Catalog Number: PM19
Release Date: Nov 2nd, 2023
Formats: Cassette, Digital
The concept behind Shapes (for a Name) began with the end of Grenzler’s previous album on Puremagnetik, Less (2021). That explored the artists’ thinking about the visual arts, including the paintings of Giorgio Morandi, and captured in sound what Grenzler described as the “architecture in my mind, an environment to shape.” Shapes, then, is both a conceptual and literal further step in his thinking.
“I can't remember what might have triggered my fascination with the Bauhaus,” Grenzler says about the new album.”It could be a piece of furniture, a painting.” He describes his initial recordings as disappointing, but later travels to Weimar and research in his home city of Zurich rekindled questions about the movement across all its multiple manifestations. Grenzler specifically searched for Bauhaus ideas in music, hoping to “discover a possible formula that would mathematically give me a foundation.” But Bauhaus never produced fruitful musical styles, so instead Grenzler had to use Bauhaus principles to construct his own path.
Those principles, which include no distinction between art and craftsmanship, minimalism, intelligent use of resources, and the famous “form follows function,” can be used, in true Bauhaus fashion, in all creative fields, and through them, Grenzler created Shapes. He hears the tracks as “a narrative” of Bauhaus’ “interdisciplinary approach.” The first track, “Gestus,” has the sound of someone physically working with tools like cables and cords and knobs, channeling voltage into new and useful shapes.
That track introduces the whole, which has a beginning and end with two “Ebenen” (“levels” in the sense of multiple layers) tracks, with Grenzler placing simple, tactile materials on top of each other, loops in one case, shimmering triads in another. Grenzler used sound objects, in a sense, audio materials derived from “water, wood, glass, concrete and steel ... crackling of records, carefully sampled in analogue form.” The album is palpable, not just the cassette tape in hand but the sound itself.
“Bauhaus, for me, is an experimental construction kit” for music, Grenzler concludes. It all goes back to principles, material and ultimately social and political: using good materials with skill to make useful things that can enhance everyone’s lives is a modernist and populist project that, as Grenzler points out, both opposed and survived Nazism. Shapes is a testament to Bauhaus values, how wielding them can create lovely, immersive, evocative music, an avant-garde for everyone.
All tracks by An Moku
Mastered by Taylor Deupree at 12k
Artwork by John Whitlock