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CD Feature/ Németh: "Film"

img  Tobias

Even though it is inherent for the genre to shy away from the limelight, one often wonders about the impact underground music has: Who's listening? Who's buying? All too often it seems as though it's the scene catering to the scene, while format radio and the commercial pop machinery continue to run circles around themselves in the eye of the general public. „Film“, however, is an optimistic statement.

Despite its relative shortness of a mere 34 minutes, the album shows how far experimental music has come in the 21st century and how much it has infiltrated the outer realms of what is already accepted as popular culture. Then again, we expected nothing less from Stefan Nemeth, who has infused the ghost formerly known as Post Rock with new life in various band incarnations (Radian, Lokai) springing forth from a compact nucleus of performers at the heart of the Viennese music community.

The same community has played both an immediate and indirect role in the realisation of „Film“, which is why it may outwardly represent Nemeth's first solo offering, but should probably not be seen as a cut but rather as a shift of gravity. Here, Nemeth is the director, with a well-respected colleague like Martin Brandlmayr taking the drum seat on a track like „Field“. The fact that the music spans seven years of working with different constellations and in cooperation with various video artists, adds to the impression that it works as a representative summary of a highly diversified career.

Nemeth's music is, however, is not only representative for himself as an artist, but for various movements stirring and budging heavily underneath the surface of the public radar. His soundscapes work with every tool and technique at the disposal of a composer today: Finely woven and emotionally charged drones, fragmented insinuations of Jazz and Soul, Field Recordings and various, faintly related thematic lines, whose constant convergence and dislodgement creates harmonic fields rather than clear-cut chord progressions.

The trademark of his own sound is the inclusion of meticulous percussion, both of a dynamic/live nature and a processed/electronic kind, which binds the different threads together. Often, the drums are even the main instrument, taking on the simultaneous roles of pulse and thematic propulsion – most noticeably on the dry and minimal tribalism of opening track „Via L4-Norte“ and the filigree wiper-screen finale of „Ortem Ende“, which drifts dreamily on a bed of a single, repeated bass note.

The connection to multimedia and the world of soundtracks only reemphasises its contemporary nature and the will to take a decidedly uncommercial music to the big screen without sacrificing one's soul. Despite its eclecticism, „Film“ always holds on to its groove. It is a music of great physicality with the potential to lift off and reach the stars. And it certainly doesn't take all too much phantasy to imagine quite a lot of people enjoying this.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Thrill Jockey Records

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