FM EINHEIT IRMLER – Bestandteil
No beauty without danger? A standing organ sound.
An amplified, distorted bass-spring. Inverted percussion.
A mesmerizing triangle pattern. Repetitions on the xylophone. Snatches of conversation in sub-bass. Jazz grooves painted with brushes. Concrete sounds, taken out of context. A reverberant, prepared piano. Hints of a hip-hop beat. Various registers are played on the organ. A woman sings an aria, as
if she has escaped from an Ennio Morricone record. A string quartet adds elegiac enchantments. Cut. An unannounced storm of brass from the orchestra pit. Another cut. Hard cuts. Very hard cuts.
Easy to assemble, hard to take apart. Layer upon layer, this most recent collaboration between the two legendary German musicians FM Einheit and Hans-Joachim Irmler feels like a bricolage that has been assembled by a skeletal hand. Despite its highly abstract components, the result is a surprisingly cohesive work with a dense sonic character. Above all, this album grooves, built around the two swinging pillars of "Brooks 1" and "Brooks 2", which open and close the album with their finger-snapping stride. At the central position is "The Taking", a collage of sound snippets – leftovers from orchestral recordings that FM Einheit made for various theater music productions – over which Jochen Irmler plays a distorted organ that suggests a guitar has been set on fire.
Over the course of three years, between 2012 to 2015, Einheit and Irmler met at the Faust studio for a total of eight jams, each of which lasted for at least two days. In this intuitive manner, they assembled a mass of material, the sheer volume of which seems monstrous. Compared to their first collaboration from 2009, "No Apologies", which had a sketchy, prescient character, the ten tracks on "Bestandteil" are wide-ranging, virtuosically woven meditations on the possibilities of a relationship – namely that between the organ and the bass-spring. Yet here the bass-spring – that mighty instrument invented by FM Einheit in conjunction with Einstürzende Neubauten – must be considered as percussion rather than bass: It's role is undeniably rhythmic.
Which brings us to the theme of the series: "Bestandteil" is a further release in Irmler's loose succession of studies on the internal relationship between organ and percussion. On previous episodes, Irmler has collaborated with Gudrun Gut, Jaki Liebezeit, Christian Wolfarth and, as mentioned, FM Einheit. Of course, the beauty of the series also shines through in this edition. But above all, "Bestandteil" is beautiful because it is simultaneously both constructive and destructive. The tension of this music lies in the dynamic relationship between action and reaction. Thesis and antithesis come together as synthesis. No danger without beauty.
Altheim an der Donau, May 2015
Format: CD, LP, Download