The Gugging Album
Six austere tone poems to the human condition.
A double CD comprising one disc of solo Roedelius with the second allocated to his Viennese compatriot Kava. Both take their cue from the work of the city's Gugging House of Artists, a psychotherapy institute for patients with severe mental health issues - a cause close to the heart of HJR who trained decades earlier as nurse and masseur at the Berlin Charity Hospital. HJR's six monochrome tone poems delve deep into the human condition - drawing from a stark palette of organ tones and fractured percussive and sound FX - as a succession of fragmentary passages come and go in a search of a structure or purpose, and sometimes finding one. As ever, Roedelius is too humane a personality to settle for total darkness or abstraction, and there are occasional passages that reward your deep listening by picking up the tempo or flashing pointilist touches of light or a-melodic passages to keep the spirit alive (without resorting to anything so cliched as a epiphanic resolution). "Where can one find the light which has been lost," asks HJR, "One looks for it in the fires, where after the blaze, the flames continue to smoulder beneath the dead roots of the charred foilage." In stark contrast, Kava's avant techno album is a series of character sketches of the Gugging patients transmutating their individual personalities into brightly rhythmic and tuneful vignettes.