Hans Castrup - Heterogeneous Cell Information [Karlrecords - 2019]Multi-faceted, German artist, Hans Castrup, returns for a third time to Karlrecords. Following up 2016's Lizenzfreie Restwärme, Hans' latest, Heterogeneous Cell Information marks his first time on vinyl. Returning to the tried and true method of multi-layer compositions, this analog and digital creation skirts the line between dark ambiance, industrial, and musique concrete. This amalgamated style makes sense given Hans' varied artistic mediums, and the end result is an intriguing blend of sonic abandon.
Like the tuning in of the sounds of space, "Cell Information" opens up Heterogeneous Cell Information with a slow, deliberate beckoning from afar. And, foreshadowing the album to come, the joining of earthly ambiance with spacious whispers and re-worked vocals builds up over time to construct a fairly grim soundscape. The longest song on the album by nearly two-fold, "Cell Information" is a great beginning to Hans' latest album. While often interesting, the vocal pieces on Heterogeneous Cell Information sometimes sound like they were recorded backstage at The Muppet Show. These begin to unfold on "Beyond Quantization-free Mirror Axes," and unfortunately pop in and out through the rest of the album. Outside of this, the second track has a dark, fairy garden feel to it, and is a nice contrast to the opener. Mixing sparse, concrete sounds and spatial ambiance, "Plain Cutting Edges" adds another dimension to Hans' attack. Ethereal singing and mouthed sounds are the high focus on "Re-Finition of Formal Construction." Layered over low drones with higher, reverberated tones, this song smacks of basement terrors and tortures. While not as grim as that sounds, there is something to the atmosphere that is somewhat foreboding. Treading on the twisted, feedback rich grounds between industrial and experimental, "Opaque Water On Canvas" has less layers involved than previous tracks (it feels, anyway), but is played in such a way that the bent tones add a noisier vibe overall. Slower and different in tone, this new direction takes the listener on an unexpected trail through the woods. Returning to the low, shimmering tones, "Perfect Present" also brings back the female vocalization, More integrated into the mix, Hans really puts his different pieces together to form a wonderful whole. Many of these layers continue into "Elongated Circulum," so the pair work well together. Bringing in radio tuning adds that bit of interstellar communication that felt present in "Cell Information." Unfortunately, it takes a turn for the worse on the closer, "Secret of Fragmented Control," when the Muppets return and take the listener right out of it.
Comprised of many wonderful moments, Heterogeneous Cell Information works on the whole. However, there are some sounds that are a bit on the goofy side, and can detract from the overall enjoyment. But, to each his own, and that may not be a bother. All in all, though, this newest from Hans Castrup is a very solid listen.Paul Casey