Reviews by Massimo Ricci

The A23H chronicle


ALFRED HARTH – Brocken/Biest 01/01

In 2001, Alfred Harth was enduring a bit of physical trouble, related to the many years spent with a piece of reed around his neck. He decided at that time to give an unusual spin to his music by starting to use electronics quite frequently while diminishing the use of the heavy honker.

The first result of this switch is the live composition "Brocken/Biest 01/01", a 72-minute trip through hundreds of garbled shards mostly informed by a tendency to technological riffraff and schismatic sampladelia. The title is an evident pun on “broken beat”, but in German it translates as “lump (piece) of beast” (!), whereas 01/01 – recalling the binary code – is actually a mere reference to the recording date (January 2001). Divided in 13 segments consecutively linked (as in a perfect 12-inch mix - in fact, one of the effects used is that of the cyclical crunch of vinyl), this is an exciting aspect of Harth’s crafty engineering skills. However, it is not something to assimilate painlessly; the quantity of events utilized by the Frankfurter is huge, the brain struggling to collocate each detail in the correct place with just a transitory listen (which, incidentally, should not be done with ANY record). Suffice to say that there are traces of unimaginable obsessions everywhere, fused in an individual concoction of misshapen visions and bizarre backgrounds that sound intimidating, paradoxical, or both; the whole sustained by rhythms that can be either spastic or disco-regular. Myriads of samples are seamed in masterful fashion, their consecutiveness generating a “let’s-see-what-comes-now” kind of expectation in the listener. Incomprehensible radio snippets, the Warner Bros audio logo camouflaged in liquid equalization, surrealistically twisted power chords, voices from inconceivable places (with particular relevance to intriguing Oriental accents that, pertinently deformed by AH, give the idea of a continuous gurgle generated by someone who’s about to throw up. Difficult to explain in words, but fantastic in terms of pulse). A few tracks even show a peculiar, definitely unintentional resemblance to chosen chapters of Muslimgauze’s discography. The best method for being invaded and ultimately conquered by this great mishmash – to be especially treasured by those who appreciated the “Mother Of Pearl” series – is keeping it going ad infinitum for at least four or five hours, letting it become a part of your physicality while completely intoxicating the senses. You’ll soon realize that reality does not look the same from which things had started, and it feels damn good.