Music Reviews

Artist: Kuhzunft
Title: Slotmachine
Format: 10"
Label: Gruenrekorder
Thirty tracks on a 24-minute, 10” release is not a misprint- although in principle it’s 90 tracks, in a way. Thirteen different artists have collectively offered up 90 sonic ideas, all given single-word names and all but one of them between 45 and 50 seconds long, and Achim Zepezauer as Kuhzunft has grouped them together into packages of three layers that are run concurrently, each package forming one of the 30 named tracks. It’s claimed that this is completely random- hence the slot machine theme- but at times you do suspect that a bit of curation or pre-planning has taken place, on the grounds that some of the tracks work very well together.

The sonic packages include some more traditional instrumentation- piano, harp, guitar, keyboard, and so on- and some truly leftfield elements involving warped found sounds, electronics and post-processing.

Notable results include the nicely mellow and buddly “Pearleaf Ploff Colorida”, the slightly Planet Mu-ish “Loving Coffee-Chirps Invasion” and the dark prog-rock-ish “Cry Come-out Flying”. “Lucky Godly Mantra” certainly sounds like an avantgarde trio that were performing in the same room, though I can believe (just about) that it wasn’t.

Others, like “Rain Pipe Love-Story” with its harsh piano and glitch-meets-rain sounds or “Deadline Planing Port”, are more abrasive clashes of ideas where the less-than-a-minute running time is probably a form of mercy.

It’s a quirky concept that seems to put both some of the fun and some of the genuine experimenting back into experimental music, and yields an interesting and frequently but not wholly successful set of results.

The idea of mashing together three words also brings to mind the what3words navigation concept, leaving me wondering whether any of these three sets of titles might accidentally (or perhaps deliberately!) point to a specific area on the surface of our planet. Later, if I get time, I’ll check...

UPDATE: After posting this review I was contacted by the artist, who pointed out that while the 10" release is not random, there is a website where several hundred of these short sonic layers have been collected, and you get the chance to listen to genuinely random overlapping elements over there, with many thousands of possible combinations. The 10" documents the website, I'm told, and not the other way around.

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