Peter Rehberg: Work for GV 2004-2007

[16 December 2008]

By Timothy Gabriele

The critical absence on Work For GV 2004-2008 is GV, or Gisèle Vienne, the performance artist/puppeteer whose productions are the ones Editions Mego label runner and sole Pita member Peter Rehberg is scoring on the album. Vienne’s violent and disturbing stage productions are represented solely by the impassive narration of novelist Dennis Cooper (author of Jerk, one of the three performances for which these pieces were written). In fact, “ML3” is just a mind-numbing single-tone drone that murmurs on for six minutes as Cooper reads off a litany of self-deprecating and brutally honest revelations about a character wrapped up in drug dependency, prostitution, suicidal thoughts, and perhaps far worse things, all in the form of a letter to an ex-lover. Rehberg’s monocular soundtrack to this unsettling scene may seem pointlessly reductive, and maybe even unsuitable for recorded release, but it’s actually well-suited to the assiduously virulent arch of the Dadaist album, which dabbles in sick electronics a la Vienne’s forefather Hermann Nitsch before reaching the anesthetized core of “ML3”.

The album, though specially programmed for home consumption, is too scattershot on the whole to work as a complete piece. Without a frame of reference, the pieces on Work For GV 2004-2008 are perhaps even more schizophrenic than their source material would necessitate. That’s not to say there’s not plenty of fascinating moments of experimental expressionism abound. “Boxes and Angles” is a massive collimation of persistent epileptic digital tremolo slightly resembling Guitar’s “Ballad of the Tremoloser” with more environmental depth and emotional breadth. “Black Holes” starts out with subtle prickly pulses like one of the early Cabaret Voltaire experiments found on their Methodology compilation before moving into a more modern and heavily layered industrial/ glitch loop not unlike peak Nine Inch Nails. 

Rehberg’s atmospherics are intricate and rewarding, as they are in his best works with Pita and KTL. Still, no matter how evocative these sound canvases get, you can’t help shaking the feeling that you’re missing something when listening to Work for GV 2004-2008. Perhaps the video below will help.

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