TO:45 – Rehberg & Bauer “passt”

CD – 13 tracks

Track list:

1. Finga (0:33)
2. Finga (2:43)
3. Finga (3:25)
4. Sunday (1:01)
5. Sunday (4:40)
6. Nixnull (3:04)
7. Revolver (4:33)
8. Revolver (1:32)
9. Revolver (3:14)
10. Revolver (2:21)
11. Revolver (3:17)
12. Revolver (2:02)
13. Revolver (0:45)


The Wire (UK):

This offering from the bosses of Vienna’s Mego label – Peter Rehberg aka Pita and General Magic’s Ramon Bauer – is the final installment in a trilogy of powerbook Improv error-electronic releases on the Touch imprint, following Fasst (1997) and Ballt (1999). With laptop glitch worshippers becoming alarmingly commonplace, this latest despatch from its pioneers is a more than welcome wake-up call to the legions of dozy copyists out there. Dividing 13 tracks across the four ‘movements’ (for want of a better word) named on the sleeve, Passt was edited in Vienna from original recordings made at three gigs in Sydney and Melbourne at the start of last year. The live factor is clear right from the start, as the disc opens with an overexcited Aussie emcee introducing the duo, wooping and shrieking away. It’s a gloriously incongruous way to begin a CD containing that trademark glitchtronic click pulse, but the joke wears thin on repeated listens. Your irritation is likely to be obliterated soon enough, however, as the minimal bleeps are overwhelmed by a blast of full-on digital scree that slowly sculpts itself into something resembling the rhythmic chug of an outboard motor or heavy rounds of artillery fire. Yet Passt isn’t just sonic apocalypse and ultradistortion; with the narrative tension never letting up, it’s like some kind of post-Techno equivalent of the DJ mix CD. Passt ebbs and flows with an unusually satisfying sense of timing. Sounds are ruthlessly controlled, taut and precise. Skittering landscapes of prickly diginoise and metallic shards of sound give way to soft pulses and aquatic clicks and pops; flickering high frequency tones weave around subtle bass throbs. The high point occurs about halfway through ‘Revolver’, when a furiously riffing Speed Metal guitar joins the fray, panning around the soundfield excitably like a caged tiger. It’s a brilliant shower of anarchic electronic energy, and a triumphant finale to this landmark trilogy. [Jerome Maunsell]

Freq Music (UK):

Opening with the intro to defeat all other laptop’n’glitch album introductions, Passt kicks off with a roared interjection from Australian oddball Eric Mitsak at the start of one show of Pita Rehberg and Ramon Bauer’s tour of his country in 2000. Naturally, since this is the world of Supercollider, fuzzy logic and fuzzier sounds, only the section “Revolver” is a straightforward live set recording. The rest of the material is made up of tampered bits from other gigs, including sections recorded at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney as part of the What Is Music? festival whose other luminous performers included Nine Inch Nails and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The mind boggles, and then recalls pleasant memories of Atari Teenage Riot messing with their and NiN fan’s heads with a slew of improvised digital noise at the Brixton Academy gig around the same time period. What a joy it must have been to be a hard-rocking Industrial Metalhead at that time, and even more to have watched their reactions to Rehberg and Bauer. Certain sections of that and the other audiences could well have asked themselves questions about the nature of music on the basis of Passt (let’s leave the assumption that they could and should have been posing the question anyway alone). No doubt many just gave up and went to the bar instead, but everyone else seems to have got a good old philosophical humdinger to ponder from Messers Rehberg und Bauer (of Vienna, Austria), and in spades. The shift from polyrhythmic excursions around the reprocessing plant machinery and its assorted patches, loops and tweaks soon transgresses repetirion and heads straight for crunchy, blistering noise. If these are glitches, then they’re very densely packed bits and bytes, squishing the distinction between digital and analogue through the quite simple expedient of making a racket and then twisting it into several new blistering shapes. There’s much more to Passt than simple purgative eviscerations of the contents of the duo’ hard discs; rapid-fire loops build dynamic structures out of the aether, heartbeat motions become shuffly patches of bass and crackle; progression rides on post-vinyl pops and static crepitations snake themselves from the depths of an eviscerated loop into the foreground of demi-semi-consciously applied sonic decay in action. In other words, it’s a multi-layered sampladelic noise feast, and one that’s not to be sneezed at (because Rehberg and Bauer will probably try to sample the sound) in a zeitgeit awash with the sound of laptops uncoiling themselves with all the glee of an emetic fetishist on a binge and purge mission the hard way. Snap, crackle and squelch have become the new Rock’n’Roll for some, somehow; and more simply the best way to get sine-tinglingly lost, deleriously at that, in the inner malfunctions of sound for others. [Linus Tossio]

