Frank Dommert began experimenting with tape music as a high school student growing up in Cologne in the 80s. He reached out as a fan to Christoph Heeman of H.N.A.S. (Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa, their early work came out on United Dairies) and soon became a collaborator. After releasing a string of cassettes on his own label Entenpfuhl, Dommert made this record, his first LP, in 1990, with Heeman as producer. The circle of musicians Dommert encountered during this period went on in the 90s to form the group Kontakta, the Sonig label and a-musik, which became the center of the experimental scene in Cologne. This 2016 reissue of Kiefermusik (“jaw music”) comes to us from the now Belgium-based label Pacific City Sound Visions, run by madman Spencer Clark (he’s calling himself Typhonian Highlife lately, also known as Fourth World Magazine, half of the noise duo The Skaters with James Ferraro, the Monopoly Child Star Searchers, and more).
Kiefermusik contains two sidelong tape experiments that warp and wind fragments of recorded sound into a seamless dream sequence. In “Neum” (side A), dueling cycles of sound, one a loop of tape static churning in a constant rhythm, and a parallel loop fluctuating in pitch and volume. Echoing conversations, a distant accordion serenade, blistering noise, a ticking second hand (I had a traumatic flashback to Clocker, now finishing up its rotation in our current bin), and end-of-the-cassette crackles all move into awareness before the tape flies off the reel. “Uwverschmuschupi” (side B) begins with a sample of sped-up circus music (perhaps the roly-poly fish heads on the album cover?) that returns like a chorus throughout the piece. Voices and their chemtrailing echoes, planes flying overhead, radio news reports rumbling underneath, comic book laser beams, clips of film dialog and violin solos. Totally demented and sublime.