Technological Music Vol. 1
or, Regarding the Misuse of Tools and
the Rigorous Application of Capriciously
Derived Organizational Principles
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Edition of 200 copies
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi
An oblique response to various antecedents of pulse- based electronic music without recourse to drum machines or sequencing (or — in the case of the
Four Investigations — synthesizers). Tools include oboe, English horn, analogue synthesis and malfunctioning electric organs and piano.
Gratitude to Niko Wenner and Monica Scott. Dedicated to Michael Randers-Pehrson, Jeff Bollaro, and HK Kahng — stalwart comrades in my very earliest electronic music misadventures.
[This album is Bruckmann’s] self-imposed challenge to replicate the rhythms and structures of sequenced electronic music without the aid of sequencers or drum
machines. Instead his tools are analogue synthesis, oboe and English horn, accompanied by “malfunctioning electric organs and piano”. To what extent they’re malfunctioning is difficult to tell, because everything sounds off-kilter. Dissonant, jagged tones wheel through Knobs 2
like a runaway fairground carousel, while on the four Investigations Of A Dubious Premise sun-warped organs and bleeps assemble around dry, powdery rhythms
in a manner that recalls the extreme, irradiated Techno experiments of Philadephia’s Metasplice.
Rory Gibb in The Wire
Blindfold on, gun to head, I would put Technological Music, Vol. I squarely
in the lineage of ‘live electronic music’.
It’s got the flickering, asymmetrical
pulses and the pungent, acidic timbres eating through the mix. It’s got the
feel of organically developing systems
that David Tudor explored with his
neural networks. It’s got the jerry-rigged electronics and intuitive drive of David Behrman’s compositions. It’s got noise-drenched forms of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s forays into live modular synthesis. Even the track titles give
off the metallic whiff of the experiment: Motion Study, Four Investigations of
a Dubious Premise, Pulse Matrix,
Except there’s not much ‘live’ on Technological Music and there is less ‘electronic’ than you think. Much of the record is actually sourced from Kyle Bruckmann’s oboe and french horn.
Sure, he adds in some analogue synthesis, a malfunctioning electric organ and a piano. But how he got from these ingredients to the shuddering, sludgy low end and zombie drum-machine beats of Four Investigations of a Dubious Premise II, a piece that is closer to some creeping, early-1980s industrial crawl or Wolf Eyes circa Burned Mind, is a bit of a mystery.
Especially when he doesn’t actually use
a drum machine anywhere on the record.
So if we read Technological Music as impressive mimicry or as high-level homage, either way we have to stop
and ask: What’s the point? Haven’t we already hashed out this debate? We know acoustic instruments can sound
like electronic ones and vice-versa.
We know our ear plays tricks on us and that shrewd musicians can exploit those
The irony of the title Technological Music, Vol. I suggests Bruckmann might be making some kind of a comment on
technological fetishism. On one level it might well be that, but considering that Bruckmann has deeply mined analogue
electronics on other projects, particularly in EKG, his duo with Ernst Karel, much more than simple contempt drives
this release. Contempt, as an organizing musical concept, isn’t all that interesting, anyway.
No, Bruckmann’s achievement is more than a stunt. It’s not just a love letter or
a piss-take. He’s telling us to make creative use of our resources, whatever they happen to be, encouraging us
to work against our limits. Bruckmann himself has plenty of instrumental technique and compositional chops,
so his capacity is much larger than most, but the message remains: Don’t do the
obvious. Make up down and down up. Challenge people’s perceptions. Technology is old as well as new, but it’s
never about the technology, new or old, anyway — it’s about what you do with it. That’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again.
Matthew Wuethrich at Dusted