Nathan Blunt outta Pence Eleven translates it into more English English.   Leave a comment

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Pete UM: No Pressure

Long live electronic ana rchy!

The waffle…

With its colourful cover and 35 minutes’ worth of music this record is caught in an interesting net. Many threads c an be followed for so long that their own stories and critical revisions come out of them . There is, f or example : the small Hamburg la bel GAGARIN RECORDS.

It ha s committed itself to electronic experiments on vinyl and for ten years with snail-like slowness it has brought its records to the people ; about one disc every six months. (“Long live negative speed!” is one of the label ‘ s mottos . Another one, nicked by me for the subtitle, is “Long live electronic anarchy!”). Thus , on its tenth birthday there are exactly 22 titles in its catalogue. Among them, to name the most famous, “There Are Grapefruit Hearts To Be Squeezed In The Dark” by MA X GOLDT. To celebrate the anniversary of its foundation there are almost simultaneously three albums: alongside PETE UM there ‘ s music from ERGO PHIZMIZ and ECHOKRANK.

H ead of GAGARIN RECORDS is FELIX KUBIN , who himself claims to be imprisoned in the body of the cosmonaut Y URI GAGARIN. Since the start of the 1980s he ‘ s been devising ever – new combinations of electronic sounds . At 13, with a still pre-pubescent voice and a bit of goth rock he founded DIE EGOZENTRISCHEN 2 in punk y Hamburg ; a few years later K LANGKRIEG, a noise band that still exists today. Between 1992 and 1994 , as chairman of the Fake Party G.C.U.P. (German Communist Unity Party) , he set to music socialist classics such as “Gute Freunde” or ” Überall, Wohin Man Schaut, Wir d Aufgebaut” with LIE DERTAFEL MARGOT HONECKER. T his fake with a musical output in the style of German N ew W ave was even worth an article in SPIEGEL.

The shrill cover artwork for “No Pressure”, to touch upon another thread, is undertaken by the Belgian DENNIS TYFUS. His deliqu escent, psychedelic intricacies otherwise adorn the r eleases on his own label ULTRA ECZEMA and r ecently more and more exhibitions in Antwerp and the surrounding area.

The insides…

But at last we ‘ re here to talk about PETE UM. Not an easy task, for whether the little legends about the tall, thin man from Cambridge are true, only he himself knows. Did he really shoot himself in the foot in his youth and does he really earn his money today as a horse breeder? The man always seems g rumpy enough for tha t and more . The circumstances are clearer c oncerning the music. That UM , after reaching the age of consent, loved his tape-recorder more than his girlfriend, one believes immediately. Since 1996 he ‘ s been playing with computers, initially recording th e results onto cassettes and hon ing his apparatus incessantly , for example with a bust minidisc player. Not only his text, performed in the style of ‘ spoken word poetry ‘ , stands out from a “world of faceless bou rgeoisie” (UM) through precise observations of daily life . A lso his self-analyses are exact and pitiless: “My music is a kind of rhythmic collage of unidentifiable sounds, on top of which comes a miserable bloke who sings stuff that nobody understands.” To aid understanding a book of lyrics is enclosed with this UM -record for the first time , which should help in decipher ing the altered voices and the contents.

So it all pulses , slaps and rattles out of the speakers, confusingly through and over itself . The synth-rhythms are guarant e ed to have been abstracte d from dance school CDs, to which otherwise youngsters would be slaving their way through a foxtrot . B ut they ‘ re played back at 3 times the speed, a nd one part or other of the songs seems too fast or too slow, as if the turntable w ere being adjusted. What ‘ s more , the slightly distorted voice sings of god (“I Am The God Of War “), the world (“Rum dam dam dam duddeldidam ” ) or with bust , stuttering loops, of untrustworthy politicians (“Mr. Tony Blair, Mr. Tony Blair, Mr. Tony Blair “). Some of the miniatures – only very few of the songs scratch their way up to two minutes – remain instrumentals. (MR UM, why actually are your songs so short? “They ‘ re not short. They ‘ re to the point . Why shouldn ‘ t songs be short? I like short songs. If my songs seem too short, you can listen to them twice. Or you can listen to my track “That ‘ s Too Close”, it ‘ s about a pretty girl who tells me my songs are too short.”) That all sounds so beautifully old-fashioned, so cool and analogue, that it fits perfectl y with the medium of vinyl. Dadatronic between trash and genius. T his is manifest , d espite the supposedly just cobbled – together material , by the intense mood that many songs convey . “The Social Astronaut” for example , a classic tal e of the outsider , is a paragon of the melancholy of turbid days an d thoughts. Some of the longer titles – seldom going over three minutes – even b ump and scratch along in the neighbourhood of pop.

After countless CD-Rs it was about time for the first c ollection of works from PETE UM. The 18 pieces on “No Pressure”, which come from between 2000 and 2007, offer an insight into all the phases of his work: earlier very experimental, lat er catchier and with a charm, similar to that of the avant-garde represe ntatives of the German New Wave . UM is UM, all the critics confirm that and look for comparisons. My amateurish attempt: an electronic TOM WAITS with a sprinkle of MONTY PYTHON. Finally, another word from the artist: MR UM, your songs often sound melanchol y. Did you have a very difficult childhood? “Yes.” The End.

Addendum: PETE UM will be part of the “10 Years of GAGARIN RECORDS” label tour i n September. Known locations include Mannheim and Frankfurt . Prices, dates and further locations should soon be found in detail on the GAGARIN RECORDS website.

Thanks Nathan.

Posted July 24, 2008 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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