Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, Grischa Lichtenberger; Conversation Sur Lettres MortesCosmo Rhythmatic
COSMO 004 LP
Long Playing Record
Limited pressing, comes with a giant foldout two-sided 24" x 24" poster with additional art and liner notes. Conversation Sur Lettres Mortes is a conceptual album revolving around the relationship between Berlin's Jesse Osborne-Lanthier & Grischa Lichtenberger and the archaic apparatus of old cathode ray televisions and VHS units. It was first conceived as a live project for the Mutek/Elektra festival 2014 at the MAC in Montréal, QC Canada and now lands heavy on Cosmo Rhythmatic - the label curated by Shapednoise.
Based on a series of conversations (excerpted in the liner notes) discussing the sets' obsolete status and the schism between tradition and trade, the A-side holds six cranky, skudgy and rhythm-driven creations framed by that familiar, ghostly, whining timbre of the cathode ray tube that would persist behind anything that was playing, or which would become distorted when you had to "tune" your set using baffling arrays of fiddly knobs like some modular boffin, when all you wanted was to watch some garbage without "snow" or streaking lines across the monitor.
However, a few samples of dialogue aside, it's not a mere exercise in nostalgia; rather Osborne-Lanthier and Lichtenberger find strange, synesthetic life in these old and somewhat magical analog machines, working their spectral resonance and crankiness into creaking, contorted and deconstructed patterns that evoke a more contemporary sense of temporal dislocation. The remixers all seem to relish messing with the material, too. Low Jack offering a screen-scrambling flux of hellish sound-imagery ruffed-up with footwork rhythms and harpy and a Cronenberg-ian sort of body horror. Gabor Lázár's patented streaking filaments recall the sound of a set rapidly flicked on and off, marking one of his strongest, layered solo pieces. Rabit really pushes the envelope with a hyper, tumultuous stunner seemingly emulating an Einstürzende Neubauten live show.
Mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Edition of 500.