Mutationsklub is the kind of event at which this city once excelled, unclassifiable, surprising and experimental and at the same time not remotely elitist. The brainchild of Daniel Berwanger, Thomas Mahmoud and Gerald Mandl, the diverse fare presented here included Installations by Filigrakri , Anja Kerschkewicz, Florian Kühnle and Jana Debrodt, scratched pseudo structuralist flicker films from Markus Wambsgans (Kaliber 16) and Zuckerzeit (Xaxapoya) as well as DJ sets from The Bareback Show (Phon.O & Example) and Tannhäuser Sterben & Das Tod.
Headlining this motley selection of “out there” attractions are Ives 1 an avante-weird supergroup consisting of Michael Wertmüller (the classically trained multi-instrumentalist formerly of swiss free metalers Alboth) on drums, Marino Pliakas (Steamboat) bass, Gerd Rische, laptop and Thomas Mahmoud (Von Spar and Oliver Twist Konspiracy), screaming and electronics.
Perhaps I have lived a sheltered life by it is hard to imagine a more uncompromising and extreme noise than that made by this quartet. Rische, looking like a venerable French existensialist writer, opened proceedings by eliciting harsh bursts of music concréte and jagged samples from his laptop. Arcade game gunfire briefly threatened to coalesce into a beat, something resembling the drill and bass expirements of early Uziq or Atari Teenage Riot in a particularly bad mood but as soon as any kind of pattern began to emerge it tripped itself up and devolved into squalls of feedback and huge crunching slabs of dissonance. Intensely percussive but deeply averse to repetition.
Wertmüller listened appreciatively from behind a modest and battered looking kit which consisted of not much more than a kick-drum, snare, small cymbal and an enormous bass drum mounted liked an orchestral timpani. Frequently consulting a score and a laptop he pounded out a fiendishly complex polyrythms and stopped dead. Mahmoud popped up from behind a precariously stacked pile of stage blocks, atop which were perched various advanced looking mixers and squawk boxes and began to squeal like an animal in pain tweaking and scratching the sound, applying an odd touch of reverb here and there before screaming like a patient undergoing ECT.
Pliakas, also working from a score, contributed some superfast bass riffs but his stage monitor appeared to be malfunctioning and the sound seemed way down in the mix. Wertmüller pointed an accusatory drumstick at Mahmoud whose screeching was instantly replaced with more of Rische’s digital terror tactics.
This pattern repeated itself in various combinations throughout the duration of their sixty minute set but around the half way mark it became apparent that a large part of the audience had taken shelter in the relative safety of the bar, while those that remained struggled to know when applause was appropriate as the sonic onslaught unfolded in a sclerotic stop start fashion. Curiously give the extraordinary violence of the sound the performance remained relatively dispassionate with only Mahmoud showing any signs of wear and tear at the end of their set.