Das Sombreros – to rhyme with ‘hair loss’ rather than ‘pharaohs’ – is Pedro Wong and Klaus Patel. The pseudonymous duo develop ‘paranoiac collages’ that layer found and treated sounds with nonsensical, misheard phrases and fleeting moments of musicality. The results can be hallucinatory, sinister, erotic and hilarious – sometimes all at once.
Despite the ambient washes that permeate the nine tracks that constitute The Lamp, the music of Das Sombreros could never be consigned to the background. It demands to be listened to, not just heard. However, as with all the best experimental music, the work the listener is required to put in is richly rewarded. In this case, with a series of documents that seem to have been plucked fully formed from the psychologically precarious mind of a sleeping recluse.
The work of Das Sombreros bears comparison to David Shea, Nurse with Wound, Clic-era Franco Battiato and a decent whack of the Sub Rosa roster. Confessed influences include post-war art music, horror aesthetics, the European avant-garde, Simon Fisher Turner, Musica Elettronica Viva, Andrzej Zulawski, David Lynch and RD Laing.
The Lamp is available only on 180g black vinyl in a pressing of 250 copies. A digital download code allows access to the album as wav or mp3 files as well as to artwork and tracks that do not appear on the album. Unusually, although the album is almost 37 minutes in length, the record has been cut to play at 45 rpm. This is because of the unusual sounds and high frequencies that Das Sombreros employ. Cutting at 45 has prevented distortion, allowing the album to be louder and clearer.
For full appreciation of this extraordinary album headphone listening is recommended.
Donato Wharton is a composer based in London, UK. He has previously released three records for the Manchester and Berlin record label, City Centre Offices. The most recent of these was the 2006 release, ‘Body Isolations’.
‘A White Rainbow Spanning The Dark’ therefore marks his first publicly released work in five years and his first for Serein…
Distressed notes run asunder on Tetra, a vinyl-only offering from the duo, Mem1. A current, quivering along these three fine works, creates a unique yet indistinct mass that, as we follow along in its icy wake, degrades and renders the listener inert, as we wait to meet the ghosts.
Includes MP3 download code redeemable from the label: After several years focusing predominantly on film and video, Koen Holtkamp began working with sound in 1997. He co-founded the Apestaartje collective/label in 1998 while studying at The Art Institute of Chicago. The label released works by like-minded artists from Australia, Japan, Germany, Austria, France, and the US as well as several of his own works. Holtkamp has released two solo albums under the name Aero (Apestaartje) and four albums as Mountains (Apestaartje, Catsup Plate, Thrill Jockey), a duo project with Brendon Anderegg, as well as an album under his own name (Type). Gravity/Bees marks his first solo release on Thrill Jockey.