PBK | Thinking of Eternity
Table Sports (LP/DL)
How suspect and peculiar is having a silkscreen of a cassette emblazoned upon the jacket of a limited edition vinyl release? Likely only someone like sound-bender PBK (Phillip B. Klingler) could pull such a meta move, thanks in large part to Lisbon/Brussels-based imprint Table Sports. Not only that, these four works were a nod to electronic godfathers Moebius & Roedelius, and recorded nearly twenty-one years ago! So, it’s great to see this surface, and I don’t only mean simply in terms of grooves alone.
It’s been a long while since I’ve heard anything new from Klingler, but this jumps right into the era adjacent to which I am most familiar, though even now this decades old set has a halo of futurism built-in. The squeaky-twitchy elements and low drone on Untitled #02 has a psychedelic vibration that is unified by an ill-at-ease atmosphere. Flutters begin to facilitate the gentle side of its icy, splintered melodies, abetted by frequencies not unlike those cicadas make. And as the track fluidly moves towards its end, there are sonic industrial iterations that fade in and away in stages.
If you are hankering for something that breaks far from the flock of pop you have arrived dead center. Though PBK always has something up his sleeve to both provoke and soothe, often in the same track. Untitled #04 uses repetitive drones and strumming, overlapping, never indulgent, always with an uncertainty, a sense of Moirai. The distortions and metallic over-layed effects towards mid-track are noisy yet clean and more of a double exposure than a collected chaos. There’s a lot to be said about this brand of wide-eyed electronic cacophony, its far more inspired by perhaps those in which he dedicated this to than to the core of any ism or genre, but in no way resembles Cluster (or Kluster even). His tones are bright, his lows are mysterious, and to these vintage ears, this sounds more like a wild canvas of colors than distorted frequencies for the sake of it (though he does embed some surreal experiments thickly).
Come to the unpromised land, a place non-navigable before and beyond Google maps, where Thinking of Eternity could actually be a thing, and not something “for dummies”. In saying so, this is one of those listenable experiences that washes over you like getting caught in a frenzied thunderstorm and understanding the balance of power between your body and Mother Nature. Only on the closer, Untitled #01, do I hear something “American” (if I am even allowed to say such things), in the dramatic pacing and underscore of harmonica and banjo. Likely neither are present at all, but this sort of puts you on a porch in the deep South somehow, with the wisp of a yodel flying free to the wind. I am stopped from my daily grind, left staring into the wild blue yonder, left to simply wonder, and wander. Now, that’s what great records are made of.