Boomkat Product Review:
Highest grade headfloss from one of the best in his field, containing some of the very trippiest otoacoustic chicanery that we’ve ever heard - seriously, this is next level business!!!
Well known and hugely regarded by lovers of radical electronic music, Markus Schmickler has unswervingly plotted a path thru experimental, avant-garde computer music zones for the past 30 years. His albums ‘Palace Of Marvels [Queered Pitch’ (2010) and ‘Politiken Der Frequenz’ (2014) with Julian Rohrhuber rank among the most important investigations of contemporary electronic composition, and we can now include the extraordinary material of ’Sky Dice / Mapping the Studio’ in that special category. It’s the kind of ingenious and inventively playful electronic music that we crave, deploying technology at the service of creating incredibly uncanny sensations that simply aren’t found in everyday life, only in music of this rare calibre from a small handful of artists including himself, Florian Hecker, and Maryanne Amacher, among scant few others.
Hyper-focussed on perceptions of acoustic space, the album is broadly cleft between an extended study for the SWR studio in Freiburg, Germany, and a series of frighteningly strong experiments with otoacoustic emissions (sounds triggered by stimulation of the inner ears.) The former is a masterfully trippy work for ARP 2500, Publison DHM89B, Publison Infernal Machine, and computer, taking its cues from Bruce Naumann’s ‘Mapping The Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage)’ (2001) to render a dizzying disarray of pitch bent dynamics with a meticulously sober approach resulting in properly hallucinatory audio. The latter section’s ‘Fortuna Ribbon’ is where it goes beyond anything we’ve heard before, genuinely causing us to cut the sound multiple times to check that what we’re hearing isn’t some invasive background sound, but some of the very strangest sonic sensation imaginable. Seriously, we could swear there are planes droning overheard and some massive machinery whirring beautifully in the distance, but nein, it’s all in your head and quite honestly the maddest thing to experience.
It hardly needs to be stated, however this isn’t music for everyone; if you’re averse to extreme tones and the feeling of sounds being generated by your own ears, walk away now. But if you’re looking for the quintessence of experimentation that does things no other artform can do, dive in without delay.