Otto Von Schirach: 8000 B.C.

Eamon P. Joyce
Otto Von Schirach

8000 B.C.

Label: Schematic
US Release Date: 2001-03-06

Otto Von Schirach's debut LP 8000 B.C. fully violates the divide between interesting experimental wizardry and utter nonsense. Like his colleagues Richard Devine and Matmos, Von Schirach obviously wants to push at our preconceived notions about just what music is or how it is supposed to sound, but the sounds Von Schirach reveals are insubstantial and fatuous.

Fizzing and blipping about, while never really defining oneself is fine for a discrete period of time. Yet, after Von Schirach's first two tracks, his time is up and 8000 B.C. becomes fetid. Yes, Von Schirach can skillfully blend his vocal samples with Jew's harp, Geiger counters and other techie toys, but he can't seem to string a series of beats together or form a hook, let alone any real hints of melody, that make this record memorable.

Instead, Von Schirach ecstatically and repeatedly creates sounds as alluring as fingernails scratched against a blackboard. The fourth track's (nowhere on my review copy or my press materials does Von Schirach title his compositions) high-pitched screeches make the track unlistenable. To be brutally honest, I find that the fourth through eighth tracks of 8000 B.C. sound better when one holds down CD player's fast forward button as allowing the tracks to flow past at much greater speed does nothing to detract from the aimless blipping.

The ninth track sees Von Scirach attempt a dancier, more melodic idea that pleasantly and surprisingly becomes a dripping, dank exploration before painfully exploding into another woeful buzz on track 10. In a last attempt to distinguish himself, Von Schirach apparently seeks to electronically simulate the sound of swishing saliva around in one's mouth on track 12 and then flatulence on track 13. None too attractive. Need I say more?

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