Batagur Baska


LP version. Includes download code. In the beginning there is noise. Not an encompassing and continuous noise, but something choppy and rhythmic. It sounds as if a noise-generating device is constantly being switched on and off in regular time. It's a machine-like pulse that stoically keeps its own time, even if none of the instruments, introduced one by one, follow its rhythm. Nor does the bassline, consisting of four notes played with long pauses, nor the hypnotic tom sequence on the drums. The noise has a life of its own. Its staccatos swell into metallic harmonies that wander around the room without ever deviating from their tempo. The voice of Cambodian singer Prak Chum floats over it all. Its agility and countless, minute modulations make it seem both strange and intimate; grounded and ethereal at the same time. This is "Batagur Baska," the first piece from the album of the same name by Guido Möbius. Nothing on this album actually goes together. One hears bouncy patterns played on analog synthesizers, and then a recorder. Rumbling, grinding industrial percussion develops through vocals played backward into something like acid krautrock. "Call The Police Now," with its shakers and soft vocal lines, has a bossa character that's counteracted by the overwrought voice of a woman screaming her lungs out in all fury. The ghostly "How To Never Wake Up" accompanies a mantra sung by Jana Plewa with grating squeaks that seem to comment on and object to the voice and lyrics. In any case, for Möbius, it is about the interplay between friction and harmony -- sound and noise -- and the constant balance between melodiousness and discord that keeps his music in suspense. The path he takes from a pleasant sound immersion to oppressively disturbing noises is a short one. Twisted humor and sacred seriousness are neighbors, as are autonomy, irritation, and loss of control. The Berlin-based artist creates tracks that suddenly shift from mild and friendly to darkly morbid -- or the other way around. Everything is organically interwoven, arranged in layers, or opposed. Möbius works as a PR agent and runs the music publishing house Autopilot Music Publishing. His PR clients include record companies and promoters such as Shitkatapult, Alien Transistor, Deutsche Grammophon, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and CTM Festival. As a music publisher, he handles the rights of artists such as F.S. Blumm, the Trabant Echo Orchestra, Nicholas Bussmann, and zeitkratzer.