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FREISTIL

Hey Translators – Pendler (EMG)

 

Funktionieren Pendler auf Tonträger?

Ihre Präzisions-Performance-Auftritte sind, waren und bleiben sensationell, die Videos prägen sich lange in die Hirnrinde. Aber um auf meine Frage zurückzukommen: Ja, und wie das funktioniert.

Das geniale Trio umschifft auf Hey Translators, seinem dritten Album, die Fallschlingen der musikalischen Schubladisierung. Beschwipster Barfolksong trifft auf Art-Pop trifft auf Elektro-Chanson trifft auf Reduktion. Oft fast rüpelhaft gerumpelt, fassen sie sich wieder, repetieren, schwelgen, strahlen und sind prächtig.

Pendler ist wahrscheinlich eine der spannendsten Popbands des Landes Ö, die aber nicht von Festival zu Festival gereicht werden. Weil ihre Musik nämlich Zuhören bedingt. Wenn die Grandezza dieses Meisterwerks erfasst werden will, dann muss zugehört werden. Sitzen, hören, schreien vor Freude.

Und dann schreiben sie ja auch noch gleich einen Country Song, nennen ihn gleich auch so, fahren damit eher nicht nach Nashville, schaffen es aber in diesen knapp fünf Minuten, die Welt ein Stück besser zurückzulassen, als wir sie vor dem Hören dieses Songs vorgefunden haben. Meisterwerk!

(hast)

 

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FALTER

 Grundlegend anders tönen Pendler. Der US-Künstlerin Laurie Anderson nicht ganz unverwandt, setzt das Wiener Trio mit „Hey Translators“ (EMG) auf feingliedrigen Artpop, der Brüche zwar schätzt und auch gerne einmal Haken schlägt, dabei aber ein gewisses Harmoniestreben nicht unterdrücken mag.

(Gerhard Stöger)

 

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THE GAP

You come to me – Pendler (Karate Joe)

Zur Mehrdeutigkeit wachsen

Mit “You come to me” veröffentlicht das Trio Pendler einen sehr eigenständigen musikalischen Entwurf, der seine Faszination aus einem ständig gleichzeitigen /weder-noch/ und /beides/ zieht.

Regelmäßig zwischen den gleichen Orten unterwegs zu sein, bedeutet nicht nur ständig an keinem dieser Orte zu sein, sondern letztlich auch immer, an all diesen Orten gleichzeitig zu sein. Sabine Marte (feministische Video- und Performancekünstlerin, etwa bei SV Damenkraft), Markus Marte (Gitarrist, Sänger und Scapewriter) und Oliver Stotz (Ground/Lift, Le Charmant Rouge) haben dieses Album tatsächlich über einen größeren zeitlichen und räumlichen Abstand hinweg fertig gestellt.

Die oben beschriebene Frage nach der Zugehörigkeit, bezieht sich aber mindestens genau so auf musikalische Genres und Ideen, mit denen Pendler arbeiten, um daraus etwas sehr Eigenständiges und Bewusstes entstehen zu lassen. Einzelne Sounds, einzelne Instrumente, bestimmte Muster im Aufbau der Nummern – vieles davon lässt sich gesondert betrachtet vermeintlich leicht zuordnen: Post-Rock, Pop, Slow-Core, Elektronik, Lied – im Sinne von vertonter Lyrik.

Eines der Grundthemen der Platte, ist es aber solange mit bestimmten Bestandteilen zu arbeiten, dass diese von selbst neue Bedeutungen gewinnen, die ursprünglichen Intentionen und Assoziationen in Frage stellen und letztlich vieldeutig sind. Dies funktioniert auf “You come to me” sowohl auf tonaler, als auch textlicher Ebene. Die einzelnen Zeilen sind reduziert und zurückgenommen, dadurch aber nicht nur auf den Punkt gebracht und somit eventuell verallgemeinert, sondern sie werden durch ihre häufige Wiederholung aufgerissen und mit vielerlei Bedeutungsmöglichkeiten neu aufgeladen. Nur scheinbar prägnant sind auch die Songnamen, die “hintereinander gelesen, einen eigenen Subtext ergeben” so Oliver Stotz. Wer Titel wie “nonono” oder “ohohoh” lange genug wiederholt, wird nicht selten irgendwann bei “ononon” und – trotz des stummen H – “hohoho” landen. Was sich hier nach hochtrabender Theorie und einer beinahe übertriebenen Tüftelei anhören mag, ist letztlich geprägt vom Versuch auch lebensnah zu sein – emotional.

