[dropcap]Jesse[/dropcap] Osborne-Lanthier and Grischa Lichtenberger have a history of releasing interesting music. Both being affiliates of the experimental label Raster-Noton, they are not unfamiliar to those enjoying electronic experimentalism. Their collaboration album Conversations Sur Lettres Mortes, out on June 9th on Cosmo Rhythmatic, is exactly what you expect—but actually, it’s not.
I did expect a hard-to-swallow monolith of an album, true, but what the two artists do is something that rejects even Industrial conventions. It’s got the appeal of an unstable and distorted radio transmission, but strangely captivating. Created from using various cathode ray television sets and VHS units operated by Osborne-Lanthier and Lichtenberger, I kind of doubt that a single piece with a piano roll has been a part of the creation of this album.
Raw, unpolished and certainly spiced up with a good dose of childlike ludic drive, it is a challenging piece to listen to. Probably being closest to Ambient and Musique Concrète, the sounds, as mechanic as they may be, narrate something I haven’t figured out yet after listening to this EP quite a few times. Rejecting conventional musical language, it’s yet to be translated into something I can understand, but probably, it’s just the journalist’s drive to make things more meaningful than they actually are.
It is probably the safest way to approach the album as a piece of gear admiration. The machines are the message, and it is interesting to see how the remixers (Low Jack, Gabor Lazar and Rabit) struggle to bring structure into the concrete-colored maelstrom of sounds.
This album is certainly not for everybody. While some people are glued to their speakers in ecstasy and confusion, others might just be wondering what the fuck is going on, probably check the wiring of their hi-fi system, and then switching to something else. If you enjoy experimental tunes, then this album is certainly one you should listen to.
A1 / 1. CRT Creeper
A2 / 2. House / Magma
A3 / 3. Comcast
A4 / 4. Good Morning America
A5 / 5. 4% (Maurice)
A6 / 6. Primetime
B1 / 7. CRT Creeper (Low Jack Remix)
B2 / 8. Good Morning America (Gabor Lazar Remix)
B3 / 9. 4% (Rabit Remix)
On June 9, the release date of the album, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier and Grischa Lichtenberger will showcase their collaborative effort in Berlin at Berghain at the 18th edition of Polymorphism, joined by Mika Vainio & Franck Vigroux, Shapednoise, sYn, Xosar, Container and Nina.