Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Fragment Factory

I have spent a pleasant while listening to three of the latest releases from Hamburg (Germany) based label Fragment Factory. The label is operated by a chap called Michael Muennich who also records and releases under the name of Muennich. FRAG 18 is a C22 cassette by Muennich called "Rugged", and of the three releases is certainly the strongest and my favourite.
Presented in a glossy monochrome sleeve with a small piece of stone stuck to the inside (?) the cassette is strangely limited to 57 copies. It certainly is a cassette of two halves with side A being both cognitive and abstract. A steady tonal drone keeps the sound glued whilst contact mic's run over stone (rugged) surfaces the introduction of radio static raises the sound to a plateau and the piece ends with dripping water on a vinyl "run-out" groove. Interesting journey. Side B contains one of the best 11 minute tracks I have heard for a long time, it is pure industrial noise in an old school style. The sound hooks in to inter-twining loops with imagery of "See-Saw" by S.P.K. or "Out Out Out" by Non with a bit of Esplendor Geometrico thrown in. Beautiful stuff making Muennich a project to discover. FRAG 19 is (apparently) a Muennich / Juppiter Castrol GTX collaboration. (Can't wait).
The Krube cassette was a slight disappointment after Muennich. A C34 cassette of audio performance art action. Too abstract for me. R&G, Schimpfluch type sounds. Limited to 63 copies.
Michael Esposito and Kevin Drumm are both new names to me. (OK, I've heard of Kevin Drumm but I own none of his output). Michael is a film-maker and researcher in to EVP. Electronic Voice Phenomena, the recording of (dead) static or stray radio waves. Interesting stuff first brought to my awareness through reading about the works of Konstantins Raudive many years ago. I think Dave Uden had a flexi disc that came with some magazine in the 1970's that had EVP recordings on it....sampled to death of course! Anyway, back to the vinyl. The EP is called "The Icy Echoer" FRAG 16. Esposito and Drumm are both Chicago based and the recordings on this EP are manipulations of EVP recordings made in a local Illinois cemetery. The single is highly listenable and both sides end on tracks that sound like The Haters. Good stuff. Beautifully sleeved and on crystal clear vinyl and limited to 300 copies. Essential. (I have hurry)!!

Fragment Factory (like fellow German label Licht Und Stahl) is building a catalogue of great sounds that needs investigation and support. Contact Michael at

1: Fragment Factory Logo.
2: Muennich Sleeve.
3: Krube Sleeve.
4: Michael Esposito & Kevin Drumm Sleeve.

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