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It's Got A Good Beat But You Can't Dance To It

Fuck spinning vinyl records when you can spin paper, rubber and glass instead.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

Techno has sucked for years now, but what’s the best way to kill and reinvent the genre? Rip the records off the turntable and just play the fucking slipmats! The Institut Fuer Feinmotorik, a group of four German men, have been doing it for years, and it sounds fucking amazing. They improvise incredibly intricate patterns of clicks and thuds by using the turntable itself as a musical instrument, kind of like a more digestible version of Thomas Brinkmann. The IFF have been exploring what a turntable can do since they started, and are adding on to this vocabulary of sounds every day. Pieces of metal and plastic rhythmically bash the tone arm; needles play paper, glass, and whatever else they can find. They even figured out how to stretch rubber bands over the platter to allow the needle to “strum” them. The convoluted chaos of thumps and squeaks congeals into compositions that weave around like bossanova and swing like Basie. Yes, this is music, not noise, and you might actually want to listen to it more than once. That doesn’t mean you can dance to it. IFF tinkerbell Marc says, “Unfortunately, there are always just a few people who start to dance at our shows—but they always freak out seriously!” Anyone hammered enough to pull out their glow sticks to this is just aching for a beating. This is music that, when you hear it, sounds important. This is the sound of one of those major gestures, something that inspires you to go out and use some gadget very inappropriately. But don’t be fooled, the IFF don’t have a stick up their ass. “Sometimes spectators take over at the turntables and mixers to try it out themselves, which is okay,” says Marc. “We like that. We are abetting this in a way, as we always leave the table during performances to go to the bar. We also like to put our set-up in the middle of a venue, so people can come really close and see what’s going on.” With a U.S. tour in the works for the fall, you too may soon be undancing to the sounds of no records. JASON FARRAR
Penetrans is out now on Staubgold Records.