Von Einem – The Von Einem Tapes 2xCD Index Clean 2016
Von Einem is the solo experimental noise-industrial project of Australian Mark Groves, who is also associated with other underground projects Absoluten Calfeutrail, Dead Boomers and the label Sabbatical. For this double CD it collects together material released on 7 tapes issued between 2011 and 2014.
To firstly make mention of the project moniker, this would appear to be integral to a large part of the thematic content. As such ‘Von Einem’ is in reference to Bevan Spencer Von Einem who was the only individual to be convicted in association with the ‘The Family’ murders: a notorious case in Adelaide Australia where a secretive group of men were involved in the kidnapping, drugging, sexual abuse and murder of five young men and teenage boys during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. This theme is picked up within the descriptive (yet fragmentary) style of lyrics, which make reference to various details of ‘The Family’ case, as well to other infamous Australian crimes such as the ‘Snowtown Murders’. Of note, where lyrics are used they are presented via means of processed spoken vocals which recite various crime incidence details, psychological profile analysis, or the general context in which the events took place, but are delivered in an clinical and unemotional way to give the feel of being a passive observer (…or that of an impartial documentary narrator).
Over 2 hours of music is presented across the 2 discs, where the rather diverse material charts predominantly subdued industrial-noise soundscapes, but also draws in elements of ominous drone, rhythmically stilted heavy electronics styled programming and moments of harsher static, piercing feedback and junk metal rumble. Track lengths vary from quite short vignettes (of a couple of minutes each), through to the longest track at 12 minutes: yet the greater majority sit between 4-6 minutes each. As such the general order of proceedings involves a display of the wide range of ways in which pieces consisting of tensile industrial churn, clinical noise reverberations and processed apathetic spoken vocals can be approached. Tracks ‘Dirties’ and ‘Black Moods’ feature a similar style and are particular standouts, consisting of low thudding programmed beats and cyclic synth drones. Another two tracks on the second disc equally stand out via their divergence of approach: ‘Twice in the Head’ with its distant atonal piano tune and ‘Forged Cheques’ with it moody orchestral strings sample: where these elements are set against crumbling industrial drones, higher pitch squeals and dour vocals. The instrumental ‘Scripted Phrases’ displays further variety through its distant windswept drone and fractured rhythmic framework; as does ‘Disturbed then Refilled’ with a thick heavy electronics styled throb, mid toned invasive sustained squeal and heavily treated voice.
Although tonally being very much of an underground experimental noise-industrial type, its approach is such that ‘The Von Einem Tapes’ does not typically sound like any obvious comparisons, which is a definite positive (…the Australian accent inflected vocals further assists in setting the material apart). Thus with its mood being categorized by a general detachment and clinical analysis of crimes of a sadistic nature, this is reflected in the cold and bleak style of the music. Likewise despite the material has been assembled from 7 different releases, it does not sound like a disjointed compilation of incongruent material. 6 panel foldout card cover (adorned with imagery associated with the album’s thematic preoccupations), rounds out a strong release in term of is visuals, sound and theme. If you have not paid attention to Von Einem before (myself included), this release would be the perfect place to start by providing an immediate overview of the entirety of their output to date.