Dusted Reviews

Sack and Blumm - kind kind

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Sack and Blumm

Album: kind kind

Label: Staubgold

Review date: Oct. 9, 2003

Sack and Blumm, the German duo of Harold “Sack” Ziegler and F.S. Blumm, are obsessed with counterpoint. This is not a huge shock, as Germans since Bach have been consumed by the concept and its practice. S & B’s take on counterpoint, however, is a bit different. For them, counterpoint is simply the placement of an idea in relationship to another. Counterpoint for the 21st century; counterpoint for the digital age—you get the point. The music on kind kind, their second offering, was composed by sending source material back and forth by post (CDs? Tapes? 8 tracks?). So when, say, Sack forwarded along the country jangle percussion and lone trumpet of “anna bory” to Blumm, Blumm took it and riffed his own complementary horn line and added all types of mucked children’s talking toy madness. The result is traditional musical counterpoint as well as being a result of this contrapuntal collaboration procedure.

For the most part the pairing works. kind kind exudes a placid, glazed over glow: comprised of various horn arrangements and keyboards against sputtering digital snippets. At their best, S & B congeal into a single entity, able to finish whatever melodic sentence the other starts. On “to go to,” layers of time-stretched vocal tracks cloud a dreamy ether as horns melt together and a fumbling bass line augments the scene perfectly. (As an aside, nearly every song has a horn track, not something I’d expected, but the sounds are kept imaginative enough to provide buoyancy.)

The title track is one-off perfection. As if it were delivered by a golden carrier pigeon, and when the envelope opened, pixie dust drifted out raising the recipient to the same cerebral level as the creator. Imagine if there were two Bachs that could have collaborated on “The Art of Fugue;” like that, but with less organ. In fact, kind kind employs many of the same musical devices as other tracks, additionally decorated by piano and the clipped drone of a music box melody. In cadence and sweetness, kind kind is much like a track from the Ehlers / Mathieu Herion disc would have sounded before being all fuzzed up.

Unfortunately, the honeymoon of these great tracks is crashed up by some noticeably forced moments. “Maria mbria” is one such moment. Attempting to combine clashing tempos, instrumentation and melodies, it falls apart soon after it starts. Another failed experiment is “shop beats,” on which some post-production beeps overshadow what could have been a perfectly nice song. Blame these tracks on German efficiency—if only they had been lost in the Deutsche Post, kind kind might be a bit more consistent.

The measured sound of kind kind owes much to the working relationship S & B have built up over the years. Whereas some Visual Mail Art experiments are plastic, inviting and embracing drastic revision while in progress, music is a less forgiving medium (unless we’re talking remixes). Indeed, synthesis—fighting against the poles of this contrapuntal composition technique—are what Sack and Blumm attempt. I would imagine that reconciling the limitations of the musical result with their creative egos is a deeply personal process for each artist, and listening to the variations on kind kind is a vivid exploration of these ideas.

By Marc Gilman

Read More

View all articles by Marc Gilman

Find out more about Staubgold

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.