KRITZKOM “Fuzziness” (Jollies)

“That synth crawled outta that hole and had a little peek around before it ran off toward yonder hills.” So says my ancient interlocutor at the gas station off whatever this rural exit this is as he points to Appalachian wilderness behind the dilapidated structure that served these parts as far back as when Eisenhower was president. Truman maybe. That this gray, wizened, coverall-wearing, grease-covered remnant of bygone days even knew what a synthesizer was a mystery to me, but I would save that question for later, maybe. Kritzkom was out here, I knew it.

This is how I ended up here: Fuzziness, a transmission from tape label Jollies, landed in my mailbox, and I immediately knew it originated from somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, even though it was a lo-fi electronic number crafted by Berlin-based French artist Marine Drouan. There was a vibe here that simply stretched across space, way outside of an urban context, calling for free roaming under nothing but trees and sky. And so I devoured Fuzziness, letting it cloud my head, my intentions, like a fog bank, like a scrambled signal from a bunker that held secrets only I was going to be let in on.

I got in the car and drove a few hours, guided simply by the subliminal pulses and minimal techno of Fuzziness, stopping where I did on a hunch. It was the right one, and as I left the man and walked to the back of the building, eyes scanning the scrub brush and tree copses and outcroppings of hills harshly protruding from the ground. A synth emerged from a hole and absconded to a field. What does that even mean? I began to walk, twenty yards, thirty, forty, finding nothing but the land. Then I heard it – it might have been in my head, it might have been in the sky, it might have been coming from directly in front of me: Fuzziness, in its natural habitat. Kritzkom was close. But as I began to step further out into that all-encompassing sound on the wind, my head rang with reverberating tone, and my vision became purple. I blacked out.

I came to next to my car, hands on the hood, breathing heavily, sweating. I could see the old gas station owner through the window of the building, eyeing me with a suspicious look. I nodded, but I was shaken – my legs tingled and my fingers sparked. I tasted metal. Whatever happened to me out there beyond the gas station, where no other human being had ever ventured, stuck with me, overcame me. It was Fuzziness, distilled, uncompromised, in the wild. It was exhilarating.

I chalked it up to unanswerable mystery. Fuzziness, indeed, in its pure form, conjured by Kritzkom, spends its days frolicking in the wilderness behind that old gas station. And while I never actually encountered the entity Kritzkom itself while I was out here, I didn’t really think I was going to in the first place. I just wanted to see what I could see, and the spirit of Kritzkom is enough for me to call this expedition a success.