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Penetrans . Institut Fuer Feinmotorik


staubgold 25
2002. cd . dl . lp

“Eight tracks created on up to eight ‘empty’ record players prepared with household materials. Concentrating on the reduction of instruments, amongst other things, the members of the group are primarily interested in acoustic phenomena around the record player. In fact, along with their policy of abandoning records, their [admirable] accompanying motto: ‘To produce from almost nothing almost nothing’. These pieces have received numerous versions since 1997, all manner of different presentations with the concept of "empty" record players. Between two and four people play approximately eigh record players, applying different handicraft-materials in a music performance.” (Boomkat)

“It's no surprise that a group exists that is dedicated solely to the idea of the ‘empty turntable’ - that is, creating music using only turntables, no records, ‘prepared’ in the manner of John Cage with an array of household objects: rubber bands and who knows what else. After all, we already have our no-input mixer artists, our shortwave splicers, our field recorders of powerline interference. The medium is the message, the tool is the message -- hell, these days, we've so ingested our tools, our media, that it almost seems like the message simply is, buzzing all around us like highwire hum. If Institut Fuer Feinmotorik didn't exist, you can be sure that someone would have invented them.

No, what's surprising about the Southern German quartet is that, far from being a one-skip wonder, or an arts grant gimmick, they've pursued their minimalist (mediatist?) practice over the course of seven releases now. And Penetrans proves the project worthy of continuation. Not that it necessarily shows development, progress, or any ol' such modernist shibboleth -- who needs it? After all, good, stripped down rock doesn't evolve, it just rocks. Likewise, Penetrans, restricting itself to eight turntables, four mixers, two compressors, one ‘gaengiger mehrspurmischer’, zero records, and various unnamed treatments, is simply rockin', rollickin' grooviness. Rich in syncopated funk and a dozen shades of grey, it amounts to a kind of roots techno - the 21st century equivalent of the jug band. (…)

Of course, the group's choice of titles carries them a ways from your usual back porch blues, but then again, a healthy, downhome sense of irony and pragmatism keeps it grounded. Thus ‘Behalte du deinen Traum, ich behalte das Geld!’ – ‘You keep your dream, I'll keep the money!’ - or, better still, ‘…ja, das ist Kunst!’ Ja, ja it is.” (Philip Sherburne, The Wire)

Institut Fuer Feinmotorik

Institut Fuer Feinmotorik is an artist’s group working in different formats and media, founded for a club-event in Basel (Switzerland) in 1997, creating “rough minimal mechanical rhythmic soundscapes”.

The Institut Fuer Feinmotorik (= institute for precision motoricity) project is interested in the complex relationship between perception of micro-phenomena in acoustic and visual spheres and the precision stumbling through micro-social behaviour in daily situations.

Originating in the Black Forest, Germany, the main activity is acoustic-art / music, created with 8 turntables, 4 DJ mixers + end-mixer. The setup consists of six to eight “empty“ record players which means that there are no gain signals but the empty or manipulated lock grooves or the paper labels of the records are played. Besides that Institut Für Feinmotorik have found some other ways to generate acoustic signals out of empty record players: household rubber-bands, adhesive tape and tooth brushes are just a few instruments used to produce different sounds.

The music of Institut Fuer Feinmotorik mostly appears in the context of electronic music, but is deeply mechanical and, if any, imitates structures and aesthetic codes of digital-/electronic music by the use of an important instrument of the electronic (dance-) music, namely the DJ set-up minus the records, to create an aesthetic approach of a stumble-structured rhythm music, sounding not unlike some state-of-the-art power-book click-hop piece listened to through some closed doors.

Different from many other generating-procedures of contemporary electronic music, no single piece of I.F.F. music is able to be reproduced; so every I.F.F. show is a unique event, but with a typical aesthetic recognition-effect caused by their radical purist attitude.