Soundtrack , as you might expect, is not a collection of tunes. Its richly textured electro-acoustic improvisations are a rawer version of music you might expect to find on the Erstwhile label, home to minimalist avant-jazz including the odd collaborative album by fact-faking Viennese turntablist Dieter Kovačič, a.k.a. Dieb13, and latter-day Radian guitarist Martin Siewert, but rather too refined, perhaps, for a noise hound like Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson. Having said which, Soundtrack (Trost) ranks among the Thing and Fire! frontman’s subtler outings.
Comprising six pieces, all between six and ten minutes long and all idiosyncratically titled, Soundtrack constitutes a refinement of music on the trio’s first record, (fake) the facts (2011, Editions Mego), the title of which Gustafsson, Kovačič and Siewert evidently adopted as a group name. All three exercise self-abnegation throughout, creating music of absorbing if fleetingly, jarringly violent painterly abstraction.
On Soundtrack‘s first cut, “Socks Full of Sawdust”, Dieb13 begins by whipping snatches of sampled piano through a base-layer of small metallic scraping sounds, and his companions’ glitchy electrical dis/connections and brief saxophonic phuts. At midpoint the trio reel this microsound mesh in to a near-silence of amplifier hum, allowing plenty of space into which to discharge less tethered energies. They sally but constantly pull back, eventually playing in small snatches of raw and found sound barbed with twangs of guitar.
There’s no telling what the rapid flutter of pops that start “Polyphony of a Metropolis” is until Siewert trips a small sustain. Gustafsson adds runnels of plosives then works up a chewy line through circular breathing, and Siewert generates some electronics that fill out the backdrop. Or maybe it’s Dieb13, since the electronic shimmer sustains in an ambient, almost Fenneszian way behind more open-string touches, then deepens to an industrial hum behind Gustafsson’s simple serial sax notes.
The saxophonist grunts away on baritone as Siewert gets all lacerative at the start of “Crazy Mixed Up Pup”, and gets properly blustery before both fall back to sound-spot stippling. Dieb13 draws them both out again with subtle and unfathomable soundscaping, and both get briefly frictional, but gradually everyone settles down and for the most part this piece is about as lulled and lulling as ambient/industrial electro-acoustic noise gets, until the inevitable spike in accumulated tension at the end.
“Dance Your Cares Away” is a title to raise a wry smile, unless stridulant pointillism is your idea of good time music. And it gets less rhythmic as it goes on. Siewert plays some relatively orthodox avant-guitar, with some really lovely filigree touches, while Gustafsson huffs away and Dieb13, sonically, remains the mystery man: there’s little overt turntablism here; perhaps he’s concentrating on his klopfer, whatever that might be (these photos on Kovačič’s website seem to show it).
More literally titled than “Dance”, “The Great Fire of London” begins with Gustafsson, sounding anguished, wailing, apparently, next to a roaring afterburner, while Siewert plays abrasive licks and Dieb13 mixes in the sound of pneumatic drills. That bracing cacophony subsides within minutes, and the trio lick their wounds amid an almost torpid postlude of hazy smouldering.
“Do Electric Moths Dream of Lightbulbs”, with its Philip K. Dick-punning title, starts off as dusk-y insectoid hush, a near-silence punctuated by what might be tentative inside-piano chimes and distant, ethereal muttering which wafts faintly from a gradually accreting and coarsening patina of sound. Siewert’s de-tuning glissandos and Dieb13’s samples of tentative pianism near the conclusion give the listener some purchase, and Gustafsson, too, blows some almost-solid phrases, but the album’s last sound is a elliptical electronic tweak that whisks the listener into the void of silence. This track alone could give you the heebie-jeebies, and I ain’t talking Little Richard.
Mats Gustafsson saxophones, saxophone-generated ambient noise, shaker; Dieb13 turntables, klopfer; Martin Siewert guitar, ring stinger (“fuzz/ring modulator on steroids*”), electronics.
Buy Fake the Facts direct from Trost on Bandcamp.