Strøm are Gaudenz Badrutt and Christian Müller improvising with bass clarinet, synthesizers and computer in “digital state space”, this being the couple’s first CD on Domizil. The duo works on the basis of several different influences, having lent their talents to theatre, installations and live performance and collaborated with names such as Martin Schütz, Tomas Korber and Jacques Demierre among others.
Shunt is an interesting listen, a rather well-balanced cross of reductionist EAI and radical irritation which does not reveal its depths if not after repeated tries. Agglutinates of extremely cold, harsh sounds verging on the hostile are interspersed with caustically maladjusted electroacoustic spurts and brain-rubbing frequencies whose droning character is not dominant and – in any case – repeatedly destroyed by further icy annoyances. Broken videogame-like irregularities are alternated with subsonic purrs and crunchy ambiguousness, and there’s room for some measure of evolved space ambient, too.
If you like a docile, obedient electronica, you’ve come to the wrong place: this is pure experimentation, scars and intumescences sported by Badrutt and Müller with detached superiority, not caring a iota about an even vague idea of “audience gratification”. Music that lives without nutriment in an unconscious attempt to remove any connection to humanity, at times next to unenthusiastic, often very fascinating. It takes a while to penetrate it, but there’s a measure of reward in there if you’re careful enough, and a whole lot of stimuli for ears and nerves. And recognizing the actual timbre of the instruments requires an eternity.