Sozialistische Musiker Initiative: a quaint historical futuristic recording

Max E Keller, Martin Schwarzenlander, Sozialistische Musiker Initiative, Creel Pone, CDR CP059 (2006)

Attractively presented with a reproduction of what I presume is the original LP cover with the Konstruktivist-inspired image of a red fist striking down a terrified man (I’ll pretend that fellow is Rupert Murdoch – now that makes me feel better!), this blast from the past combines spoken word recordings, musique concrète methods and experimental studio-recorded music and sounds into a very intriguing and strange recording. It sounds at once futuristic, stern and scientific in an old-fashioned sort of way, and something rather quaint and twee, like an amusing antique not good for anything at all but surviving down the ages at the whim of indulgent archivists and historians. Certainly some of the found sound recordings of electronic voices and fragments of analog synthesiser tones and twiddles have something of the droll character I associate with old Thunderbirds episodes in which huge transport vehicles drill deep into the earth or space rockets shoot high into the stratosphere and beyond with all the cheerful insouciance of a society with a boundless faith in science and technology. The overall sound of the album is light and quite pleasant to hear and the ambience is positive, even beckoning.

The longest track is Keller’s “Sicher sein …” which is a meandering piece of spoken voice material and sounds and melodies loosely strung together. It all seems very mysterious as though we are eavesdropping in on an alien conversation via radio transmissions from millions of light years away. The two tracks by Schwarzenlander are different but no less strange: the earlier piece features more female voices and seems a lot bolder than the Keller piece (it could be that the sound quality is much better) with more twinkly tunes and a repeating loop of a church bell sounding off urgently. At about the ninth minute the track starts bubbling and foaming with electronic blips, blops and bubble pops which are soon replace by quieter if rather more boring drone tones. The later track has proto-noise elements (which sound more Fennesz than Merzbow actually) as well as more spoken voice recordings and found sounds and background recordings which make it a very busy piece.

Listeners might get more value out of the recording if they know some German – there may be some humour there that’s going completely over my head – but apart from that this is an amusing and quite droll recording of historical value for the music and sounds found here and what they represent.

Contact: Mimaroglu Music Sales

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