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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PETE FARN: Sweet Metal (2020)

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

It's an album of ambiences which is less rowdy than Pete Farn's trademark, but which still manages to make us uncomfortable

1 MoonHill 4:14

2 Die Welle 5:10

3 Klangkeks 5:12

4 Granularkeks 7:43

5 Traumkeks 6:12

6 Kandinsky 7:12

7 LovingAI 6:24

8 Der Kontakt 8:39

9 Konkret 7:16

10 Noizeman 4:11

11 Plants and Arts 10:45

(CD-r/DDL 73:01) (V.F.)

(Abstract EM, Modular Synth)

After an industrial electric click, MoonHill offers an assortment of hybrid layers that flow with a certain serenity and with a prismatic vision towards its final. This does not prevent its tonal fauna from redacting good elements that do not scare my ears. I even consider it a good start to tame a work from Pete Farn. Every time I receive one of his albums, I ask myself the following question: does that really tempt me? Does it tempt me to hit more than 70 minutes where the music breathes of its arthritis? That she is in pain so much that my ears are bleeding? And why not! Especially since Peter Schaefer has launched his own Bandcamp channel. So, there are fans! He has his fans asking for more and more. And at a time where the art of modular synths fascinates a growing number of curious and aficionados, I believe it is high time to recognize the work of this pioneer who has done so much to democratize the art since MC Square in 2006.

Die Welle continues in this vision of meditative abstract music. Yes, yes meditative music! The synth pads embrace several shades that cover an activity muffled by the strength of the wind and of its breezes. If the sound effects always arouse our curiosity, they do not diminish the meditative twists of a highly sensitive tonal pain. Stray bells ringing, slow chirping of hungry insects, decaying piano and many other noisy rantings from Pete Farn; Klangkeks always remains in this territory of the acceptable. The sounds here mix our emotions which range from curiosity to a certain fright, if listened to in the ideal context, through these organic tones. Since the opening of SWEET METAL that I perceive a fantasy of the German musician to exploit the axes of fear. And although titles do not always stick to this vision, Granularkeks, which revolves around the same cookie, is cemented in this cryptic approach which is exploited mainly by tones of giant carnivorous insects. Traumkeks presents a linear movement whose ambient attachment becomes scratched by humanized laments in the slow caresses, metal against metal, of secateurs slowly eating flesh alive.

Some titles like to oppose their distinctive forms through rubbings in an area as much terrestrial, cosmic and even aquatic. I think of Traumkeks which flirts with these desires and of Kandinsky which is downright prisoner of them. At least until wavering little footsteps attempt a rescue operation. The color of sounds and their pain can be interpreted in many ways. And I am an excellent witness of it. A strong dose of painkillers can change my perceptions. I can easily interpret this love ode to Artificial Intelligence, LovingAI like two entities separated by a magnetic field trying to lengthen their forms for a first kiss. A cold title, even with its spectral waves which die off in a superb vision of Theramin waves. Impossible and impassive, Pete Farn currently makes these two abstract entities speak. Simply mind boggling! Horrific and plaintive, Der Kontakt plunges us, for a few moments, into the thunderous phases of Peter Schaefer and his vision of cinematographic music worthy of David Cronenberg, like Metal or eXistenZ, while Konkret literally made me bleed from the eardrums. Noizeman is not as loud as its title suggests, while Plants and Arts is a title that would fit very well in the new a,niences of a movie like The Grudge IV so much the sounds of comb to which we make the teeth gliding super-idling on metal is effective. As much as those bouncing balls that we drop in the American Horror Story: Murder House.

So many ways of approaching sounds! It is through the richness of our subconscious that abstract art survives. Although each title is separate and have no connection with scary moods, SWEET METAL is an album that has too many of these aural clichés for horror films, that it was impossible for me to not trying a link. It's an album of ambiences which is less rowdy than Pete Farn's trademark, but which still manages to make us uncomfortable. This time, I was pleasantly surprised by this new album of his.

Sylvain Lupari (February 5th, 2021) *****

Available at SynGate Luna Bandcamp

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