Photo Credit: Nadja Angermann
The most successful attempts at sonic collage exist as living documents that are near-indecipherable to anyone but their creator. Comprised of constantly shifting planes and ignoring the usual temporal constraints of recorded music, collage allows for a freedom of movement and shape and for its creator to take on the role of auteur or architect as much as composer, DJ or producer. Avbvrn, a Frankfurt-based, California-born artist, has based his practice in exploring the expansive potential of edited material, both his own and from myriad other sources. Currently studying composition in Frankfurt, Avbvrn’s musical universe is both constantly expanding and concerned with the hyper-specific, grafting tangential threads between Pat Benetar and Grischa Lichtenberger, while crafting an increasingly idiosyncratic aesthetic based on sheets of intricately-textured noise, sharp angles and empty space.
Releases to date on DECISIONS and JEROME, as well as a recent album-length self-release, sketch out the rules of engagement for Avbvrn’s often dysphoric original material. Tracks like “Flood” and “Containment”, both released in 2017, are claustrophobic to the extreme, comprised of ratcheting percussion, overlapping drones and a conscious withholding of groove. Avbvrn always leaves an open door for the listener to jump through though and both eventually mutate into surprisingly effective club tracks, reconstructing themselves subtly as if behind a curtain to be exposed at a later juncture. The obfuscation of intention is not carried out to confuse or condescend to the listener, but like a complicated dish, the final result is often concealed until near the end of the process. Further singles and compilation tracks for ANBA, Bio Future Laboratory, Cartridge Material, Country Music, Intruder Alert and Slagwerk continue to flesh out this approach, often aiming at a more concrete functionality, but always maintaining a coy, transformational attitude.
Which brings us to Avbvrn Snacks, a series of sprawling edit compilations featuring re-works of tracks from contemporaries, edits of edits, and some of the most beguiling blends you’re likely to come across anywhere. Functioning as an unconstrained, ever-expanding ecosystem, the packs often use familiar lenses/methods (epic collage, musique concrete, screw mixes), but rarely come off as trite or uninspired, instead maintaining a level of uncanny ingenuity. That quality extends to his mix work as well and his entry for Astral Plane Mix 179 effortlessly melds the meticulous compositional energy of his original work with the mad hat exuberance of Avbvrn Snacks. Components of the mix are familiar, but the track list only lends a sort of key to guide your way through the 57 minute run time. As a contextual project, the mix hits on a ton of recent, standout material from the global experimental music community, but more often than not, those threads are spun out into Avbvrn’s distinct web of comprehension, not so much re-contextualized as refashioned into a new whole. Hit the jump for a full track list and download Astral Plane Mix 179 here.