Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Decade in Music #5: Dominik Eulberg, Kreucht and Fleucht

"[…]I found that getting high often left me feeling apprehensive, hypercritical of myself, and prone to an unwelcome awareness of my life as nothing but a pile of botched and unfinished tasks. Over the course of these pot years I graduated from college, got a master’s degree, wrote a number of novels, paid my bills and my taxes, etc. I was never arrested, never got into any kind of trouble, never broke anything that could not be repaired. Mostly it had been fun, sometimes hugely; sometimes not at all. Marijuana could intensify the sunshine of a perfect summer day, but it could also deepen the gloom of a wintry afternoon; it had bred false camaraderies and drawn my attention to deep flaws and fault lines when what mattered—what matters so often in the course of everyday human life—were the surfaces and the joins." Michael Chabon, Manhood for Amateurs, 2009, p. 34-35

For much the same reasons as Chabon's, I gave up the smoke completely one day in 2006. We’d just returned to Sydney from a trip to California. It was a glorious sunny day and, although I felt some depression about the end of a fabulous holiday exploring Yosemite and Big Sur, everything was more or less just swell. What followed, from a cursory toke, was two or three hours of the most debilitating mental agitation; what I suppose we must call paranoia, even though the word does faint justice– it's more like being forced to look at yourself and everyone you know through a microscope fitted with distorting horror lenses. Enough was enough.

The album we were listening to that day was Dominik Eulberg’s Kreucht and Fleucht, which means, according to this Pitchfork review, something like “creeping and flying”. Before the agitation took hold, I can remember being awed by the glistening polar textures of disc one. It was a fresh reminder of just how miraculous music could strike you in, let's say, the right mood: the apparent perception of new dimensions and details, how freshly scrubbed the sound could seem; the sheer awesomeness of it all. I can dimly remember how the strange chants and mechanical clanking of tracks like “Leuchtturm (Wighnomy's Polarzipper Remix)” took on an oppressive air of creeping Lovecraftian dread: like witnessing some ancient tribe in the dead of the jungle night, in the midst of some unspeakable ritual. Yeah, it was that good.

The Flying disc, which I listened to quite a bit later, is the more trancey, with fantastic tracks like Holden & Thompson "Come To Me (Last Version)" and Chaten and Hopen's "An Area (Hrdvision remix)" building a crescendo of deeply fucked-up techno with vocal samples morphing from the sensual to the incoherent precisely evoking a night out, the streaks and smears of club lights behind the eyelids. But it’s still just possible for me to glimpse, between the seamlessly dovetailed beats and the architectural detailing, something vertiginous and cold and dark.

Buy Kreucht and Fleucht [UK]

Here are a couple of beauties from Disc Two: