SCHNITZLER, SCHROEDER & GRESBEK: Minced Valves (From the Lost Tapes of 77) (2010)
Updated: Jan 30, 2022
“A totally abstract and experimental CD that is not for all ears. At the very least, not mines”
1 Pra 4:15
2 Cyr 4:08
3 Tri 4:40
4 Mod 9:22
5 Cyc 8:22
6 Hip 1:21
7 Lyr 6:11
8 Red 10:03
9 PCT 12:12
(CD 60:36) (V.F.)
MINCED VALVES (From the Lost Tapes of 77) from Conrad Schnitzler, Steve Schroeder and Patrick Gresbek is a real trip in the Berlin underground world of the 70's. A collection of 9 tracks, 4 of them written by Schnitzler (Pra, Cyr, Tri and PCT), which show the experimentations drawn from the different music boxes of the time. A caustic journey indeed but which will prove to be a delight for the fans of the genre.
Pra begins this odyssey of sounds with a long sonorous filament which drops its corrosive reverberations in a most heterogeneous universe. Here there are no rhythms, but sound collages that pile up to create ambiences mixed between the eclectic and spectral side. Oblong resonances take the form of electronic drones in a sound mishmash where fine flute sounds are scattered in a very variegated multi-sound canvas. Much like Fripp and his Frippertronics, Cyr is an amalgam of reverberating circles and chords that revolve around a drop of water falling at regular intervals and multiple layers of synths and/or violins (there is little explanation on the Ricochet Dream cover as to what equipment is used) that rip through a heavy web of sound with the whiff of Pink Floyd on Ummagumma, much like the long and lunatic PCT. Tri is an abstract procession on a jerky synth line that subdivides its sound by undulating coils in a universe of crossbow-sounding percussions. A sound combination that comes out regularly in this album. Mod is a slow incantation warmed by beautiful spectral and corrosive layers. A good cosmic and ambient track where the synth screams behind a serpentine shadow that undulates with cold percussion-like sound effects in this silence layered by a very morphic synth. Pulsations of various shapes animate the hypnotic movement of Cy which is a slow abstract procession. It crisscrosses a cosmic nothingness with very electronic sound effects on a structure that offers a slight crescendo. Hip unlocks the rhythmic portion of MINCED VALVES (From the Lost Tapes of 77) with tam-tam style of percussions that carves out a strange singular frenzy. These percussions are also present on Lyr, where the rhythm is still quite light but strongly hypnotic. It's flown over by a big bug with giant wings. Red offers a strange tightrope walk on metal wires that undulate in a cacophony worthy of the sound experiments of the underground years. Heavy but stagnant, the rhythm undulates in a total stagnation. A bit like sculpting a unique and abstract vision, like this rather singular album.
MINCED VALVES (From the Lost Tapes of 77) is not really for my ears. As far as I'm concerned, it's a totally abstract work where ambiguities have the upper hand over any form of rhythms and especially harmonies and even music. An album with rare melodious snippets but with a sound rich in diversity that could very well please the fans, and they are numerous, of Conrad Schnitzler.
Sylvain Lupari (December 15th, 2010) **½***
Available at Ricochet Dream