FUCHS & BECKETT “#fadbdd Vol. 1” C40 (Litho)

There’s no way to divorce the music from the story. A man named Martin Ermisch passed away at 91, leaving a collection of reel-to-reel tapes to Fuchs, his neighbor, in 2015. The tapes had belonged to Ermisch’s son, Bernd Jürgen, a musician and studio owner who had sadly predeceased Ermisch in the 1990s. Not willing to let such a treasure trove go to waste, Fuchs enlisted Beckett, of Fuchs & Beckett fame (get it?), to go through the tapes and see what they could do with them. Among their discoveries were tracks recorded at Jürgen’s studio, and also “recordings of family events, fieldrecordings[, and] radio broadcasts.” The duo then “destructively edited” the recordings, a term so descriptive that I’ve fallen in love with it, and rearranged and processed the results for this here tape.

That’s the story – let’s delve into this thing, shall we? The first thing that comes to mind is Leyland Kirby’s Caretaker work, the ghostly samples of an obscured past haunting the present, casting a long shadow over legacy and personality alike. One can’t help but wonder how these recordings affected Ermisch and Jürgen, and Fuchs & Beckett handle them (despite the destructive editing) with care, ensuring that the decomposition of the sounds were captured for maximum emotional response. In doing so, the memory of the two men is kept alive in a reverent way, and as the repurposed sounds trigger universal cues, they prove that the archive kept for years by two different people can be dispersed over a wider audience who can relate quite easily to it. Even the 19-minute ambient track “Hahallelujah” is enveloping and inviting, piped in as it seems from another dimension. This makes me wonder if Ermisch and Jürgen are peeking in on us from the great beyond, checking up on what Fuchs & Beckett got themselves into with their material. Fortunately for our late benefactors, they’ve got nothing to worry about. The sounds are in good hands.


--Ryan Masteller