Tabs Out | Lärmschutz – splits with Black Faun, Eugene Chadbourne

Lärmschutz – splits with Black Faun, Eugene Chadbourne

1.9.20 by Ryan Masteller

I love the consistency that Faux Amis has displayed with this series. To recap, in 2019, which is essentially over (smell ya later, 2019!), the label, based in Utrecht, Netherlands, unleashed a tape a month from fellow Utrecht-based freeform noiseniks Lärmschutz, with Lärmschutz occupying one side of the tape and one of Lärmschutz’s best buds – or at least contemporaries, maybe even worst enemies? – residing on the other side. I’ve written about them for Tabs Out before (and even other sites, OMG!), and I’m about to write about them again, because they’re worth writing about. We’re on to volumes 7 and 8, featuring Black Faun and Eugene Chadbourne, respectively.


Black Faun isn’t an easy listen, folks. Power electronics meets hellish drone, the bludgeoning industrial atmosphere of side A’s “Helhesten” is a suffocating morass of metal on metal, hordes of machinery lined up for miles and simply performing their primary functions. Robot overseers make sure everything’s running in tip-top shape. They’re hovering robots, like the ones from “Tron” or “The Black Hole.” It’s a pretty constant onslaught on all senses, and why wouldn’t it be? The planet is uninhabitable (no atmosphere, gravity barely works, second Trump term), and the robots are already equipped to communicate via some sort of bleepy short-wave system, so what do they need us for? “Hi!” says Lärmschutz, who join the party late, a half hour and a whole side into the tape, and take over for Black Faun, who are just as disillusioned at this point as you may imagine. “Valravn” is their contribution, and it starts on such a piercing frequency that my wife yelled down the hall for me to turn it down (but it WASN’T that loud to begin with … Babadook?). As usual, Utrecht’s rowdiest experimenters attempt to one-up their splitmates, this time with a scathing guitar/synthesizer/noise flash flood that erodes any patience you may have left. It’s a toxic churn, and it’s in your head and in your blood, and you can’t help but fling open the door of your house and run out into the street and attempt to pull your mailbox out of the ground with nothing but your own brute strength – and you can’t do it! It’s cemented in there. But so what? Lärmschutz gives you the Popeye strength to at least pull every muscle in your back trying to get that thing out. Maybe you need a robot to help you.


On the complete and absolute opposite end of the spectrum is Eugene Chadbourne’s contributions to the series. You may be wondering, as I did, if Lärmschutz contains the requisite forbearance to match Chadbourne’s restraint. See, Chadbourne not only picks at the guitar strings in such a minimal fashion, he does it, apparently, at least on “Crammed Into One,” in the middle of a bird sanctuary, the avian hordes threatening to overwhelm the sound of the guitar at every moment. Kinda peaceful, actually, if you ask me. The birds disappear on “Ruined Castle,” but that only helps you hear better what sounds like a guitar playing while its slowly being sawed apart. Lärmschutz, I’m sad to report, can’t rein it in like Chadbourne can. But who cares! They still spin off two tunes in kindred tone to Chadbourne’s, they just can’t help it that they’re more than one person and more easily and actively play off each other, goading each other just a little further into the spectrum of wildness. The result is an abstract freeform festival of tension, where every muscle is taut because the music can’t spiral too far out of control, but still it kind of shakes itself in your face like a twerking bagpipe glitched out like it was in the Matrix. And then somebody slumps over at the end because they’ve finally made it, and the relief is palpable. Whatever instrument they dropped probably needs to be tuned though.

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