n the sonic maelstrom that frequently accompanies many recordings on IDM labels, Flim comes as a welcome surprise. The simplicity of a simple piano line, matched up with a harmony seems almost archaic- too simple perhaps. Add some simple sound effects and it’s a recipe for disaster- that is if the elements don’t work well together. Fortunately, in Flim’s case, all of the elements presented in each song play off one another beautifully.
On “This Is A Lush Life”, Enrico Wuttke, the man behind Flim, comes closest to an artificial conglomeration of elements. It seems as if the piano melody and the sampled voice have no connection with one another. The bassline seems detached, when it enters into the fray, as well. This distance between elements, however, is only found on a few tracks. The majority of the songs on the album blend each element into a full, organic, and integrated whole. It is this organic quality that separates Flim from his obvious contemporary, Wechsel Garland. It seems as though Garland is channeling the spirit of the collages of Kurt Schwitters, where all of the daily elements of Schwitter’s life would go onto the canvas, creating a hodgepodge that only made complete sense to the artist himself. Flim, on the other hand, channels something closer to Mark Rothko, where the colors will run into each other, and if you look long enough and hard enough a visible tension and blending of the colors will emerge.
Where Garland sometimes strays into a very tension filled environment because of the sounds that he chooses in his songs, Wuttke instead creates tension between acoustic and electronic. At times, most notably on “Plural”, Wuttke juxtaposes the software capabilities of making noise and digital grains of noise against the almost innocent sound of the grand piano. It evokes an image of a stage with a maniacal laptop musician on end, while a calm and collected piano player plays softly on the other side.
On “Am Rande Gesehen” (German for “seen at the edge”), the organic quality of Wuttke’s compositions is heard most prominently. A simple rotating melodic line from one synthesizer melts into a repeating figure from an acoustic sounding piano. The two contrast with each other until the bassline enters into the song, providing a bed of sound for the melody to change and eventually mutate into a completely different sounding piece.
Wuttke, it seems, obviously knows how to use his software to create the sounds that he wants. On each song there is a, seemingly, out of place sound among the acoustic piano and synthesizers. Despite the presence of such incongruous effects, Wuttke chooses to focus the attention upon melody and repetition. Far from being Eno’s definition of ambient music, Flim’s Given You Nothing creates a tense environment, in which careful listening is paid off- and highly recommended.