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CD Feature/ tzesne: "huffduff"

img  Tobias

Using the radio as an instrument may not be a new idea. But it is becoming ever more effective as time passes. When Pink Floyd connected two songs of their “Wish you were here” album by mimicing someone turning the frequency dial, it was a kind of special effect. Today, it sounds like a ghost. And this ep goes back even further in time.

“huffduff” owes as much to Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” (an epic parable on decoding Axis codes) as to staying up late and watching discovery channel documentaries on World War II and would therefore make a perfect lullaby for Tzesne’s label colleague on “Drone Records”, Pawel Grabowski (who holds a similar interest in everything 39-45). In fact, the title refers to the first efforts of the allied troops to crack Nazi signals and to a device called High Frequency Direction Finder (whose abreviation HFDF the Germans malappropriated into “huffduff”) – and therefore to one of the 20th century’s most popular literary themes: communication, the lack thereof and its inherent deficiencies (The HFDF was initially only able to locate the cource of the signal, without being able to decipher it). Quite appropriately, “enviar ayuda ahora” kicks off with deep static, which is overlayered with high-frquency radio waves, switching pitch and modulation. Blurring the border between music and reality, this takes you back into a faintly lit room filled with damp, cold air and stale smoke and the silhouette of an officer bent over a black box, carefully fiddling the knobs. After the sounds have all but subsided, a few almost inaudible bass rumblings appear, only to drop back into oblivion. “la voz flamante” is more drone-related and lets two slowly vibrating plates of noise rub against each other, before an upwardly moving pull sucks the piece gently yet irresistibly into a black hole. Subtle almost to the point of being without physical substance, you'll have to dissolve and turn into a wave yourself to fully appreciate this.

But if you do, you’ll be able to see the beauty of “huffduff” and recognise that there is an infinite stream of communication flowing through everything around us: The air, the water, the noises of the big city, the ceaseless babbling of the people around us. And, of course, through the radio, that wonderfully old-fashioned and mysterious apparatus, to which this release pays a delicate hommage.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Tzesne
Homepage: Drone Records

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