Over the last years, electronic music pioneer Peter Rehberg (a.k.a. Pita) has frequently worked with puppeteer and choreographer Gisele Vienne. While the most prominent body of work resulting from this synesthetic partnership, Rehberg's and Stephen O'Malley's "Kindertotenlieder" project KTL, has created a significant following of its own, this album collects Rehberg's solo contribution to Vienne's absurd anti-bourgeois puppetry.
The short introductory piece on here, "Murder Vision" is a version of a track previously released by Jonathan Capdevielle and Catherine Robbe-Grillet, and it is intended as a tribute to Alain Robbe-Grillet's film "Glissements Progressifs Du Plaisir". And indeed: This release shares one major weakness with the work of the French nouveau realiste, whose literary work I greatly admire. While criticizing bourgeois culture, both Robbe-Grillet and Rehberg/Vienne risk falling prey to their own subject matter: Vienne's puppetry and Rehberg's (subdued) electronic noise are operating within the same cultural framework that they try to unmask.
Back to the music, which is atmospheric and suggestive enough for home listening. This cd presents a selection of Rehberg's work for Vienne's "I Apologize" (2004), "Une Belle Enfant Blonde" (2005), and "Jerk" (2008). It doesn't come as a surprise that the tracks are mostly cinematic. Narrative elements exist, but are only sparsely put to use. Together, the eight tracks cover a wide array of atmospheres: The pieces for "Une Belle Enfant Blonde", including the 13-minute "Slow Investigation", bathe in forlorn synth meanderings, whereas Rehberg's work for "I Apologize" is much more harsh, and in the case of "ML6" bears more than a passing resemblance to his signature track "#3" of his own "Get Out" album. "Black Holes", another track for Vienne's 2004 project, is a sombre meditation of guilt and angst, based on an insisting percussive pattern that is not characteristic of Rehberg at all.
It's fascinating to realize how electronic music, puppetry, literature, theatre and dance come together in the projects documented here. But no matter how well some of these tracks work, one wishes to experience the real thing, the original theatrical production. This should have been a DVD. 7/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (29 October, 2008)