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peterMann: "Init"

img  Tobias

The lightning-speed triumph of the Sound-guerillas is one of the most astounding feats in musical history. Today, Noise as a genre has been assimilated into mainstream-Electronica and -Rock, found unexpected worship in intellectual circles, been dissected in analytical treatise and (partially) turned into a commercially viable industry despite its inherently anti-capitalist tendencies. As more and more artists are uncovering surprising cross-links between seemingly contradictory approaches, its extremism is  increasingly considered an unpremeditated explosion bringing out fundamental properties of sound as a physiological principle. Unlike Pop, which tingles your genitals or Sound Art, which address your imagination, Noise interacts with your entire body, turning the air around you into burning aether and making you accutely aware of otherwhise invisible forces.

As larger audiences are surrendering to their spell, artists like peterMann are part of a new, counterdirectional movement. If Noise at first infiltrated other styles like an unwanted guest, it is now actively absorbing external influences into its own organism. Just like the current Merzbow-thirteen-bird-series on Important Records was inspired by Oliver Messiaen's almost pathological interest in ornithology, „Init“ re-translates external inspiration into the realms of distortion, feedback, grainy textures and dirt. Techno returns as a decapitated skeleton, limping and swaggering. Minimal makes a second coming disguised as its own caricature, clapping its hand in consciously irritating and confusingly arythmical patterns. Dub is beamed to an industrial wasteland, dancing wearily yet with robotic precision. HipHop is stripped of Funk and Soul and reborn as a child without any sense of groove and lyrical talents. Whatever the details, however, all cells have been subjected to a musical pole change: What was once exhilarating and streamlined, now feels slow and depressed. What was once part of a proud tradition now appears isolated. What once shone is caught in an irreversible cycle of decay.

The building blocks of the new generation have essentially remained the same: Chopped-up samples; raw, grainy field recordings; chunky bass drums; digital bleeps and blops and a plethora of machinal sounds. From this pool of sources, peterMann builds primitive pieces based on a single beat, a solitary idea or nothing but a textural contrast. Since there's hardly ever more than four or five tracks running at the same time, there's not much to develop here: A snare will add some percussive punctuations, a background texture will morph delicately or there will be a subtle shift in structural relations without ever radically altering the course of the music. Essentially, these are no more than basic loops and when, after three or four minutes, everything decomposes or simply fades away, every single drop of creative juice really has been squeezed out of them.

And yet, as the album continues, something strange begins to happen: A narrative is emerging, an undeniable mood is manifesting itself and each new track seems to be related to the others. „Init“ doesn't feel as dark, demure or dangerous as one might be inclined to think, but rather gradually veils the listener in a cocoon of industrial ambiance. Which is why this record actually makes for a veritable, if slightly unsettling, album-statement. The return of Noise as concept art – the wonders never stop.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Carpal Tunnel

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