Having made mention of KMFDM in a previous review, it would seem that the more euro-centric oddities that are emerging from the winter have made their way into the collective leftfield inbox a lot more than anticipated.
That’s fine; when you’ve been asked to take a listen to an album by former Einstürzende Neubauten percussionist F.M Einheit, let alone start reading involvement from Lee Ranaldo, the late great Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Susan Stenger (Band of Susans.)
It crosses a fair few squares on the old reviewer bingo card I still have tucked away somewhere amongst the piled of CDs.
Exhibition Of A Dream is a project of Einheit’s that interprets twelve dreams from musicians, artists and filmmakers which were presented at a 2017 exhibition at Lisbon’s Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
“Structured as a mental mandala, The exhibition of a dream highlights the complex beauty of how to generate a dream” the gallery’s press release revealed upon its first exhibiting. “A shared experience to be shared within our own personal inner space […]we are invited to listen and experience these remastered sounds as a sensitive architecture of words and music.”
Initially, the soundtrack was only available for patrons of the exhibition however thanks to UK based Cold Spring (who, by the way, have a very eclectic discography under their belt for many sonic explorers), we are able to experience what those in Lisbon were fortunate enough to immerse themselves in.
Does it work without the art installation though?
It is a marked testament to Einheit that the composer manages to invoke an engrossing topography without the need to be in an art gallery, though I am sure that would only heighten the audio/sensory theatre that Exhibition Of A Dream plays with audibly.
Though this should come as no surprise to those versed in Einheit’s prior works outside of Einstürzende Neubauten; you only need to go back to 2010’s No Apologies with Irmler to appreciate the musician’s aptitude for creating dreamscapes with sound.
Even if No Apologies was at times a nightmarish landscape.
“Alpine Traum”, with the distinctive, honeyed vocals of Lee Ranaldo, is understandably mollifying; how can it not when Ranaldo is discussing a dream? While “Death Progression” musically is as sordid as the content matter conversed.
The ease of Einheit wandering between melodic temperaments is impeccable, as one moment you find yourself poised in a serene soundscape – almost in a weird way akin to sound bites you could find on New Age self-help mobile apps – and the very next it can evoke trepidation.
Perhaps the magnum opus of Exhibition Of A Dream rightfully belongs to Genesis P-Orridge Beyer, with a fifteen-minute journey “Creation Re/Created.” Given P-Orridge’s noted attempts to create “pandrogyne”, the storytelling aspect on this track feels notably introspective.
As P-Orridge continues their narration, Einheit’s soundtrack amalgamates with the listener’s curiosity of the dream. Some may argue that Einheit managed to create a singular entity with both his composition, the contents of the dream and the inflexions in P-Orridge’s voice.
But that would in itself discredit the rest of the works on Exhibition Of A Dream, which accomplishes that amalgamation again, and again, and again.