The Soft Bit by Jana Irmert

Release date: June 18, 2021
Label: Fabrique Records

What would happen if you combine field recordings, voice samples, and synthesizer sounds? The result, you go deeper into a darker landscape. And it all comes down to the sonic world of Jana Irmert. A composer and a sound artist from Berlin, Irmert has not only had two albums released along with an EP, but taking a whole new approach of the outer limits with her latest release The Soft Bit.

Released on the Fabrique Records label, The Soft Bit is a surreal nightmarish world that goes through the visions of bad dreams brought to life. Jana not only is envisioning the filmmaking minds of Andrei Tarkovsky, Werner Herzog, David Lynch, and Stanley Kubrick, but following the legacies of Klaus Schulze, Faust, Ash Ra Tempel and the Zeit-era of Tangerine Dream.

 

In the words of Faust’s own Jean-Hervé Péron from Andy Wilson’s 2006 book about the band, Jean describes not just the band, but the description I believe on the Krautrock genre, “When the Germans do something, they don’t fuck around.” For Jana, she has thrown the rule book into the fire showing that she can do whatever she wants by not giving up on five enduring centerpieces.

‘Lament’ has both heavier droning and mournful organ work featuring some cello parts. Like a nod to an alternate score to the climatic finale to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1970 surreal Western classic El Topo, Jana has some of these alarming locations by giving us a view of this ship that has been frozen in time since 1892. Not only has it become a ghost ship, but remains haunted for many, many years.

And it is something Florian Fricke would’ve been thrilled to see Jana following in his footsteps. Speaking of footsteps, in ‘Against Light’ we are walking across the rocky sidewalks with a static sound as the synths raising up and down by signaling us a sign with these Morse Code-like sounds sending us help throughout the futuristic wastelands.

Both the title-track and ‘Without Thought’, feel like something straight out of an intense scene from Tobe Hooper’s 1974 Horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Jana takes the listener inside Leatherface’s territory in hottest part of the lone star state as we are ask ourselves, who is this creature? What is he hiding? Did he had a traumatic childhood and why is he going on a killing frenzy?

The temperature levels go up for her to add more fuel to the fires for the waves to crash before the sound goes into a surreal area channeling Aphrodite’s Child’s 666 as if it was re-arranged by composer Pierre Henry. ‘Underneath’ takes us into these dark watery caves as the vocalizing symptoms of the spiritual ghosts fill the album with booming heartbeats by entering into Popol Vuh’s world of Aguirre: The Wrath of God as if it was conducted by György Ligeti.

The Soft Bit is quite a challenging release from Jana Irmert. Whether you get it or you don’t, Jana always takes the listener beyond time and space with a neo-noir futuristic twist. And once you play this, it not only it becomes heavier, brutal, and twisted, but Irmert herself has spread her wings even more to fly.

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