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Conrad Schnitzler – Rot/Blau

Bureau B

It can’t be a mistake that Red = Rot since this is electronic music rotted one note at a time. As a debut solo album – its actually more complicated than that – it’s a singular attempt to define a new genre of bubbling, messy, electronic music… Rot is propulsive/compulsive; as dark and shiny as a Scribing Mirror. You can hear the tangles that Conrad Schnitzler gets in and he leaves them there, testing the boundaries, daring the listener to accept these notches and whirls as actual music…

Today, I’m sure it makes way more sense than it did when it was originally released. I’d imagine this came of a sudden shock to the floppy haired 70s and it’s clearly more aligned with Throbbing Gristle than the Ambient/pure Kosmische angles which, ostensibly, he belongs. Rot is music of the earth, not at all spacey… It’s pure electronica but it could be made of amplified loam. It could be close-miked bracken (smoked round these parts by dead-eyed shark boys – the Vauxhall Nova Convention), it could be the stirrings of growth at the first signs of rain. Everything feels organic, imperfect, full of possibilities.

Blau is a slightly gentler cousin, as if he’d broken the traditions with Rot and recognised the need to slightly reassure again. This isn’t quite as spaced out as Klaus Shulze et al but it’s a recognisable kin and heads back into space again, albeit a harsher, colder space than we’re used to seeing… This isn’t The Orb. Blau feels more composed, less accidental than Rot (I’d imagine in reality that both have been very carefully controlled and organised) and, as such, works for different reasons. Rot attacks and then retreats; Blau just simmers and pulses… There’s still a lot going on, but the notes are held for slightly longer and the awkward knotting is largely untangled.

Both of these superb albums come with additional tracks and if people are even vaguely interested in the genesis of electronic music; if they’re curious about the kinds of stuff Chris Carter was listening to when he joined TG and helped start a new ball rolling… these are utterly essential.


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