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The Surgery of Touch

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Album Review

The music on this CD is based loosely on a fable involving a man in an isolated tropical community who bewitches his brothers by telling them troubled stories while they sleep, then drinks their tears and, as the fable ends, their sweat and finally their sweated blood, while the surrounding jungle moves ever closer and beckons to him. The first of the three long sections, titled "Tears," is appropriately dreamy and impressionistic, filled with drawn-out chime tones, synthesizer drones, cavernous echoes, and a brief vocal chorus with vaguely Indonesian musical elements. This first section has a strong resemblance, at times to the spacemusic of Steve Roach and Robert Rich. The second section, titled "Sweat," begins with more vocal chanting, and then moves into murkier territory, filled with sampled jungle sounds, dissonant drones and slow, reverberating pulses ending with the repetition of a haunting three-note pattern. Musically, it is more interesting than the first section if only because it is less derivative. The third section, true to the fable, is the most uneasy of the three. Titled "Blood," it begins with a chorus of nonspecific murmuring, to which is added thunder-like rumbling, deep heartbeat pulses, and a wide variety of metallic, minor key melodic fragments and sinister hissing. Sporadic percussion intrudes, together with a succession of quietly insistent, drifting motifs. The piece ends with shrill insect whirring and then a series of atonal drones which gradually fade into an unresolved nothingness, communicating in musical language a distinct feeling of human degeneration. A powerful and unique example of dis-eased ambience.


Born: 1958 in Australia

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Australian-born composer and producer Paul Schütze is among the most focused and prolific artists of the contemporary experimental electronic scene. Releasing album after album of sprawling, icy, often difficult ambient and electro-acoustic music, Schütze's work has most often been grouped with post-industrial ambient/isolationist artists such as Lull, Main, and Thomas Köner. While the depth of detail and breadth of sound obtained in Schütze's work already confounds that association, albums such...
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The Surgery of Touch, Paul Schütze
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