How The Brain Moves

Biblioteq Mdulair created an LP called Primitive Electronics Brain Dance (AUSSENRAUM AR-LP-010) – a superb title right from the start there. What’s more this clear vinyl item more than delivers on the promise of that title. Two Swiss artistes based in Geneva are behind it, Emma Souharce and Daniel Maszkowicz, and they describe their set-up as an “orchestra”, made of 15 analogue function generators (i.e. the part of a synth that creates waveforms, such as sine, square, and sawtooth). Interestingly, the equipment has been “collected from various laboratories”, which makes me think of Fritz, Dr Frankenstein’s assistant, filching brains from research labs in the Bavarian Alps (unluckily for him, he ended up getting an abnormal brain due to his clumsiness – and that’s where the trouble started).

When Biblioteq Mdulair do it live, they also use Synkie – an open source system that can process video signals. If I’m reading this right, this means a performance with lots of TV screens on the stage (something every experimental act has dreamed of doing since 1969, I’m sure) creating an exciting cross-cutting effect of one signal transforming another. The music on today’s LP might not be that exact same type of show, but it was recorded in Brussels at Cinema Nova, and it’s a single swipe of “hypnotic ambient noise” spread across two glorious sides of vinyl. What I’m digging on today’s spin is how it seems so hermetically sealed, so perfect in itself – there is nothing of the “outside world” in this totally artificial music, and it is what it is. This is somewhat in opposition to many of today’s sound-art acts, who favour mixing “external recordings” in with their electronic music to admit a certain amount of light and space. For tonight, I’ll take Biblioteq Mdulair’s closed-curtain séance any time of the week. Minimal pulsations, whirrs, drones…like tiny motors puttering away and creating trance states that aren’t far apart from isolation chamber methods.

While the overall sound is delicate, it’s also surprisingly firm and resilient; its very persistence gives it inner strength, like a close-knit chain mail vest of analogue sound. Flip to the B side and the duo start to turn up the heat a bit, upping the ante in terms of pulse rate and making the ride even more relentless. Very strong cover design too. Co-released on Copypasta Editions, this is from 12 June 2018.

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