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May 082010

The Day Before Chaos

It was Friday April 30th in Nashville, Tennessee.  Swiss experimental turntablist Christoph Hess (better known as Strotter Inst.), his girlfriend Patricia, and I were sitting on my porch, drinking, talking, and enjoying the unusually good weather.  Christoph and Patricia were staying at my house after playing an incredible set at underground art venue Open Lot.  They’re currently touring the U.S., avoiding interstates, and playing shows on the way.  They planned to see a bit of Nashville on Saturday and then make way for either Gatlinburg or Chattanooga.

And then it started raining.

If you watch the news, you probably can guess the rest of the story.  The 100 year flood came to Nashville, immobilizing my Swiss guests.  We ended up staying indoors the whole weekend, subsisting on canned veggies, beer, Twitter/TV flood updates, and Netflix Watch instantly.  By Monday morning, Opryland Hotel/Opry Mills was a Grizzly River Rampage, and half the city was underwater.  Christoph and Patricia left for Chattanooga, and I went back to work.  The circumstances of our meeting were not exactly ideal, but despite the tragedy I gained two new friends.

Strotter Inst. takes record players and replaces their needles with sewing needles, pieces of sheet metal, and more.  He places surfaces of various texture (such as fabric and scotch tape) on the record player pad and lets the modified needles drag over.  He’ll also stretch rubber bands just above the surface of the player and rest a needle-less arm on top of the rubber band.  He’ll then rest pie-shaped pieces of broken records on the player.  The pieces have little raised bits that hit the rubber band when they pass it.  The record arm then acts as a pickup and records the ensuing sounds.  Instant analog loops.  Coolest thing you’ve ever heard of right?  Wait until you really hear it:

On this episode, you’ll hear Strotter Inst. live at Open Lot the day before the flood and the conversation we had on my porch afterwards.  Listen via stream or download using the link below.  Subscribe via iTunes.  If you like our show, please take a moment to share this article via Facebook/Twitter/Etc using the ShareThis icon below.  Better yet, leave us a review on iTunes.  Enjoy.

More about Strotter Inst: Our and Nashville Cream‘s preview of the Open Lot performance.  Rare Frequency’s excellent interviewStrotter Inst. Myspace.

Mentioned in this episode:Christoph’s other two bands: Herpes Ö Deluxe and Sum of R.

Other things we talked about but didn’t make the recording: Tennessee’s cultural mecca Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge See Rock City! The beauty of Bern, Switzerland.   Switzerland’s Minaret ban. Norwegian experimental vocalist Maja Ratkje.  Swiss post-industrial band Young Gods.  Swiss electronica band Yello.  Norwegian prog-rock band Madrugada.  Berlin-based Melbourne formed indie rock band Devestations.

  • what an insane and adventurous weekend. will check out Strotter Inst!

  • Maja Ratkje is awesome, btw. You know how much I dig experimental vocal stuff. I first heard her via “Call Me,” a recording of a live radio show set… it’s seriously bonkers stuff– I recommend it!

  • Anderson

    This is too sick. I’m sorry I missed his performance.