Severino Pfifferling – Müsik fur Spülmaschine und Synthesizer

10.16.19 by Ryan Masteller

Strategic Tape Reserve is definitely one of the most interesting tape labels out there at the moment. They did that tape that sampled Sean Hannity and Avril Levigne, the Norwegian walking compilation, the Welsh “Da Vinci Code” thingy, and quite recently the collection of music for (literally) tiny supermarkets. Talk about forward-thinking vision: whatever nutjob is responsible for curating the label’s releases (and we know who it is, we’re just protecting their identity for … well, no reason really) is certainly not hesitant about going all in on the latest avant-garde oddity. 

Take Severino Pfifferling’s new tape for instance. Unfortunately not a household name (yet), Pfifflerling had the utterly mad idea to use a common household dishwasher (Spülmaschine) as the rhythmic source of his new work, appropriately titled “Müsik fur Spülmaschine und Synthesizer.” (Don’t worry, I can read German – you can trust me that the title is appropriate.) Of course it’s not as simple as all this – Pfifferling ensures that we realize that the modern dishwasher was developed by William Howard Livens, “a British engineer best known for greatly improving the efficiency of chemical weapons used in the First and Second World Wars.” Just in case you wanted to feel bad about something ELSE besides everything in the world, you can now feel bad that your dishwasher was invented by a monster. Mine is a Bosch.

So Pfefferling has composed an entire suite around the Spülmaschine, using it as a jumping-off point to explore the emptiness of modern convenience, focusing on its utilitarian function and juxtaposing it against the phantom necessity of it in our lives, like it’s a thing that we can’t really live without anymore (god forbid we wash our dishes by hand!). And it’s with all this in mind, we can embrace what Pfefferling has in store for us, and it’s a harrowing ride. Rife with existential angst, “Müsik fur Spülmaschine und Synthesizer” is not an easy journey from point A to point B; instead, it bores into your psyche as it goes, the synthesizer puncturing your mind as the swish swish or the clunk clunk or even the random finishing beeps of the Spülmaschine constantly remind you of its presence. 

And yet it melds seamlessly, flawlessly.

Despite the fact that you’re constantly hammered about the noggin that this is a recording of synthesizer and Spülmaschine, it becomes its own entity not long into it. And while you can’t completely forget the source, the result is far more fascinating than simple field recordings of kitchen appliances would be. In fact, it’s downright vexing once you take the whole narrative into consideration.

There are 22 of these available for consumption as of RIGHT NOW. Go forth wisely unto yonder Bandcamp link.