Christopher Hess’ Strotter Inst. is a hybrid project that plays between the realms of visual and sound arts. The sounds from this CD are produced by installations Hess builds out of five manipulated Lenco turntables that he has deconstructed in a variety of ways. Photo documentation of his gallery installations reveal turntables with styluses replaced with sewing needles, tone arms limited by rubber bands, and records (when they are used at all) heavily covered in tape.
The resulting sounds, as found on Minenhund, are stark and powerful evocations of industrial stasis. Since a large portion of the sound material comes from the manipulated turntables themselves, rather than from any sampling, the music highlights the mechanical processes—and their disruption—behind the playback of recorded music. The strange rhythms and loops that result have a rotational propulsion that creates a fascinating, dark energy that is heightened when the occasional vocal sound-sample is included.
Although you can imagine what it might be like to be in the presence of one of Hess’ installations, the sonic architecture of Minenhund moves well beyond simple documentation. It is an engrossing artwork in its own right, well detached from the gallery setting in which the sounds were initially created.