[A change of pace from film: here is a review of a pair of electroacoustic improvisation albums by the synthesizer duo of Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler, written for the great film/music resource Bagatellen.]
German synthesizer musicians Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler have been playing together for quite some time now, long enough that one might expect their interaction to have grown a bit stale. They first turned heads (and scrambled brains) with their Erstwhile duo disc BART, an unforgettable washing-machine roar of an album, then stretched and expanded their sound by adding AMM founder Keith Rowe to the mix for the muscular musique concrète of Rabbit Run. It's always been well-known that both Lehn and Schmickler are more than capable of playing quiet, sensitive improv, even with musicians whose range is on the threshold of audibility. For whatever reason, though, their collaborations together (excepting a whispery quartet with Rowe and Japanese minimalist Toshimaru Nakamura) have usually tended towards the dark, abrasive, and deafening.
This new set of albums, one on CD and one available only on vinyl, aims to mark off some new territory for the duo as they head into the studio as a pair for the first time since BART.