General Magic | Rechenkönig
Mego | CD
Rating: 98% http://www.generalmagic.com
Description: "With its award-winning magcTalk communications platform General Magic offers the premier voice user interface that combines language, personality, and logic, creating a natural conversation between people and information."
An "interface that combines language, personality, and logic, creating a natural conversation between people and information"; doubtless General Magic - Mego co-founders Andreas Pieper and Ramon Bauer - would see the irony, for a more apt definition would be hard to imagine.
'Rechenkonig' - literally translated as 'computing king' - continues where 1997's excellent 'Frantz' left off, with 26 tracks of pixel-precise sonic adventure. Opening to the strains of 'i love you', a 30 second testament to warped 20th Century icon Barney™, General Magic set the scene for an hour of, at times tongue-in-cheek, audio.
'into engine winken' opens to lo-fi Atari beats dissolving into static-soaked rhythmic pulses which shudder in and out of focus before collapsing into a 20 second coda of etch-a-sketch melody; while 'in teil kotzen' foregoes the etch-a-sketch in favour of a minute of heavy static-dub that would give Kingston's finest a run for their money. For most the highpoint will be the c-u-tan-dpas-te gestures of the cleverly constructed 'in kupplung minidursten' which unceremoniously rips an Oval(?)esque track to shreds, only to rebuild it in pseudo-random fashion.
A persistent theme lies in the layering of insistent melodies over and under seeping feedback and/or static. Something of an audio-zeitgeist - cf. 1999s 'Fenn O'Berg Theme' and the ubiquitous 'Track 03' from Pita's 'Get Out' - it's nonetheless a pleasure to witness General Magic's unique takes on both 'not d'a schwammerl schonen' and 'aufority'.
In short, 'Rechenkonig' is an essential purchase, and doubtless one of 2000's turn-of-the-millennium-playlist contenders...