steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Hans Grüsel's Kränkenkabinet

"Blaue Blooded Türen" CD


Genre: experimental

San Francisco, CA

October 2009

In his interview for Indieville, Hans Grüsel described his music as ideally suited to a "spookhouse/dark ride type attraction," where the participant is brought through several distinct rooms fitted with terrifying visuals. On Blaue Blooded Türen, that description could not be more apt.

To secure the imagery's overtness, the album's liner notes give a descriptive framework with which to follow along. This journey begins at sea, makes its way though a "blooded door," spends some time in the world of Dallas Bower's Alice in Wonderland, then winds up going through yet another blooded door. Grüsel's tools are a seemingly endless bevy of sounds that he draws upon, ranging from harsh, mechanical noise to odd snippets or melody (the carnival merry-go-round melody on "Down the Rabbit Hole," for example). With relation to this album's atmosphere, his background in videogame sound design renders him quite adept at evoking strong feelings and images in the listener, although clearly the artistic process is different when working with music to be consumed without a specific context.

Beginning at sea, we hear the dripping and bubbling of liquids on "Storm (Auf der Meer)" and the weird electronic chaos of "Stress." Electronic elements and viola are paired, melding the organic and the electric into a unique cauldron of sound. The first blooded door draws the listener into a horrific mess of sound on "Pulse Widthed Doors," only to face the absurdity of chattering teeth and and woodpeckers abuzz on "Dark Waldung", and later the funereal harmonicas of "Fanfares."

As the journey continues, one is taken through the carnivalesque world of Alice in Wonderland, and the horror of yet another (equally petrifying) blooded door. Despite its whimsical subject matter, this is not an easily accessible release, in that it falls well short of conventional notions of rhythm and melody. However, its careful attention to detail, and its clever use of sonic detritus, set it apart from the average noise release. As far as experimental albums go, this is one of the more vivid and auspicious discs out there - and one that separates itself from the pack in terms of originality and execution.

hans grüsel's website


Michael Tau

[Vitals: 15 tracks, distributed by the label, released Sep 1, 2008]