The Comforts of Madness


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In July 1998, the Viennese improv trio the Comforts of Madness (Helge Hinteregger on sampler and saxophones, Martin Siewert on electric guitar and electronics, Stefan Aschböck on sampler) met Japanese guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa, who worked with the now mythical bands Ground Zero and Altered States. Röhren means "to bell" or "to wail" and this record does get pretty noisy. But this is not Japanoise, far from that; Austrian improv artists know how to stop, listen, work with contrasts, play with the infinitely soft as well as the infinitely loud. This record is an encounter between dissonant, edgy, and sometimes screaming electric guitars and surprising samples ranging from crooner singing to cartoon sound effects. The music as a whole reaches the strength of Ground Zero's Revolutionary Pekinese Opera, minus the drive of the rhythm section. There is humor at play here in some samples ("Guufy") as in the guitar "twangs" at the beginning of "Dschedgar." The tracks "Tools" and "La Dud" showcase the great art of Hinteregger and Aschböck. Röhren will survive to repeated listens and bears the feel of a great record.

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