Liziuz Geschichten des Lebens

[Hospital; 2018]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: MMMD, BBS, BBE, Drew McDowall, Bohren and Der Club of Gore, “Do You Know How to Waltz”, Carter Tutti Void
Others: techno, ambient, drone, cold november rain

Engaging with desolation should be a laughably quaint notion by now. Especially when one sees that the pursuit has competing interests, all compelled to represent this established aesthetic as innate to who they are. The recluse, with their tendency to beat the world to the punch, has no reason to share the fruits of their isolation unless they want to trade that rep in. Nonetheless, there are far more doom-intoning artisans than there is an audience for their wares. And much of it is increasingly impeccably rendered, leaving our critical superlatives looking hopelessly foolhardy.

Like landscaping, ambient world-building is a somewhat artistic field, but it’s also restricted by pre-existing standards of the market. But with careful and passionate effort, a commercial property can become a sacred space. Geschichten des Lebens, Liziuz’s Hospital Productions debut, is a grand opening claim (especially after a daunting, clear-a-day-for-this proposition from the label head’s main project) to that space. While it’s a bleak one, full of thick, impenetrable haze, it’s also imperceptibly grafted with delicate swathes of melodic beauty. The trilling melodies are not particularly distinct, but their absorption is so seamless that the mix elevates them without needing to subvert their tried-and-true effect.

The slab-of-album approach isn’t the only thing in common with New Zealand improv trio The Necks. Both have the ability to make you feel and then feel yourself feeling and back again, patiently dissolving a preference but somehow stopping you short of ambivalence. They stop time, find purpose in awe. Wade through perpetual scarcity, savoring what’s enough. A sort of solemn scavenging. Not only a friend to the unhurried but a strong case to the perpetually distracted.

Being that is first blush for Liziuz, it’s tempting to call shenanigans on the notion of these being two versions of the same 50-plus-minute piece. And not just because comparing the two is like diving down and swimming up to figure out the dimensional distinctions of two ocean liners. Far as we know, this is not two remixes of a tune from a proper 777-disc debut or something. And there are examples of techno, ambient, and then some on both tracks.

The one constant is a (lower fidelity, but similarly tactile) Plastikman-like reduction sauce of ratcheted pulses, here tinged with an organic human vulnerability through sneaky visitations of rudimentary acoustic instrumentation — nowhere near distinctive enough to recognize as one moves from “Interaction” to “Transformation.” If it weren’t for the requirements of physical release (check that snazzy double disc set!), the separation would seem obligatorily ceremonial.

But that’s what this is. All of it. Ceremony. Tradition. Aesthetics. One more push for significance and a proof positive product. But everything that’s a potential draw about Geschichten des Lebens is what makes our absurd, slog-along human industry so essential. It is a perpetual, centrifugal, whisk-away affair, without fail. It is the adventurer bird dipping into factories, raves, airports, mopey post-rock shows. Feeling and not feeling, then flitting elsewhere. Grace is elusive, but then so is the exit. We feel the press and press in answer. Up for “up for anything.” Fear, an everlovin’, fate-dragging constant. Still we wear the day — go.

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