Various Artists

On/Off Intermedium

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Presented like a sampler of the Intermedium 2 festival, On/Off Intermedium culls works created for or performed during the event. But a double-CD set with three tracks over 20 minutes (one clocking in a few seconds under 40) makes a strange sampler. The fact that there are no liner notes accompanying the pieces doesn't help, especially when it comes to hörspiels in German only. Disc one is a disappointment. The collaboration between 0100101110101101.org (who is this? No details are given, not even on the label's website) and Negativland kicks things off nicely with a cheeky bouncy tune about telecommunication noises and cross-linguistic miscommunications. But Thomas Meinecke, Michaela Melián, and Move D's half-hour "Konvent" is completely lost. The idea of a hörspiel backed by a thumping beat is appalling from the start; stretching it over 30 minutes only makes things worse. Tone Avenstroup and Robert Lippok's "Marbel & Matrikel" is much more interesting, thanks to beautiful (if repetitive) soundscapes. Disc two is overall much better. Listeners deaf to the German language will lose an important dimension to Ottmar Hörl, Rainer Römer, and Dietmar Wiesner's 40-minute "Staubmarsch. Hörstück," but they can hold on to the mesmerizing sound treatments of voice, guitar, and other instruments. 91v.2.0's "A Sophisticated Soirée" (remixed by Zeitblom, or so it seems) provides the set's highlight, a gripping drone of trumpet, cello, and electronica. Kalle Laar's "Me Myself & I" begins with typing lessons on record (in French, English, and German) and develops into a strange collage of analog electronics and found sounds.

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