SUM OF R – Sum Of R


Sum Of R (the pronunciation coincides with “samovar”, don’t know how voluntarily) are Reto Mäder (aka RM 74) on bass, strings, electronics, piano and effects, Christoph Hess on manipulated turntable and Roger Ziegler on harmonium and effects. A specialized magazine would stamp their stuff with some stupid term like “doom”, probably; it’s true that the music these guys make does not exactly spell daylight. Mostly revolving around reiterative structures immersed in awfully harsh distortion, the tracks range from near-commonplace heavy riffage (“Our Karma Is Broken”) to miasmatic environments where all the sources merge in a macabre symphony for tainted cerebrums. In truth, this reviewer first tackled the work via Discman in a cold and damp morning, the Tiber river – adjacent to the train station – emitting a fetid smell of mice piss while a look at a menacingly grey sky anticipated another wretched Monday. The changeless repetition of obese overdriven chords fused with the pseudo-wailing emitted by the vinyl spinning on Hess’ record player (check “Requiem For A Liar”) contributed to elicit a cross of acoustic resistance against adversity and supplementary mental gloom on my way to the big city. Nonetheless, the CD grows with successive spins, its unambiguous character elevating it from the quagmire of deaf, dumb and usually long-bearded noodlers who couldn’t put an intelligent idea on tape if threatened at gunpoint. The final chapters, “Basics Of Sleep” (the overall best) and “Good Night Francine”, are a classic case of dulcis in fundo: still unwelcoming, but radiant of a buried heavenliness. Ending the program with these two pieces was a smart move, engraving Sum Of R a little deeper in the memory.

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