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Baker's Dozen

Compiling & Filing: Jan St. Werner's Favourite Albums
Nick Hutchings , April 30th, 2015 11:23

With his operatic performance-cum-radio play Miscontinuum released as an album earlier this year, the Mouse On Mars man takes Nick Hutchings on a trawl of his favourite avant-garde and experimental records


Oval - Wohnton
Wohnton was much more than a pioneer of glitch, it was a redefinition of songwriting, especially in the context of German avant-garde, independent and underground music. It was a total shift because it was so radically denying everything that was considered to be cool. It was music that could have come from anywhere in the world, but it was also so confidently and casually German.

The singing on Wohnton is horrible, it's totally out of tune, it's completely detached from the instrumental parts and because of that it is also totally punk. It is a need for expression and this record is super complex. It was originally presented as an installation live, featuring an array of speakers they had set up where you could hear single tracks of specific songs in loops. It's still an uncharted area that they opened up with that record.

In the early 90s I was experimenting with my friend F.X. Randomiz. We were fast-forwarding CDs and sampling and playing them back at different speeds. We did everything we were not supposed to do and tried to come out with something musical. We made a record called Slow which we released on our own label Gefriem. When Karl Kliem, aka Dienststelle, who did the cover for that record heard it, he said, 'You really have to check out these guys from Frankfurt because they do something quite similar, but totally different'. That was Oval. He arranged a meeting with Sebastian Oschatz and Markus Popp and it was the beginning of a long friendship. I'm still working with Karl on installations and with Markus on Miscontinuum and it's really amazing.