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entrée #01

Sit down, grab your drink, snack, and your special headphones.  Click play on this track and imagine our setting:

Street lights, night life, night time, street life, strobe lights, spinning tires and exhaust, road noise ambience. Now here’s our play: A prostitute on her way to hustle genitalia in the grimiest of alleyways.  The meeting place divides a music shop and ethnic food restaurant; there’s no foot traffic, just a dimly lit amber street light whose occupants are moths.  Moths who are unable to bear witness to the crime about to take place as they are too occupied with their own aviation acrobatics and kamikaze exercises, crashing into the lamps protective glass casing.

Walking with sex appeal (wearing only lingerie and high heel leather boots), the working girl struts with confidence and accentuates her excessive and voluminous buttocks as she moves into the darkness of the alleyway; leaving a trail of cigarette smoke behind her as she follows the rhythmic pulse of a glowing cigarette ember from deep within the darkness, she moves into her environment like a moth to a flame.

“What can I do for you?” She says in a sultry voice.

“Everything”, he says with a low rasp, handing her a bag of powders in a gesture of barter. She opens the little plastic bag and digs a fingernail into the mound of white salts, cautious of the sides of the bag as she retrieves her payload as to not spill anything. She brings those perfect grains of chemistry up to her nose for closer inspection, and while she begins the move into a procedure of insufflation, her client starts at removing the little articles of clothing she wore. 

The white crystals sparkled blue as they danced in spirals like playful fairies of neverland being sucked into the microscopic jet stream caused by a powerful nasal inhalation. The winnings of her barter pierce her flesh like shards of razor sharp glass, coating her sinus cavities like candy, melting away into a fresh flow of blood, preparing a caramel treat for the senses.

She coughs and snorts a throat full of poisoned mucous and blood, preparing to take off.

Wide eyes, heart palpitations, can’t breathe, body warmth, body sensations, ecstasy, face turning blue, can’t move, don’t care, vision going black, images of the street light bulb exploding, moths being torn apart by fragments of glass, insect decapitations, moth limbs and body parts falling down in slow motion to the rhythm of a strobe light.  Time for sleep now.

Dear reader, what a treat I have in store for you today.

Discovered on my favorite facebook music group WMFWP (Weird Music for Weird People), Germany based band, Schallbehörde [Shall-buh-hur-duh]](Google-Translated to English spells: Sound Authority) released a new album May 23rd, 2022: Reine Formsache [Ryne-uh-form-sar-huwr] (Google-Translated to English spells: Pure Formality) is up for review.   For me, this is the first Schallbehörde album I’ve listened to front to back and actually, my first full album review.

Curiously, Reine Formsache (The album) has a collection of song titles named after shapes:

  1. Hexagon
  2. Pentagon
  3. Triangle
  4. Rhomboid
  5. Monogon
  6. Square
  7. Octagon

It goes without saying then that it’s very difficult to listen to this album without any shape bias; an important fact to point out since the free-flowing thoughts that form as a consequence of my listening are affected, ruining any chance at publishing this review to the mathematics communities. 

Anyways, let’s move along here and get to the sounds we’re greeted with.

Many of the tracks have this sparkly dusty, popping, scratching sound that plays warmly on the ears; giving a strong lo-fi analog sound kind you tend to get from a stretched and worn-out cassette tape playing adjacently to a strongly loved vinyl record. For me, these qualities give the album the characteristics of an alluring drug who has the ability to wrap you tightly in its arms, leaving you vulnerable to its potentially violent interactions with no where to go. 

The sound palette has very bleak, washed-out textures and is dominant in dark tones and pitch-bent notes. 

The atmosphere is liberally painted with depressive and bleak rhythms, and peppered with hints of optimism.  The contrast of sounds in this album to my regard of atmosphere present the listener with a masterful experience of mood and existentialism. For example, most if not all of the 7 tracks we’re given really evoke a sense of discomfort and dread.  It’s like being aware that things don’t quite sound the way you’d expect them to, there’s something slightly off about them and it lends to a feeling of uneasy.  The track that highlights this sense of unease for me is Triangle”. I’m almost certain the track sustains and persists a dying tritone, and when I say persist, I mean it becomes part of the tracks ambiance while new and psychedelic instrumentation comes overtop of it,  playing an arrangement of kaleidoscopic chimes that bend and stretch and cast visual geometries to the imagination – it feels forbidden to even have such thoughts – while the dreadful sound is consumed by the song, lost in tremendous wall of sound.

If we tried to classify this album in some kind of genre, we should take note that the songs presented to us contain elements of post-rock, electronic and triphop, at times evoking in me, natural comparisons to Radiohead (think “In Rainbows” and the B-Side “Amnesiac”), Boards of Canada, Portishead, Aphex Twin.  Though, those comparisons alone would only damage your expectations. There are some qualities about this music that I think are largely unexplored in mainstream culture.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when I think about it, I’m constantly thinking about how everything sounds analog before it sounds digital, if that makes any sense – that makes it an exciting journey for me as I picture each track like a fresh slice of 3.14. Hallucinogenic synths, Explosive percussions being cut and crunched, chopped and staggered. It’s really difficult to slap a genre label on this album. 

Each track seems to fittingly lead into the next, but each offering is unique enough that it’s never offering the same listening experience.  In my opinion, this gives the album a big replay factor, though, the album makes up a total album run-time of about 30 minutes, and it’s a very quick listen. This is not a problem until the final track, “Octagon”. At 2 minutes and 50 seconds, I found myself replaying the song over and over simply because I felt that I hadn’t gotten my fill of the intensity that climaxes a little more than half way in.  In general, though, since I’m talking about it, “Octagon” opens with a strong East-Asian bass-line and climaxing cymbal play.  It’s easy to drop out into a hypnotic state because of this, that is until the song spirals out, drums explode, fireworks go off and psychedelic arrangements make work of your concentration; I guess that’s the allure here.  Each song is just long enough to make you want to come back for a subsequent listen.

Who’s this album for?

People looking for study music, this might be a little too interesting.  People looking to work and groove, yeah, I can see this album as a nice companion for your workday – though it’ll be over quite soon, you can add it to your playlist rotation.  People looking to chill/ meditate, you can listen to this if you’re looking to chill – and I mean that with or without the accompaniment of recreational substances.  The album buzzes like a bee-hive, there’s so much depth to every track we could probably call it Johnny… Johnny Depth.

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