Exkursion CD

The Swiss sound tinkerer known as RM74 has a new album on offer. "Exkursion" takes the listener on a witty and adventurous journey through virtually all sorts of sound creation physically possible.

RM stands for Reto Maeder (not sure about the 74, could hint at his birth date), though it might as well be an abbreviation for "radical music". Apart from the odd exception, Reto is obviously not very keen on confining his recordings to rigid formal structures. Hence, the sound clusters on "Exkursion" go way beyond what is generally perceived as music. It's actually not so much music, but more of a radical artistic statement.

For most of its playing time, "Exkursion" creates a very tense atmosphere. There is scarcely a recognizable metrical structure, but lots of pretty unpleasant noise, reverse samples, banging on metal objects, hissing, low frequency hum, and all sorts of sounds ranging from squeaking doors to what seems to be a toy helicopter. The whole album invites the listener to do some mental reverse engineering and find out where the sounds could actually have come from. Most guesses will be completely wrong, though, as Reto has obviously done a lot of processing to the original recordings. He also seems to be fond of the crackling of worn-out vinyl albums, for that's a sound effect present in many a track on the album.

There's no rule without an exception, and two of the tracks on "Exkursion" beg to differ. The "Intro" for one sees Reto jam with an ancient musical automaton happily blaring away. Then there's the ingenious buffoonery titled "Pocket-Life", which goes back to a collaboration with Russian Alexej Borisov and is based on a simple three-note synthesizer sequence. The arrangement gradually builds up until the climax is reached and the song abruptly ends. Well done, and should not be missed.

(rh 08/MMV)

Label: dOc

>> dOc website

RM = Radical Music