Review: Chemiefaserwerk – Rede des Jahres (self-released, Jul 8)

Christian Schiefner’s work under the Chemiefaserwerk moniker never ceases to astonish. The third release on his personal Bandcamp pageRede des Jahres, is also his longest continuous piece yet, nearly 40 minutes of uninterrupted ambient cascades and altered realities. According to Schiefner, much of the tape used to construct “Rede des Jahres” comes from his own collection kept for “reminders” and “memories.” It’s not only this preface that casts a foggy shroud of reminiscence over the music, but also the qualities of the sounds themselves; the track is made up of achingly delicate elements, and its overall presence is one of thinness and slight obfuscation. Besides a brief appearance of what sounds like a short jam session demo—an addition that only adds to this atmosphere of recollection and nostalgia—Schiefner’s manipulations are quite removed in their final form, stretched and clouded and muddied in a peacefully sublime way that only he can conjure. Looking back, there are several distinct movements throughout “Rede des Jahres,” but the piece doesn’t feel episodic or segmented. The builds and releases of tension amidst the initial drones fade into the guitar/drum meanderings in an inexplicably natural manner, and suspended between stretches of abstract tape concrète is a somber hum like cold wind through a tunnel. Uniting these wide-ranging explorations are the very closely recorded clicks and clatters of unidentified objects, once again placing Rede des Jahres in Schiefner’s amazing sence of balance between tactility and incorporeality.

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