumping into something entirely new – with the only limitation being that each composition had to include at least one excerpts of either the DOM- or the Michel-files. The results are as colourful as the line-up already suggests: While Philip Samartzis’ “DISPLACEMENT” (which leaves most of the initial recordings seemingly intact) makes for a great introduction, others go for a more radical approach: The grand old father of German noise, Asmus Tietchens, presents a tenderly futuristic fantasy of mechanically resounding voices and floating beat constructs, while Suspicion breeds Confidence distort everything into a robotoid dream of quirky sounds. Other artists stress the field recording aspect more than others, but the flow of the record profits from the fact that bits of the source material appear in almost every track. Apart from that, the moods are as eclectic as could be: Martin Moritz’ “Jesusscooter” is a harsh industrial attack, Christoph Korn relies mainly on monumental reverb to emphasize the magnitude and the impossibility of fulfilling his task with a “lousy little microphone”.

“Der Michel und der Dom” therefore presents the best of both worlds – both in the sense of its original intention of featuring different views on its two protagonists as well as in offering a CD which consists of a collection of extremely varied versions of “the same song” connected by a red thread. While the decidedly uncommercial nature of the music will prevent this from reaching the mainstream, this may well save the reputation of the remix in smaller circles.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Gruenrekorder Records

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