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FM Einheit - Exhibition Of A Dream

Exhibition Of A Dream (L'exposition D'un Rêve) was created by FM Einheit and consists of twelve dreams interpreted as songs. It formed part of an exhibition curated by Mathieu Copeland. FM Einheit composed songs from their dreams which were recorded in the buildings, amphitheatres and gardens of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in 2017; and later produced and mixed by FM Einheit in Steinschlag Studio, Germany.

I'll leave it to the press release to describe: Exhibition Of A Dream (L'exposition D'un Rêve) is formed of twelve dreams interpreted as songs. Exploded in time, these are played as temporary and evolving patterns of shapes and forms in an otherwise empty gallery following the drawings of mandalas. Exhibition Of A Dream highlights the complex beauty of how to generate a dream in the mind of the spectator. A shared experience to be lived within our own personal inner space, these remastered dreams are an invitation to listen to a sensitive architecture of words and music.

The dream catchers featured an array of artists, musicians, filmmakers and poets including Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lee Ranaldo, Émilie Pitoiset, Susan Stenger, Susie Green, David Link, Pierre Paulin, Alexandre Estrela, Tim Etchells, Gabriel Abrantes, FM Einheit, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.

I was expecting ambient electronics and voice, but boy was I wrong, the scope of the album is made apparent in the first three tracks which range from tropical location recordings and jazz sequences through to shimmering guitars and abstract patterns filled with dreamy choir arrangements. The dreams featured on Exhibition Of A Dream are embellished and performed by FM Einheit (stones, springs, score) together with a group featuring Volker Kampb (bass, brass), Saskia von Klitzing (drums), Susan Stenger (flute, bass) and Robert Poss (guitar) resulting in some jazz tinged and experimental passages amidst the electronics, textures, location recordings and choir arrangements. The collection of dream catchers text is narrated by Lee Ranaldo, Émilie Pitoiset, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Susan Stenger, and Erika Stucky, with the other remaining dreams interpreted as instrumental compositions.

Exhibition Of A Dream opens with 'Memory', and it's like setting foot into a peaceful and meditative space with its chirping tropical birds. FM Einheit's intones the text of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Bangkok based dream involving architects, doctors and old people doing a type of yoga as it flits between the location recordings, wafting flutes and passages of swinging jazz. It's followed by 'Alpine Traum', a dream captured by Sonic Youth founding member Lee Ranaldo who delivers his vivid prose daubed in twilight colours and populated by opulent landscapes over shimmering guitars and busy vibrant drum rhythms. 'Alpine Traum' is possibly the most ebullient of the tracks here. Unfortunately the meaning of Émilie Pitoiset's 'Le Baiser Du Supion' is beyond my comprehension, as it is spoken in French, but shrouded in pumping abstract sounds, accompanied by the graceful massed voice of the Gulbenkian Choir, it is especially atmospheric and dreamy.

Exhibition Of A Dream sinks into more shadowy realms, as dreams do, with Susan Stenger's unsettling 'Dark Dream (In D)'. Unwinding from rippling and revving droning ambience into silence before returning in churning harsher squalls, attaining a wriggling sluggish momentum pierced with queasy distorted buzzing. A dark dream of nightmarish proportions interspersed with stark, death, demon and delirious laden imagery from the former Band of Susans' member's text.

'Death Progression', meanwhile, provides something more sordid and it is something of a delight. Erika Stucky is in undoubtedly in her element, vividly recounting sexual encounters and acts involving the passengers on a train journey from Charing Cross, in a playful vocal partly sung and spoken over flickering tones, subtle bass pulses and wonderful jazz rhythms. This couldn't even be considered a wet dream, this is orgiastic and lurid. Commuter journeys, it seems, have never been so much fun. 'The Seven-Year Dream' which follows also features Erika Stucky and could be considered a continuation of the previous track, except for the fact this is much darker. FM Einheit opens this one and reappears towards the end in a vocal refrain on this death march carried by drums rolls, airy choir vocals and brass parps with words that appears almost random generated. 'FFW' might be an acronym for fast forward but it creeps onwards from location recordings of frolicking kids into ringing electronics and slow drawn out orchestrations and curt crashing drum rolls, swelling subtlety to a cinematic crescendo. There's a tension that remains unfulfilled, a feeling something is lurking just beyond but what it is we never find out; that's left to the listener to imagine.

The second disc is less vocal focussed, opening with three instrumental interpretations. The chugging, shuffling electronics, running bass tones and expressive feedback guitar mannerisms of 'Dream, 17 February 2017' is akin to a somnambulant chase sequence, gushing onwards in a frenzy of quickened jazz rhythms and tinkering piano notes, punctuated by haunting choir atmospherics. 'The Dungeon', meanwhile, is more akin to a hyper anxiety, feverish dream setting whirring processed manipulations and industrialised textures sounds over drone and location recordings, building with expressive drums and atmospheric sounds from the group into something more cinematic and urgent with a sound littered with orchestral strings and FM Einheit's scattered stone and gravel textures and power tool industrial sound techniques which are most apparent on this track.

The percussive rhythms and textures and disembodied chatter of 'Un Sognio Tessuto In Tapeto' is something of a magic carpet ride, leading onto Susie Green's soothing and sensual 'Joyful Pleasure'. This is quite an expansive track drifting from gushing windswept ambience through a passage of loose percussive and textured atmospherics and into a final section of the slow, evocative massed choir underpinned by bass tones and expressive rhythms, as processed voice repeatedly utters "the mind, the inner of the mind".

The final track 'Creation Re/Created' featuring the voice of the late Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is perhaps the key track on Exhibition Of A Dream. In measured and soothing tones, basking in a subdued backdrop of arching textures and bass tones s/he lays out an expansive tract vividly describing a dream reality, almost explaining the workings of the universe in matter, liquids, solids and energy. As the score swells into sequences of parp and chime it also becomes quite revealing and one followers of P-Orridge should hear, as it seems like s/he's recalling an an out of body experience which references Coum and visions of lifeforms and a blacker-than-black nothingness attained in this account unveiling the tenets of supra-consciousness, which s/he terms: cosmic organicism of the universal molecular.

Exhibition Of A Dream was originally released as a triple LP set, and only ever available at the exhibition at the Foundation. Reissued by Cold Spring as a double CD set in a foldout digipak it gives the listener another opportunity to experience the audio created and composed during the exhibition. FM Einheit and all the contributors have created a deeply affecting piece of work in words and music. Vivid, varied and intoxicating; it's a remarkable album where dreams become shared experiences, additionally allowing the listener to generate their own mental images and interpretations. Great stuff. Exhibition Of A Dream is available digitally from Cold Spring Bandcamp and on CD from Cold Spring