I reviewed 1000 Fuessler’s collaborative release, “Heizung Raum 318” last month, and was duly presented with a clutch of releases on 8cm CD/CDR, and the fascinating “23 Zooms” CD/DVD. Yet another small label with towering ambition and ingenuity, 1000 Fuessler are breaching multimedia territory with the “23 Zooms” DVD release.
Label boss and media artist, Gregory BÜttner presents us with a series of photographic images, chance finds, or photographs culled from flea markets, and from his impression of the images, creates abstract sound works to accompany them. From this apparently simple premise we become privy to the obscure and idiosyncratic worlds of both the artist and his subject. Each image is panned over in extreme slow motion as we are voyeuristically beckoned into the arcane world of 1940’s German housewives, the secret life of a coffee table, or a lonely bench in some alien woodland, each overlaid by BÜttner’s intense, and otherworldly soundscaping.
At first impression, this obscure juxtaposition is slightly unsettling, and reminded me of Stephen Poliakoff’s hauntingly enigmatic film, “Shooting the Past”, a modern fable decrying the fate of an ailing photo archive about to be broken down and purchased by faceless corporate Americans, and the stories and lineages lost to the overwhelming juggernaut of progress. I am also reminded of the deeply intimate, melancholic images of Christian Boltanski, or Cornelia Parker. These images speak of a lost past, woven with the obscure narrative of BÜttner’s soundscape, we can only barely imagine some of the stories and histories implied by these images. Were they once treasured family heirlooms, discarded in a time of crisis, or perhaps the stolen moments of secret lovers? This is the strength of such an apparently random collection, unlocked only by the wild and imagined fictions conjured by the audience, and the lost, anonymous personalities housed within each frame. Buttner also gratifyingly includes a separate CD of tracks and remixes for those who enjoy sounds in their entirety.
The label’s mainstay so far has been a steady stream of releases by BÜttner and a roster of sound artists ranging from the relatively obscure, to the more familiar name of Asmus Tietchens, whose “ein ganze menge” on 8cm CD investigates areas of micro-minimalism. Tietchens’s presence here could be a blessing or a burden, depending on how it is approached, as he is such a towering figure in contemporary experimental electronica. BÜttner himself appears on “every”, a finely wrought tonal masterpiece. Evapori’s 8cm CDR is granular and obtuse electronica, reminiscent of T’uum, Stephan Funck’s “Tau” ranges from near silence, that gradually swells and envelopes, with an insistent, grainy overlay. The release of Heizung Raum 318, marked a turning point for the label as its first fully formed CD release, and with classic German attention to detail and quality control, will almost certainly emerge as one of the main contenders at the forefront of minimalism in Europe. Remember where you heard it first. Investigate! BGN