If it was Kraftwerk who reconstructed a sense of German identity through music and expounded the idea of an electronic folk then listening to AGF’s Beatnadel may unsettle the triumphant nature of this movement. Finnish based German experimental artist Antye Greie wields a quote of influential psychologist Noam Chomsky , in ‘Lingu-Tik’, as a warning in regards to German artistic and economic triumph. It reflects towards the 20′s and 30′s in Germany but seems quite pointed as a comment on the current state of affairs in Europe. Certainly if you take this thread of an idea and think that the album is post-club, or post-rave/techno and consider that the beginnings of this movement at least in German have been dominant and influential popular movements. AGF moves from the folk electronic forms towards sculptural electronic expressions that encompass poetic and political ideas and moves towards an artistic expression that is more cognitive than it is a product for the excitation of the senses. So expect not electronic body music but glitched out mix of strategic use of voice and electronics aiming for an overall poetic effect.
Opening track ‘Sedativ’ brings you into the frame, throwing numerous words that distill concepts into there utterances made distinct by the music that acts as space between the words, or even sound carrier of sonic form of thought, at a longer stretch ‘tontraeger fuer synapsen massage’. Title track ‘Beatnadel’ concentrates on the sonic patterns, on repetitions, vocal sounds as beats, disjunctive beat patterns and flutter and glitch as the filling of the scape. ‘Stoerung’ is more of a piece of experimentation on vocal possibilities combined with advanced technological modes. ‘Extimacy’ on the boundaries of the private and the public, on the sharing of experiences or thoughts usually considered private. You can only imagine in the networked world that this idea can be foregrounded, in as much as it can in all people who seek to express in a public manner. ‘No more the better, less is more‘ encapsulates the well founded concept of minimalism, of the paring down of ideas into the basic expression and essential frame to express a wider or richer sense. There are numerous tracks that explore aspects of experimental beat construction of a high order yet the standout tracks are the ones that explore voice, poetry and concepts. Two noteworthy tracks are ‘Restless Heart’ which talks of the heart as a muscle, trainable and avoids a sentimental view while contrasting it with ambient bright melodics at the most delicate on the album; the album closes with ‘My Delay’ which is as close as you can get to a sonic romantic statement, for it is clearly aimed at her long term relationship with Vladislav Delay. It encapsulates the emphasis of this album, the personal as political and the possibility of poetic expression as a way of life, breaking the boundaries between the personal and the public. The question may be whether there really are any boundaries here or just arbitrated borders.