Following some innovative work in the areas of minimalism, ambiance and techno such as 'Klick', 'Variations' and last years duo with Oren Ambarchi 'The Mortimer Trap', 'What You Hear (Is What You Hear)' sees Brinkmann attempt to further separate the notions of auteurism from the act of creativity by removing intent from the process as much as possible. The tracks are a series of rhythmically self perpetuating structures for the listener to build their own associations and emotional content upon.
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- What You Hear (Is What You Hear) by Thomas Brinkmann
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Just a couple of weeks ago I was waxing lyrical about a collaborative release by Mark Fell and Gábor Lázár; praising them for liberating their mercurial rhythms from the gridlocked template that has driven so much minimal techno into the mire. Well, this latest release by Thomas Brinkman is just as mind blowing as that record, but he does precisely the opposite: mining the sheer locked-in repetition of looped sound in the most bloody-minded way possible, and somehow generating the stunning series of vibrant soundscapes that grace this album in the process.
This album sounds like an extension of the techniques Brinkmann honed for his celebrated ‘Klick’ LP from 2000, in which he apparently used a custom built turntable with two separate tone arms for the left and right stereo output to loop sections of vinyl, layering the shifting sections of beats and texture patterns to create a hypnotic aural moiré effect. On this record the layering of looped sounds seems to have been multiplied exponentially to such an extent that each track emerges like a distinct planetary system, pulsating with its own peculiar resonances as all the labyrinthine intricacies of the internal looping structures subtly (or brutally) interact.
While this music is clearly rooted in the minimal techno that proliferated in the 90s, Brinkmann seems to have immersed himself so deeply in his production process that these tracks sound almost completely non-referential; something Brinkmann seems to allude to himself when expressing his conceptual aim of removing any notion of authorship from the act of creation –so that the music becomes a kind of self-perpetuating sound structure. And they are deeply fascinating sound structures, juddering with an earthy physicality, rattling monstrously or swirling with strange phase cancellation effects.
Take for example the dizzying, modulating dissonances of ‘Purpurrot’, listening to which feels like been sucked into a Bridget Riley-esque vortex; the sheer psychedelic quality of the sound having a physically disorienting effect that makes bands like Spacemen 3 sound like George Formby in comparison. Superb.
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