Somnambule - Writing About Music

Peter Rehberg ~ Fremdkoerper

Peter Rehberg was responsible, together with Ramon Bauer and Andreas Pieper, for the debut release on Mego, Austria’s premier glitch/noise label. Fridge Trax comprised 30 minutes of threatening ambience culled from recordings of a variety of - surprise, surprise – refrigerators. Knowledge of the sound source only deepened the humour of titles such as Deep Fridge and Funk Fridge. Since then Rehberg has worked with such avant luminaries as Christian Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke and Keith Rowe. Fremdkoerper is his second recorded accompaniment for dance.
First track Mutisil begins in crepescular mode with echoing submarinal seascapes awash with distant depth charges and sea monster gurgles. It’s a little reminiscent of Thomas Koner’s frozen wastes, but more sonically active and more creepy. Scream crashes abruptly upon the unwary listener with a tearing roar that’s cut into by the variant tones of a suspended organ note. 1407 is a drawn-out modulation whose minimalism invites an immersive contemplation before it cuts to a shortlived sine tone.

Never Worry is eery and strange and proffers more than enough to cause concern. It’s the attenuated sound of distant calls from across the ether, stretched to impossible lengths until the life of the sound becomes a haunted memory failing to echo in a vacuum. Those calls are trying to tempt you somewhere it may not be possible to return from. Skin glitters, chatters and crunches while Snow accumulates a searing grandeur, reminiscent of the intent application of an angle grinder to musical ends.
Using unreliable, secondary school German, Fremdkoerper translates as ‘strange (or foreign) bodies’. Certainly, the rhythms of the body, for dance or any other purpose, are here rendered alien, exotic and unknown. Ascetic though this music undoubtedly is, it challenges the listener to discover a rare beauty that’s steeped in the grey lands between personal uncertainty and contemporary electronic noise.
Colin Buttimer
August 2005
Published by the BBC