Concrete or wood? The sensation of where, how and on which basis we locate a sense of belonging could not be evoked with more sensuality than is the case in Désarroi. In listening, we follow narratives of sounds, tones and melodies, we traverse them and they accompany us, guiding our perception of our surroundings: into an invisible space, which begins to manifest itself in an iridescent resonance. The album incorporates the investigation of the spatial via music more than previous recordings did. One might even ask: Is there a new term for the acoustic surrealism that Heike Aumüller, Johannes Frisch and Thomas Weber are presenting? Désarroi, literally confusion or despair, is their take on it. It encompasses the familiar, the foreign, the vastness of a meadow and the oppression of a confined space. Désarroi approximates a place without a name.
We fall into this nameless place through a mêlée of metallic and wooden sounds, rattling, whistling, knocking. The way that the interior of a string bass resounds suggests we might be inside some sort of hollow chamber, albeit one filled with the echo of life. The onset of a distorted harmonium rings out like a hint, a reassuring gesture. What is artistic makes us feel alive. "Désarroi #2: grundstürzend" continues this tentative orientation in space, opening up the previously internalised vibrancy with the secret creaking of a door. Behind that lies an area, which is urban, inhabited? Or is it a portal to a landscape, free and empty land? What structures do we expect? Which ones allow us to feel like the people we have grown into? The question of what lies ahead lingers. A brief pause: Introspection, reflection, darkly distorted. The scene flimmers. The quest for direction provides no signage. Something that is spread like a net promises new directions at each intersection.
Love could be one of them. With the fourth piece, "Evol Jam (Edit)", Aumüller sings "the more you love, the more you can love" until her syntax deteriorates and language dissolves, blurring into musical passages and sounds, and finally returning to her initial structure of singing. With her words she makes a case for a love which knows no order. The more you can, you can love, the more, you can more, love: Love breaks out, when it occurs, it takes up the space that we know and can live in only without borders. With it, we feel alive. Its sole border is distance. A wind comes up. "Désarroi #3: burned" appears as an answer to it, a fictive dialogue with "Evol Jam (Edit)"; here a male voice rings out, warped, as if coming from a distant loudspeaker. His words blur with sounds, merge with noises, dissolve, disappear. The voice may enable access, but this access to the situation slips out of reach during transit. The melody meanders along, like a drive in a car on a long stretch of asphalt between lone houses and open space, until dawn devours the course of the route with its darkness. Atmospheres connect to it, and are transferred to subsequent instrumental track. Strokes on an mbira fan out like allergenic dust, wide harmonium tones trace this expansion, the electric guitar speaks of vast expanses and the horizon. The songs on the album Désarroi describe a process of merging. They melt, become a flow, a storyline. The synthesis of improvisation, psychedelia & No Wave – all of which the music of the Kollektief is related to – eludes both melody and a concrete categorisation, repeatedly and especially at the end of Désarroi. The piece "Zurück zum Beton (Version)" – back to the concrete – which refers to the eponymous song by S.Y.P.H. (1980), is an exception. It explicitly focuses on questions of positioning. On Désarroi, this song is the last subway stop and the wall at the edge of town. It poses, and then answers, the question of concrete and wood, of the foundations of our existence. Of aspects and prospects that shape our views. Of culture, through which our actions produce the feeling that the nameless place does have a name. "...da gibt es Liebe und Glück" – …there is love and joy there – Heike Aumüller sings, while I sit and write on a stone terrace on the sixth floor of a building in a city. Machines for processing concrete roar, engines whirr, materials squeak and form a layer of distorted acoustic convolution under Désarroi. The mountain range on the horizon almost disappears behind the sprawl of buildings. Concrete remains at the fore.
~ Christina Irrgang, translation by Zoe Claire Miller