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- Suite Nuit by Frank Bretschneider + Steve Roden
7/10 Laurie Staff review, 14 November 2014
From a duo of far-out sound manipulators we have two live recordings of new-old music originally commissioned to celebrate a church in Berlin in 2004. I’m not sure what the connection is between a melee of chopped field recordings and the cultural significance of a church, but I’m sure it must have been a nice concert. ‘Nice’ meaning interesting, because so far there have been no flowery layers whatsoever. Someone must have deemed it still relevant enough to be released today. Was someone right? AH! A MYSTERY!
The release is divided into the actual live take followed by a rehearsal, totalling a whopping 50 minutes of glorious sonic shapeshifting. It’s the kind of music that you’d want to hear in a church that had been taken apart brick by brick then reassembled into shapes akin to the ones on the sleeve. Bretschneider displays excellent use of his ‘micro’ modular synth, which has got me thinking, is it even possible to have a micro modular? Every modular seems to be a wall of knobs and wires, so I bet he’s just being modest. These guys should make an alt rock covers band called Modest Modular, Norman would definitely sell that. Roden however takes sounds from objects that he’s found in the proverbial field, with various chops from airy spaces to miniscule clinks making an appearance throughout.
It’s very hard to deconstruct this - it never sits still, all fluttering buzzes rubbing shoulders with the throb of the modular. To keep some sort of continuity amongst their craft, B & R set up little loops for a while to riff over, bringing an overarching surreal tone to the fray. Think Astral Social Club and Karen Gwyer being vivisected by Vladislav Delay on a minimal binge.
The inclusion of both the live and rehearsal versions is fairly redundant as they are just so similar. Obviously it makes sense to combine two pieces for the same installation into a single CD, but including the practice run seems nonsensical. Perhaps a 2014 interpretation would have been more rewarding for fans of either/both. I would say that someone was right in releasing this today however, because without people continually smashing apart the regular, what kind of a society do we think we are, eh?? One in which Modest Modular isn’t a thing, therefore a shit one really.
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