Es sind die Dinge, die uns am wichtigsten sind, die mit der Zeit mehrdeutig und vielleicht auch unsicher werden, ohne dabei an Intensität zu verlieren. Wer dort angekommen ist und dies erkennt, wird schnell bemerken, dass dies ein Zustand ist, an dem eine sehr speziellee Humorqualalität zu greifen beginnt. Genau in diesem Sinne ist dieses Debut auch extrem komisch, ohne jemals seine Ernsthaftigkeit einzubüßen. Und das nicht nur, aber besonders stark bei “schrei-ben”, einer Hommage an Donna Haraway. Live gibt es darüber hinaus Videos als Visuals, die nochmals neue Deutungen nahe legen. Schon die Platte gehört aber definitiv zu jenen Alben, an denen sich immer mehr entdecken lässt und die durch eigene Assoziationen des Hörers weiter wachsen. (8/10)

(Martin Mühl)

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CRACKED

PENDLER – you come to me

(LP/CD, Karate Joe)

In Austrian lingo a “Pendler” is a commuter, usually with a longish drive necessary between workplace and home. The metaphor of the time between steady places, of shifting between two states of mind or at least to fixed places, is a very fitting one for the music on “you come to me”. It should not be forgotten, though, that psychologically the timespan spent for commuting is an interesting mix between a steady, stable and well-known place, like the inside of a car, a train cabin and so on, and the outside world flying by, ever changing and with time also becoming familiar and well known. The border between inside and outside, the non-moving parts and the fast-moving parts of the surroundings of the traveller, never falling and always being present. Commuter have a very regulated and strict schedule in their life, especially when using public transport. They also use the time to introspect, reflect and step out of the concentrated business routine also mentally. In some ways a regular train ride is like meditation or even trance, especially early mornings and late evenings.

Where does it fit to Pendler’s music? The trio consisting of Markus Marte, Sabine Marte and Oliver Stotz have produced an intriguing, inspiring and elevating album whose eight tracks all show a basic music structure consisting of stable and fixed blocks that are put next to each other with just that slight and easy grade of difference to effect a generous flow that comes more from straightness than an abundance of ideas. These blocks are lush and rich with flavors though, but they are also very dense and condensed, even when they are laid back and relaxing. In other words, Pendler have a big ear for the state and structure of a sound than for the evolution or change dynamic of a song. So theirs is the morphological programming rather than the phylogenetic development. Which shows itself also in the musically rather simple forms in regards to chord changes, almost monotonous melodies, that they take to extreme complexity without really changing them.

Take for instance the song “Good Job”, which is a post-post-whatever enactment of Creedence Clearwater Revivals legendary “Proud Mary” (“and no, it is not a redneck – vergreen, those Fogerty-brothers had long hair and were always sissy about the injuns and such, smoking pot too and against the war in Vietnam, fucking commies”) where they take some of the lines of the lyrics and freeze them inside the dissection of a guitar sound – the guitar being the most prominent and important instrument of CCR’s bluesrock – surrounded by more sounds and drones. And where the guitar solo happens in the original, there are more experimental sounds and clashes of sounds in their re-working.

Pendler seem to be taking to this kind of working up and away from a certain inspiration. I bet if you bore into them long enough, they’ll admit to some sources or inspirations for all or at least most of their songs. “The Saints” is as close as they will get to a cover version of the old gospel classic “When the saints go marching in”, though you’d wait in vain for handclaps and a full fledged brass section to start in. What you’ll get is washes of guitar and distortion noise. “Cathy Anger” leans heavily towards the kind of stories a certain Kathy Acker liked to pen and act, even spoken by Sabine Marte in the same cool and detached style.
Musically Pendler is striking for a very original and exciting mixture of slowly moving alt.country in the way we like to attribute it to Canadian bands at the moment (Tanakh, Constellation bands, and so n, not Neil Young!) and experimental electronica, fusing the two into an unique mixture. Like a train ride most of their tracks sound like something suspended in time where you find yourself moving after all, even if only realized by finding yourself at some completely different space than before. And where does the ride lead to? Straight into the light of this on sparkling glimmer that is pure joy and usually too soon forgotten; now frozen in time to be enjoyed forever.

(Georg Cracked)

http://www.monochrom.at/cracked/

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WIRE

“Pendler` translates es “commuter”, a choice of name that seems deliberate for this Austrian trio who, according to the sleeve of ‘You Come To Me’, “recorded from scratch and generated Songs from recorded Bits and parts”. While nearly every record undergoes some kind of journey from mixing desk input to mastered, sequenced end product, Pendler’s construction of slow, droney post-rock – a music where control and arrangement are usually woven into the playing – using techniques associated more frequently with dance or pop producers, brings the distancing to the fore.

Their raw materials are the familiar set-up of sparse drums, sustained keyboard chords, chiming guitar, weighty reverb and chilly silence. Instead of moulding these into disorientating new shapes, Pendler use their Collage based songwriting to impose structure and a restless momentum upon what could have been a languorous yawn of a record.
Pendler don’t only use themselves es source material: “Good Job” recasts Creedence Clearwater Revivals “Proud Mary” es a drawled slacker manifesto that becomes drowned out by sounds of clanking industry.