VITAL (Netherlands):

I once saw one (or was it both) of the Twins of Digihurt perform in Holland (The Hague, maybe?), and after the concert, the entity in question insisted on playing the Teletubbies(a phenomena I had thus far, mercifully, been ignorant of) theme over and over again, flapping his thermoinsulated arms up-and-down, penguin-style (for it was cold as the small droplets of frost in Bjork’s knickers). Since then I have had the distinct and hopefully forgettable experience of finding out who the Teletubbies are, as well as realising (again) that human memory retains all, even (disturbingly) the image of thermally-distressed composers impersonating fat, furry (and yes, simple) television personalities. Where’s the relevance, you may shriek^. Well, this anecdote is included here because it was (and is, unfortunately, each time I hear it) the flash I suffer when hearing the beginning of this new CD by Messrs. Rehberg and Bauer: A brief (dare I stretch the definition of ‘humourous’) introduction that is only really irritating from the second hearing onwards (the point, perhaps?). And of course, there’s all the over-tightened sounds we have come to know and expect (love and could eventually not-love?) from them, and maybe that’s where my problem lies. Always on the search for new sounds (both in my own explorations and in the results discovered by others), I find little on this assemblage of ditties that gets my rooster crowing, even though at times it’s almost like the Twins are on the verge of truly deep electroacousticity (good name for a record?)(tell me it’s been done) a la those stabled with peerless Canadian label, empreintes digitalis. Mostly, it’s pulse, glitch, thud. Repeat as long as you like and then reverse the ordure for the chorus before nuking it. Comes a remote second to their 1999 release ‘ballt.’, on the same label (get this instead!). Time to ditch LISA? [MP]

incursion (USA):

The tracks on Passt were recorded live at three venues in Sydney and Melbourne throughout last year. The disc begins with a confounding intro (you’d have to hear this announcement yourself to figure it out), but then Rehberg and Bauer quickly get underway with a barrage of electronic sounds and sharp cutups. Full of effects, glitches, pulses and interruptions, this music puts you in surprising places as it constantly shifts its gears. By no means chillout music, I think these tracks might be meant rather to give you an unsettling jolt, to knock you out of complacency. Rehberg and Bauer subject their sounds to all manner of effects and run them through the cogs on their laptops (or so I imagine), which slice and dice them into multitudes of abstract and often harsh electronic elements. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really been able to get into this music since it arrived in my mailbox. What unsettles me is that I’m not sure I can see where this music is going; to what end all of this harsh kaleidoscopic collage work is heading. My impression is that it seems too transient to have some kind of clear vision or direction. It’s certainly one of the more difficult and inaccessible releases on Touch released this year, and if there is an underlying principle or theme in these recordings I seem to have missed it. [Richard di Santo] (USA):

Peter Rehberg (aka Pita) and Ramon Bauer completed their trilogy for the label Touch with the 2001 CD Passt. This album, short at 33 minutes, maintains an uncomfortable relationship with glitch electronica. Rehberg & Bauer’s first CDs pioneered the genre, which quickly went through an ossification process. Closing their series, the artists try to distance themselves from the glitch culture, bring a humorous and critical touch to the music. But meta-music this is not: we remain in glitch territory, even though unexpected twists and turns abound. This album originated from three live dates recorded in Australia, early 2000. The discbegins with an hyper-ventilating Aussie presenting the duo as if they were the biggest funk sensation. The oddity of his comments reminds us of the oddity of the music itself — an attempt to restate the fact that laptop music was not intended as a trend but as a drastic avant-gardist move. Noise abound throughout and the esthetics of “only digital mistakes recycled” stamped on earlier efforts has been left out in favor of something more substantial. The first three movements (scattered between tracks 1 through 6) offer an assortment of nice textures, but the pice de rŽsistance is found in “Revolver”, which begins like an innocent live glitch>improvisation and climbs the noise ladder up to a brutal assault. This is not comfortable music, neither is it the duo’s best proposition (together or in other projects), but it brings up important questions on what happened to glitch, although it leaves many unanswered.