Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 18:01
Artist: The Hafler Trio
CD Title: Normally
Label: Soleilmoon Recordings
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
On this double-disc from the Hafler Trio, experimental composer Andrew McKenzie manipulates the voice of Einstürzende Neubauten singer Blixa Bargeld, turning it into a series of drone pieces. The first disc, “Normally,” thrums with little change for half an hour, after which more layers of buzzing and humming gradually work their way in. Based on a pun in German, it’s far less immediate and visceral than earlier Hafler Trio pieces that were created around various sex noises. Frankly, I found it a bit dull, though my Egyptian dwarf gecko chirped his approval of the subsonic bass tones. The second disc is entitled “Sphotavado.” Again based on vocal recordings of Blixa Bargeld, this time the concept comes from the concept of sound vibrations in Hindu tantra. This more mystical premise – the promotional material states that these “vibratory rhythms…awaken the psychic fields” – also results in more interesting music than the first disc. Though again the music builds very slowly, the tones themselves are more interesting, like wind blowing across a desert of glass. Eventually other frequencies roll gently in and out the mix until the calm is interrupted by a sudden squeal of feedback. It’s the kind of evil sonic trick Nurse With Wound is fond of playing, and psychic fields aside, it certainly awakens SOMETHING in the listener. After this, more ambience of course, but there are other little interruptions, including an interlude where Bargeld’s voice becomes recognizable, though processed to sound as though he is coughing or maybe vomiting. It’s not what you’d expect from a Sanskrit concept piece, but it’s some nice avant-garde experimental work nonetheless. Sadly, the gecko seemed unmoved.
Send the geckos in YOUR life to www.brainwashed.com/h3o to learn more about the Hafler Trio.