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Thomas Brinkman | Raupenbahn
Editions Mego (LP/DL)
Somewhere between music ethnomusicology and sociological study are Thomas Brinkman’s field recordings of 1700’s looms. Entitled, Raupenbahn and recorded in hi definition in 2017 and 2014 (from the Central Museum of Textiles, Poland), these rhythmic noise tracks resonate profoundly in an organic ‘pre-industrial’ context. Not only in their rhetorical simplicity but also with organizational grace, the twenty one tracks (digital; eleven on vinyl) slap along like a bubbling brook. The hypnotic functionality of textile-producing mechanisms becomes decontextualized as a listener enjoys these uni-layered sound bytes.
What amazes this reviewer is the daft concept put-forth. The digital age dawned with the primary subject recorded: Jacques de Vaucanson’s automatic loom. This invention broke forth an edge which made way for the modern computing machines, ubiquitous to today’s society and psyche. How clever to return to these origins for an examination of overt patterned noise compounding in workers minds. It may be a stretch to trace a direct line from the historic setting to today’s electronic dance, pop, and soundtrack music (as the press release pontificates).
Still, it’s a phenomenal acoustic manifestation of what power-noise and techno attempt. Ranging in length from seventeen seconds to five minutes, at times, a listener may in fact become pleasantly disillusioned from over-produced industry standards when contemplating this idiosyncratic undertaking.