Xerox Exotique #083: Ak’chamel – Wirecutter – 11.11.23

Ak’chamel are a mysterious duo from Texas who call out some seriously weird ritualistic cult jams by way of midnight smoke chants, speaking in tongues while plinking away on a broken spike fiddle, pounding a ratty drum, and droning on whatever noisemaker they can find.” -Anti Gravity Bunny
…over the past decade they have produced over a dozen cassettes, VHS films and vinyl LP’s (such as the critically acclaimed “The Totemist”). They perform in full homemade costumes with an array of half-broken indigenous or self-built instruments.

Wirecutter – „Little Faith“
The intimate relationship between walls and music is as old as music-making itself. Music, as the
Bible tells us, can make walls collapse; but as bands like Sonic Youth, Melvins, Sunn o))), or Zu
demonstrate, it can also build them up. “Little Faith,” the debut album from the Berlin-based duo
Wirecutter, belongs to the latter camp: Michael Hoppe and Sidney Werner’s walls of sound stand so
tall and strong that they themselves can’t even surmount them.
As Werner describes the music: ”Extremely slow, extremely loud, extremely ornate, and extremely
minimalist!” Practically everything else is self-explanatory. “Extremely massive” might come to
mind as well, when, during the first track “Built to Break,” the the bass, drums and synthesizers
hurtle relentlessly forward—and right when you’ve started to keep pace with the sound, Werner and
Hoppe turn it up a notch.
Improvisation was key to recording “Little Faith.” Guided by nerve and intuition, both musicians
left behind their primary instruments for less-familiar ones: Hoppe, trained as a pianist, played
drums, while Werner, a bassist, opted for a home-made instrument he calls the Diddley Bow. They
recorded during Lockdown, when a huge amount of pent-up energy—emotional, social, and
musical—had to be released. “It felt very freeing to just play music without any underlying idea,”
says Werner. “That way, everything developed very organically. Nothing had to be discussed or
planned ahead, because we not only have similar values in terms of the music we like, but also why
we like it.”
A person can either lose or find herself in open improvisation. In “Little Faith,” Werner and Hoppe
embark on a deliberate search for something. The tracks are indeed opulent, but never aimless.
Sifting through the material after recording, the two cut it apart, pasted it back together, and
recorded brutal synths over the patchwork until certain sounds and structures began to naturally
A wall is always a wall. But let your eyes rest on it a while, and you will start to notice the cracks
and seams, the texture, the sediment. The same is true of “Little Faith”: at first, the album seems
like a coarse block of blacks and grays. But listen further, and new colors will emerge. Time and
again throughout the project, the duo acquired new perspectives and priorities. As Hoppe stresses:
“The music is not just confrontational. It shouldn’t be understood as an attack on the ear. But the
underlying aggression can be seen as a statement on political, social and musical conditions.
Through repetition of certain themes or motifs, the music develops a narrative quality.”
Above all, Wirecutter makes music devoid of fear. They do not believe in a certain way of doing
things; they aspire to exclude nothing, to allow anything, to ask for a high degree of openness from
the listener, and to reach, dispassionately, across time—an aesthetic Hoppe aptly describes as
Retrofuturism. “This album is looking backwards in a futuristic sense, leading us to the non-existent
source of the music we listen to today. Through it, we enter a parallel reality where we can reinvent
ourselves. As Björk said: We have to invent our own roots.” (Wolf Kampmann)

11.11.2023, Einlass ab 20:00, beginnt ca. 20:30
Eintritt 8 Euro
INM – Institut für Neue Medien, Schmickstraße 18, 60314 Frankfurt am Main
Der Eingang ist auf der rechten Seite des Gebäudes, dann die Treppen bis zum obersten Stock laufen.

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