Track: Hainbach -‘Funktionsverlust’: Cold War-era technology sings its dying drone song

Hainbach, photographed by Aleksander Stojanov

BERLIN’S Hainbach, the avatar for the world of the sonic and the aural which Stefan Goetsch comes out to invent under, is all set to release a new investigation of sound for London-based SA Recordings come April 9th; and a very inventive, avant-garde excursion it is too.

For on Landfill Totems, Stefan’s irrepressible wonder in sonic experimentation takes the dying moments of abandoned and scrapped electronics of the past and gives them one final chance to sing their solid state song for eternity.

Landfill Totems has its genesis as an installation and a one-off performance in Berlin, before expanding exponentially into a full album and an accompanying sound library which will also be available via SA Recordings.   

Stefan erected three huge sculptures from obsolete, formerly high-end research equipment, taken from nuclear research labs, particle accelerators and grandfather’s sheds. These forgotten relics of science were then repurposed as musical instruments dubbed the ‘Landfill Totems’.  

We’re invited to read into that title, of course: the totems of a modernity long-yellowed, of processing power exponentially outstripped, bound for the crusher and the rare metals picker. Under the aegis of Heinbach they were refashioned as dying monuments to a future long past. 

At the installation, visually, as the human brain searches for faces and patterns in everything – pareidolia, as the phenomena is called – the computers and processors began to take on a humanoid form. Each totemic ‘figure’ also has its own connection to a musical abstract, based on its function and look.  

The music Hainbach coaxes out of these dead machines is full of doom, delicious drone, the music of a silicon and steel culture in swansong 

He’s dropped the opening track from the album,”Funktionsverlust”, which you can tread carefully amongst within; suit up, mask up, the floors may be unstable. It all hangs on a shrill drone of tone, slipping microtonally, hanging like a radioactive fog over the propulsion of chitter-chattering percussion, the sizzle of frying circuitry. It’s Berlin techno for the After-Times, once the Little Shyning Man of Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker has been about his scouring business.

According to Hainbach this is the final noise ever made by this particular machine as it died during the recording process.  A chilling musical presaging.

Heinbach’s Landfill Totems will be released digitally and on limited vinyl by Spitfire Audio on April 9th; pre-orders are now being taken over at the label’s Bandcamp. Tread carefully, please.

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