Showroom Dummies

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DACM is a dance company based in Grenoble (France). The production Showroom Dummies featured dancers and dummies, opposing body movement and stillness. By way of liner notes, it only offers this sentence: "Strangely, de-humanized, it [the dummy] can offer us its fallen existence with humor." Mego's Peter Rehberg (aka Pita) was commissioned to create the soundtrack, released on CD at the same time as Pita's LP Get Down. The artist cleverly toys with the ideas of movement and stillness, animate and inanimate. He alternates vacuous spaces and frenetic passages, electrical hums and misarticulated patterns. Very different from the funny extremes of his previous albums -- and light years away from the noisy Rehberg & Bauer project -- Showroom Dummies comes closer to Rehberg's work in his trio with Fennesz and Jim O'Rourke. Backward tracks, hard disc glitches, and the harrowing reverberation of an empty storage room come together to create an enrapturing work. Granted, it is not as immediately engaging as the man's other albums; it requires a few listens and really benefits from a loud playback level on speakers (after all, it was conceived for public diffusion). But once you can experience it under good conditions, it sucks you in, at least for the first 35 minutes. In the last four of the 11 untitled tracks, Rehberg seems to lose his focus (or run out of ideas). Sounds become saturated, things revert to tested recipes, and the spell is broken. That said, it remains a very good album.

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