Thomas Lehn & Marcus Schmickler

A pair of rather diverse outings – on the same label, A-Musik – from Köln’s Lehn and Schmickler, who seem to be totally oblivious to what happens around as they start manipulating synthesizers (analogue the former, digital the latter) and, especially, make us fail to remember not only a propos of daily life’s humdrum, but also what occurred thirty seconds before. Such is the abstract disorientation generated by their teamwork that trying to get to grips with this type of aesthetic certainly doesn’t come easy, despite the predictable “what-you’re-talking-about-Willis?” facial stances by the connoisseurs.

Navigation Im Hypertext is a record that, at first, will stir up those who love to turn the knobs of every instrument in a music shop, then is probably going to terrorize them (plus close relatives) with its absolutely high degree of unfriendliness (then again, do people who listen to this kind of records have a family anyway?) Regardless of the extreme levels of aural bombardment and – although infrequent – unsolvable motionlessness, this CD reveals a thorough consideration for an acceptable consecutiveness of events and a sense of (ahem) space: not in the sci-fi acceptation of the term, but in the “sound-silence-new sound” meaning. The artists’ clairvoyance is explicated by chains of supernatural jumbles and last-ditch galactic discontinuities, without the slightest chance of memorizing even a single waveform coming by those machines. This stuff – “tranquil” parts included, and there are many – hurts our awareness viciously, sounding seriously conceived throughout. Suitable as a detached commentary on the collapse of human efforts and illusions.

If you crave real hot blood, then Kölner Kranz (a vinyl LP) is the right choice to be made if one doesn’t want the twin set. Had you managed to find rare moments of relief in the previous outing, this album is imbued of pure sonic guerrilla – a veritable mugging of the ears (let me be perfectly clear with the non-experts: careful to the volume levels when listening via headphones, in both cases. Synths emit frequencies that prick the membranes quite acutely). Incessantly violent outbursts of loud stridencies and repeated consecrations at the altar of discordant harmonics certify, once and for all, that Lehn and Schmickler are not going to accept any measure of compromise, and that those who manage to swallow these releases in succession are worthy of my utmost respect.

Two important chapters in the updated book on the art of nonfigurative noise, obvious must-haves for both artists’ supporters.

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