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  Alfred 23 Harth / Hans Joachim Irmler / Günter Müller 
  Taste Tribes  
  (For4Ears) 


  
   review by Darren Bergstein
  2009-02-19
Alfred 23 Harth / Hans Joachim Irmler / Günter Müller: Taste Tribes (For4Ears)

Certainly one of the more aggressive offerings on a label more known for gilding the electroacoustic-improv lily, as it were, Taste Tribes finds three mighty purveyors of aberrant sound design mixing their moxie up in an industrial blender minus the top — with us, the audience, getting gloriously assaulted by the trio's corrosive splatter. The background of these gents is beyond reproach: Harth's coarse sax grunts and gesticulations were formerly part of the RIO-intensive free group Cassiber, as well as gracing numerous recordings by turntablist impresario Otomo Yoshihide; Irmler is best known for his work with krautrock legends Faust; and electronicist/former percussionist Müller, natch, has lent his digitized scrawl to so many important sessions at this point that he's essentially sui generis amongst the improv cognoscenti.

The first thing immediately noticeable about Taste Tribes is its uncompromising attitude; the torrents of industrial-strength noise and bluster that fulminate throughout is rarely heard across the often onkyo-burnished terrains Müller charts regularly. No doubt the influence of Harth and Irmler wax strongly over these proceedings, their contributions lending this recording not only its coruscating bottom line, but also providing Müller with foils he's seldom encountered in his ever-blossoming back catalog. The opening "Genuine Imitation" sets the template on full-blown, barely-controlled chaos, but it's to the musician's undying credit that whatever does erupt out of the attendant meleé is carved out with painstaking finesse and an enormous respect for the enveloping soundfield. Harth's clarinet squeaks and mysterious aberrations vie for attention amongst Müller's digital iPod blips and gurgles, Irmler's organ providing something of a rough and tumble bed for the sounds to nestle within as they wrestle one another. But all is not what it seems, as the tentative soundscape soon reveals its post-Faustian pact with the devil, as the trio tear through a most inimical membrane of loose, abrasive pinkish noise. "Servicing the Target" situates you in a sparse, isolationist digital environment at once restless and foreboding; as Müller teases his various electronic gremlins out into the open, Harth's combustible blowback commences, urging little alien demons on, until what is unearthed becomes a unique sonic playground where, like a Burroughsian novel exploded into pure sensation, anything and everything becomes possible, and permitted.

There's a ragged "logic" between how these three formulate their ideas around one another that reveals an amazingly telepathic camaraderie amongst them — particularly so as Harth functions in mentor-like "proprietary" mode here, actually "prepping" and shaping the pieces he recorded with Irmler as a duo, then subsequently mixing (mucking about with?) the Irmler/Müller collaborations accordingly. Yet despite all this studio alchemy all three musicians' approaches are remarkably similar, the results wondrously unexpected: "Doubletwist", with its shards of machine-made mulch and furiously smelted patterns, would seem at odds with Harth's sensibilities, but his chirruping phrases mold themselves quite synergistically around his colleague's tonal gymnastics. And, not to put too fine a point on it, you can get something of an idea where these guys' heads are at throughout the tinkling cacophony of "Eruptive Obfuscation", which partakes of sampling food from Kluster's seminal 1970s work Eruption as its base material. That's right, gang: Taste Tribes is actually a new-fangled "krautrock", rife with multi-generational energy, performed with a gleeful abandon that disregards any previous conventions thrown up before it, seasoned with contemporary spices and served appropriately broiled.



Alfred 23 Harth / Hans Joachim Irmler / Günter Müller: Taste Tribes
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