Gerritt Wittmer – Unknowns
3.18.16 by Mike Haley

gerrit large

Near nothingness. A stretch of vacancy occurs. Then, in a Kramer-like jolt, the machines start up. Functioning correctly or not, gears chug along. Stray bolts drops to the floor and roll underneath the onerous mountains of metal and belts and wire. Maybe the machines grind up bones for old, rich people snort and look younger? Maybe they manufacture those tiny plastic taco and sushi toys for kids? It starts up. It runs, pumping out quarts or dozens or feet of whatever shit it makes. The sounds bouncing off the concrete walls are both mechanical and organic. Then, like clockwork, the machines break down. Workers have trouble getting them back up and running this time. All the while red lights flash, the word “DANGER” in bold type under them. Eventually more machines are sent to repair the machines. Basically training for robots who will be working there next summer. Maybe sooner if they can start balancing themselves.

That is the way of Gerritt Wittmer’s stalking collection of sounds called “Unknowns”, released by No Rent Records in an edition of 100 pro dubbed copies. Patience mentors the listener through copious downtime, inaudible bricks dropped into a cylindrical denseness of factory drudge. The sounds of mechanical midnights sliced and served very cold. “Unknowns” is a relatively short tape at twenty minutes, my personal minimum (I just can’t get down with C7s, ya’ll). But in that twenty minutes, Wittmer works with resonant loops, harsh concepts, and willful calmness like someone who’s been doing this for many years. Which, after all, is the case. Even though they can be rare as rocking horse shit, Gerritt Wittmer has been releasing solo material since the late 90’s on classic imprints like Troniks, RRR, and his own Misanthropic Agenda operation. Awesome to see a continuation of the action.

Dig the sounds. Dig the white on white shell imprinting. Dig the lonesome, b&w artwork. Dig yourself up a copy.