Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Title: Aufrecht Im Truben Schlamm Der Zeit (Literally: Upright In The Muddy Slime of Time)
Format: Split CDr release with N.Strahl. N coming in a mini-DVD style case on the Tosom Label (Germany) from 2008, catalogue reference TOSOM37. Comes with three inlay cards (one for each band, one with edition number). Total running time 54 minutes.
Edition: Limited and numbered to 150 copies only

Track Listing:

01. N.STRAHL.N * Im TrĂ¼ben fischen
02. N.STRAHL.N * Bergen und Brechen
03. N.STRAHL.N * Halten und Walten
04. B-MACHINA * Zeitgeist

An intriguing release from these two bands, on the German Tosom ( which are a new label to me but who package their products very nicely and who have a very readable webpage to boot.

Indeed, their own description of this release is a useful starting point to forming an impression of it:

"This is the fourth TOSOM release with the name of N.STRAHL.N on it. And I hope this will be not the last one. This time with a split release with B-MACHINA from Austria, which is the new name for the Industrial act BONEMACHINE. Both are very busy projects with many releases and both have in the past created fantastic sounds and music that I don't want to miss. 3 tracks by N.STRAHL.N, with a total time of 29 minutes, using field recordings to created again his own music world. B-MACHINA with a 25 minute Ambient Industrial track."

And "ambient industrial" has to be about the only description that this B-Machina track could fall under. Not in any way harsh nor discordant, it lulls the listener along with some fairly gentle industrial touches and a murky, slightly underwater feel for the ambient part. Indeed, some of the early part of the 'Zeitgeist' track put me in mind of playing the original Pac-Man arcade game whilst submerged in a builders skip brimming with water!

Rather helpfully Tosom also put some internet reviews of their releases on their web-pages, which has saved Nazgul a little legwork to bring you some other views of this release. Most are in German, however, which is to be expected but sadly my translation abilities can go somewhat awol on these occasions. Here, therefore, is the sole English commentary, from the post 648 of the Vital Weekly webzine:

"N.Strahl N. has had a couple of releases, among others on Tosom, and here he teams up with B-Machina, whom we knew before as Bone Machine. Its a split release, with N. Strahl N. doing three tracks, lasting almost thirty minutes and B-Machina one track of about twenty-five minutes. M. Lohr, the person behind N. Strahl N. has come some way to move out of his noisy, industrial textures and now cooks up something that is much more interesting. Build on the foundations of field recordings, machine hum and water dripping, but also the repeating beating of laundry in the machine. His take on field recordings is quite different from the usual stuff in the field (pun intended). More 'industrial' than his peers, and more into the beautiful ugliness of sounds around. B-Machina plays one piece of twenty-five minutes dealing with synthesizers and tape-loops of an unidentified rhythmic nature. Its nice, but throughout there is not much variation to be spotted in this piece, making it unnecessary long and minimal for the wrong reasons."

The ever reliable Club-Debil website also venture a view (and hold onto your hats, Nazgul's going into babel-fish mode):

"On this sound-recording, B-Machina (Bonemachine) and N.S.N [investigate] its zeitgeist characterizing the subject of time by the example of the current period. Two quotations - one from the English author and Science Fiction pioneer H. G. Wells, the other from Goethe, show immediately what the artists of purported zeitgeist hold. The sounds that these thoughts illustrates is typical for both projects ... B Machina presents itself a "more fully" in the sound with an ongoing synthetic background. Differences to N.S.N are to be assessed actually only in an exact listening, it does not make for a "hard" transition between both projects."

Hmmmm.....not sure that actually made a lot of sense, but that's elementary German for you!

Not being in the least bit abashed to plough this furrow to the end, the well known German review site, Kulturterrorismus, says of the release "B-Machina (this time only represented through Alex, without Max) produce the 25 minute piece 'zeitgeist' with a tightly atmospheric path that may be called 'rhythmic drones'. The easy monotony within 'Zeitgeist', which the Drone style entails, the balances through an emotionally impressive mood."

But now my brain aches! Perhaps not the catchiest tune in the world, but for the concept at large and within the tendencies of the genre, a highly enjoyable piece of background ambient assault!

Nazgul was delighted to receive this signed and dedicated copy (#20 of the 150) directly from the hand of Hugin himself.

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