ALEX KELLER / MERI von KLEINSMID - Searching for the inverse square


Humming. Hisses. Scratches. Radios cutting in and out. It's all part and parcel of Meri von KleinSmid's work. Some call it experimental brilliance. I'll just state for the record that it's simply stunning.

The duo of Alex Keller and Meri von KleinSmid is one that is equally quirky as it is wonderfully adventurous. 'Searching for the inverse square' is a compilation of sorts, bringing together some of the duo's most recent works.

Most of their music is made with use of simple machines ' DATs, condenser microphones, Minidisc, cassette players. The sounds on this disc are simply put eerie, and rightly so, having been recorded in basement and an old gas plant. My favourite piece is 'Focused on the conflict at hand', which turns out to be a calling card for old Atari game consoles. Both musicians use old Atari 1200 XL and 2600 systems as sources so we get a lot of blinks, oinks, pops and all around, this is just a fun piece. Another great experiment is 'The best station is no station', where two battery-operated radios are manipulated [basically, the dial is swung from right to left ' as we hear short snippets of voices along with lots of static] and a family that just happened to be at the recording location [an old unused gas plant] plays hide-and-go-seek. Voices of various family members yelling at the top of their voices as they're found are interspersed with the voices originating from the radios and at times you're guessing, which is which. 'Ex Vivo' is Meri von KleinSmid's opportunity to shine as a solo artist. Eight pieces she presents are as unique and individual as eight strands of hair still left on my head. 'Five-Word Farrago' is an experiment of word splicing. Unmodified subsets and micro-subsets of the same five words are taken and modified beyond recognition. What is truly amazing is her longer pieces ' such as 'The Rats in the Walls' and 'What Happens to the Deep-Sea Divers'. The former sounds like some sort of an echo chamber experiments, complete with spooky reverb and lots of coloring. The latter is a creepy composition that uses fragments of a malfunctioning BBC news broadcast. Once again, the piece sounds as if recorded in some massive chamber [maybe it was a cave?] and the echoes and creaks are overtly predominant. If this doesn't scare the living daylights out of you, I don't know what will? Computer manipulations rarely sound this real. For all it's worth, these two CDs expose the wonder of Meri von KleinSmid to a larger listening community.

Tom Sekowski

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>> Alex Keller / Meri von Kleinsmid - Searching for the inverse square; Meri von Kleinsmid; Ex Vivo
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