STAPLERFAHRER “Four More Broken Elements” C50 (Dim Records)

Steffan de Turck is Staplerfahrer, as well as the Dim Records label head. The Tilburg, Netherlands, label specializes in experimental drone and musique concrète. Soundscapes, you dig? Do you? Do I? Let’s dig into this one a little bit and find out. There’s around 45 minutes of it – let’s see how much of my life I’ll lose, and how much I’ll get back by the end.

This track is the ambient recordings within an old studio. Air moves, static, sounds like somebody’s shaking a sheet of metal, like the ones they use to make thunder on cartoons. Something clanks. Time passes. Something else clanks. Some electricity buzzes. A printer sounds – wasting a ton of paper, I’d imagine. Go green, de Turck! Some scrapes and junk. Then somebody chews cereal, I guess. Lightbulb pops. Time elapsed: 13:27.

More abandoned buildings, although according to the bandcamp page de Turck and his partner Leilani Trowell “executed a ballet of life and death in this overgrown and vast garden of the house.” OK. I hear a broom sweeping. Then ambient noise sources, pasted together maybe? I have to crank the volume to make anything out in the middle of this one. Absolute silence, John Cage style. More porch noise, or whatever. This is driving me crazy. Time elapsed: 10:01.

God almighty, actual music! Look, I’m gonna make an aside here and tell you that I’m fine with ambient music and musique concrète, I really am. There are some really brilliant artists out there that mine some incredible depths and soar to incalculable heights with some really minimal tools. So I’m going to lay that out there as groundwork for when I say that by “Wissant” here, I’m really yearning for something other than footsteps in abandoned buildings as abstract art. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. And now I bet I’ll get chastised because Steffan de Turck is some famous outsider artist in his home country. Fine. “Wissant” is 7:38 of organ drone that barely moves. Time elapsed: … oh yeah, I just did that.

This is Staplerfahrer’s take on a live performance by Kapotte Muziek, a reworked composition that took Staplerfahrer seven years to complete. Guess what? He’s managed to take what sounds like crowd noise and other percussive sounds and turn them into this artistic composition. Your definition of “artistic composition” may be different than mine. Time elapsed: 12:35.

So… do you like any of that? Hm.

I gotta be honest – I feel like I was hooked up to Count Rugen’s machine in The Princess Bride. Four More Broken Elements has sucked the better part of an hour of my life away. Feels like a year.

--Ryan Masteller