Album: NEMETH – Film (Thrill Jockey THRILL194 2008)

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Film is the work of Stefan Németh, one third of Austrian experimental electronic/rock act Radian. It’s a collection of half a dozen instrumental pieces that merrily crash through genre boundaries at will. All were composed originally to accompany short films or visual art installations. Opener “Via L4-Norte” is a fairly light and airy piece that resembles Tortoise, whereas second track, Field” is a combination of drone, sub-bass, muted percussion and field recordings.

“Transitions” is built on a metallic percussion loop that has the same kind of rhythmic feel as Pan Sonic’s “Urania”. “Luukkaankangas” is a more abstract piece, and probably the only track that feels like it needs the accompanying visuals to give it context. “Soprus” is a short piano track that uses a constant pulse of one of the high keys as both rhythm and a melodic bedrock, allowing the other notes to snake around in a succession of harmonics and counterpoints. The album ends with “Ortem Ende”, an atmospheric drone piece redolent of BJ Nilsen’s work.

The tracks were recorded for different projects over a period of four years, so there isn’t any unifying theme to the album. This, and its relatively brief running time of around 32 minutes, actually works in its favour. Each piece is self-contained and there is no sense that some of the music is there simply to provide contrast or transition. It’s an elegant and tight little set, and one that I’ve been returning to again and again over the last three or four days since I got my copy.

Tracks
1 Via L4-Norte (5:58)
2 Field (7:29)
3 Transitions (3:49)
4 Luukkaankangas (7:57)
5 Soprus (2:44)
6 Ortem Ende (6:05)

Website
www.radian.at

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