Henrik Rylander & Leif Elggren: Gottesdienst

Uneasy listening at its finest and most uncompromising, Gottesdienst finds Swedish artists Henrik Rylander (The Skull Defekts) and Leif Elggren (KREV, Firework Edition, and The Sons of God) collaborating on a twenty-minute behemoth recorded on October 4, 2005 in Masthuggskyrkan as part of Spire Live during Gothenburg Art Sounds 2005 (‘Gottesdienst' is German for, literally, ‘God's service,' and therefore refers to both ‘divine service' and ‘public worship').

What might have sounded brutalizing and merciless in concert is considerably more digestible in recorded form when the volume can be adjusted. Rylander and Elggren create a hypnotically heaving and rippling monstrosity of primal noise anchored by relentlessly looping strings and occasionally joined by a murmuring voice. The piece also receives two ten-minute remix treatments by The Idealist (The Skull Defekts' Joachim Nordwall) and C.P.U. (Contemporary Punk Unit). Nordwall's droning cyclone of strings and electronic tones aligns itself more closely to the ‘Chamber Music' label than does the original while C.P.U.'s alternates between ghostly silences and passages of seething violence. Challenging certainly yet noise never sounded more musical than it does here.

January 2007