Abstract Index Playlist - March 25/09
Uwe Schmidt's return to abstract electronics is a mighty pendulum swing away from the mambotronica of his better known project. It may be too radical a shift for some.
Rigorously Teutonic, and utterly appropriate for the Raster Noton label, Liedgut has its ups and downs. At first, I found it hard to distinguish the music from the whirring of my CD drive's fan, but very close inspection reveals Schmidt's methods. Torturously granular vocoded recitations float on top of equally garburated synth pads. Rhythm is never far away; waltz-time flights of fancy arise from nowhere on a regular basis. At the same time, this isn't ambient music in the slightest, the obsessive attention is paid to pulse and timbre.
The album is well named, paying tribute to the German lieder tradition. This suite's sparseness upholds the form's historical 'art music' function for voice and keyboard. Described in the promo blurb as going for 'clarity and simplicity', the album absolutely succeeds on that level. Whether there's enough going on for fans who remember the drum and bass incarnation of Atom Heart some 10+ years ago is another matter.
'Funksignal' is one of the few tracks which acknowledges turn of the century (the 21st...) rhythms, albeit in a typically humourous, even parodic, way. It kicks off a segment which can almost be described as downtempo, and is certainly the most accessible part of the disc. As you can probably tell, I don't worship at the Raster Noton altar, but Liedgut is a suite that requires (and rewards) repeated listenings to fully absorb its highly focused intent. I've already received a few raves for playing this on successive shows, so it's obviously going down well with lovers of minimal electronics.
first revival - huelepega sound system (no label)
carpal tunnels - nicole lizee (cmc)
gassire's lute - wadada leo smith & gunter baby sommer (intakt)
crescent - nomo (ubiquity)
hymn - african head charge (on u sound)
tricycle - various production (various)
funksignal - atom tm (raster noton)
go bang! - dinosaur l rmx. by francois k (soul jazz)
africa - dennis brown (heartbeat)
makom shemesh - jaffa road (no label)
lost love - ammoye (no label)
don't leave me today - smoke (echo beach)
jah is my light - leroy smart/i roy (blood and fire)
rootsman dub - the red eyes (echo foxtrot)