Music is organized sound. It can be noisy, rhythmic, repetitive, mellifluous, grating, and cadenced, but usually not simultaneously. Don’t tell that to electronic composer Stefan Goldmann. The eight tracks on his new album Tacit Script have it all going on—frequently at the same time. Yet the music is never cluttered. Goldmann’s compositions may be dense, but more like a heavy fog than an impenetrable collection of objects.
Goldmann’s machine-made sonics have organic overtones as if one hears birds in flight honking in the distance or the sound of water gurgling over stones. The songs evoke an artificial nature more than the factory despite their (mostly) non-human constituent sources. Yet one can’t help but pay attention to the steady, incessant beats that ground the material in the urban techno landscape.
Tacit Script isn’t body music. The cuts are more cerebral than that. But one doesn’t listen to them with one’s brain as much as just let the music flow over the top of one’s consciousness. As such, Tacit Script demands much of its audience. There is usually too much going on at the same time to distinguish what is happening, despite the repetition of sounds and rhythms. And as the album’s title suggests, its meanings can be found in the implicit underpinnings.
One has the sense that Goldmann purposely lets things go out of control during the songs so that he can bring them back home later or just let the music fade out without a formal resolution. The music has a wandering personality with no particular destination. The eight tracks have purposely obscure names such as “Turbulent Scalar”, “Broca”, and “Apophenia”. It’s not that these words don’t have definitions (look up the term apophenia—it is especially relevant) as much as it is unclear what the specific titles have to do with the individual tracks. However, the names do often refer to mental states. There is little attention to the physical, and there is also nothing erotic about this disc. Whatever spiritual elements that exist here seem far removed from corporeal life.
There also seems to be a purposeful dimness to the recordings that eschews intelligence in favor of absurdity, i.e., what doesn’t make sense makes sense by not making sense. Real thought emerges from not thinking. That makes the music seem almost irrelevant; more ambient than experiential. One’s appreciation of this record depends on one’s regard for this concept. Some people find sounds soothing in and of themselves, whether it is a fan whirring or industrial soundscapes. They can’t relax without it. Silence itself becomes the enemy. They would find the mix of noises and beats here creative and expressive.
For others that find the clatter of modern life an obstacle to be overcome, these eight tracks here would serve as distractions that annoy more than illuminate. The album makes no seductive overtures. It declares itself into being. Take it or leave it—that’s up to you. Goldmann’s recordings convey the industrial aspects of the world as natural as the primitive environment.