Their take on “When The Saints Go Marching In” starts like Spiritualized at their most half-arsed, grows more euphoric with layers of squealing guitar and vocal harmonies, before cutting off abruptly. They end with “Schrei-Ben”, setting spoken lyrics taken from Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto to a perkily nostalgic melody and tinny beats, suggesting a wry humour and contextual mischievousness.

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Review of PENDLER’s concert at the
Festival “Konfrontationen 2007” (Nickelsdorf / A)

When I left the boiling shine outside and moseyed my way back into the cool warehouse, it was so dark inside that I completely lost my sense of perspective and could move forward only by following the barest outline of the person walking in front of me. I ended up all the way at the front of the stage where Pendler was starting up, and took a place over to the right where I could see all the video projection they had going behind and over them. Pendler is a trio: Markus Marte, Sabine Marte and Oliver Stotz; they were the only ensemble playing at the festival that I didn’t know anything about. Typical for the Konfrontationen, they blew my fucking mind.

I felt awe, peace, jealousy, gratitude and zest while watching their show. I nodded my head so much that the pumping of my blood felt like a bassline. They played covers like “Proud Mary” (which they call “Good Job”) and “When the Saints Come Marching In” (Pendlerdubbed as “The Saints”) as well as a bunch of originals, each tune with different video accompaniment. Singing only a couple of key lines from the Fogerty original – “Left a good job in the city/ working for a man all night and day” – but singing and playing them so super-slowly was totally captivating. When I say slow though, you have to slow your conception of slow down by at least half; I’m talking on-the-verge-of-somnambulance-slow. “Rollin’……….………….Rollin’………………………Rollin’”

These were standards and rock songs thinned down to their most crucial elements, and then repeated with unbreakable solemnity. Using a computer and keyboards in addition to the vocals, bass and guitar, they also added small but rich samples into the crevices of the measures: sometimes squeaky and tweaky, sometimes rumbling and muffly – but always short, exact and perfectly dropped. They expressed a deep love of pop music through an entrancing debasement of it.

A lot of the videos they use involve found footage that they edit, and a couple of them were edited so that a specific sequence of 1 or 2 seconds would repeat over and over again, with the images moving forward or backward in time in tiny increments. The way I’m describing these may be incomprehensible, so just go to pendler.klingt.org and check out some of the videos up there, keeping in mind that these are edited and nowhere like a live performance with the band in front and moving all about.

One of my favorite songs they did was an original titled “Cathy Anger.” Imagine the space where the videos were projected as a black square. Divide the square evenly into a grid of 9 blocks (no lines demarcating the grid.) Sabine stood on a milkcrate and placed herself so that her face was in the middle block of this grid. The song started with a very rhythmic keyboard plop
pa-plop
pa-doop-pa-plop
type ditty and a white light flashed and moved from one block of this grid to another. It was always flashing fast, but would stay in the same place for different lengths of time, and move in random patterns around the grid. When it was on the middle block, Sabine’s face was lit up. She didn’t change her posture or expression at all when the light was on her. It was kind of scary. She was speak-singing about cars and death. “You can kill someone with a car.” Her tone varied from flat monologue to singing monologue. “A car is a weapon and you are inside it.”

It was an intense number, but it wasn’t only strong and dark: there was some deep humor and absurdity involved with the lyrics and the chosen style of delivery. “My lawyer told me you can kill somebody with a car.” I’d call it deadpan comedy condemnation.

These folks in Pendler didn’t make a sound that wasn’t well-placed. Which is kind of amazing for a rock outfit, but made perfect sense in the context of the Konfrontationen, with its focus on top-notch improvisation. Part of what makes Pendler great is that they take rock seriously. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun, but it’s also serious, and not dismissible as just fun. Their seriousness was very European: not ironic or self-indulgent, unlike so many contemporary American musicians who think of themselves as Artists. Pendler’s attitude was “we perform, we have fun doing it, we take it seriously, and it’s art, fine fucking art.” Also strikingly un-American: there was nothing personal about who played what in this band: instruments didn’t belong to individual people, and any instrument could be played by anyone else. I loved that.

Their one release so far was recorded back in 2004 for Karate Joe, and they’ve slowed things down even more since that recording. It’s inevitable that musicians and artists who have crafted such a unique aesthetic sensibility would continue to develop after playing for three more years together, so when you get the record, which is great, keep that in mind.

I’d love to describe every moment of audio and video togetherness that emblazoned itself on my brain during this set, but that would take 70,000 more words; however, I do have to mention a certain video loop they used. A swiveling camera circled around a lush evergreen tree, matrix-style, on the side of a mountain, like it was being filmed from a hyperspeed ski-lift. This loop recurred a couple of times, and mesmerized me each time. Here’s the thing: the video editing techniques they used and the audio structures they used weren’t original – I’ve seen plenty of slowed-down film in my time and there are a bunch of bands that redo classic songs –, but the way Pendler have refined these techniques and put them altogether into one complete show is immaculate.

By Andrew Choate [unwrinkledear@killradio.org]

 

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