The Erlöser EP is the latest release from Austria’s Flamongo, a solo project from visual artist (under the name Irrwisch) and musician Alexander Trinkl. Erlöser means “saviour” or “messiah”; in this case salvation takes the form of noisy and hypnotic electronic textures.
The EP clocks in at just 18 minutes and is available in physical format as a 12-inch vinyl record with one side containing the music and the other an individually hand-painted design. Trinkl also takes a painter’s approach to the music itself, with each of the five pieces having been constructed as a kind of soundscape as opposed to anything that could be called a “song” in the traditional sense. However, the tracks themselves are perhaps surprisingly easy to latch onto. There is terrifying distortion, dizzying atmospheric synth textures, and punishing industrial beats, but there is also an attention to form, dynamics, and sometimes even melody that lends the EP and the works within a satisfyingly structured musicality.
The music was composed using an improvisational stream-of-consciousness approach, and we follow the journey from “Einführung” (“Introduction”) to “Ausführung” (“Execution”) as Trinkl leads us through an exploration of various different feelings. There is tranquility and there is chaos; there is rhythm and there is ambience; there is electronica and there is industrial noise rock.
My only criticism would be that some of the more “natural” synthesised instruments, such as the drums in particular, could do having a little more attention paid to processing and mixing in order to sit a little more comfortably in the mix with the harsh and spacey synths. Having said that, “comfortably” is probably not how Trinkl would imagine the listener to be sitting whilst listening to this mind-bending work of experimentalism.
Unpredictability, experimentalism and cross-disciplinary approaches have always been cornerstones of genuinely exciting and intriguing art, and Flamongo’s Erlöser takes its place as a new exploration in this spirit. I for one will be waiting eagerly to see and hear what Flamongo’s next music / visual art crossover project will be and what new directions he decides to push this project in.
Erlöser is available for digital download or to pre-order on special hand-painted vinyl (to be shipped as of July 2020) from Flamongo’s Bandcamp page.