American, New York-based David Grubbs and German, Berlin-based Jan St. Werner are two heroes of experimental music. They first met in the mid-1990s when Grubbs was playing with Gastr del Sol and the Red Krayola and St. Werner in Mouse on Mars and Microstoria. Today Grubbs is known as a guitarist and sound artist, collaborator of Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson (in The Undewrflow trio with Rob Mazurek) among many others, scholar and writer and the head of Blue Chopsticks label. The recent work of St. Werner has prioritized installation and interventions with spatialized sound, including a number of collaborations under the name Dynamische Akustische Forschung (DAF).
«Translation from Unspecified» is the first duo work of Grubbs and St. Werner. In January 2020 Grubbs arrived at Mouse on Mars’ Berlin studio Paraverse with a guitar and the open-ended, seemingly self-generating poem suggesting artificial intelligence poem «Translation from Unspecified», which fits into the themes of St. Werner’s recent work. This spoken-word, enigmatic poem, recited slowly and steadily by Grubbs and ornamented with St. Werner’s spontaneous but unworldly and extrovert electronic sound makes the title track. Slowly and patiently, this seemingly meaningless recitation and chaotic sonic texture begin to gain more meaningful nuances, in sounds and words.
The second piece «Soixante Ooze» is a live-in-the-studio, dreamscape improvisation of Grubbs’ electric guitar and vocals and St. Werner’s laptop. Grubbs and St. Werner create, again, an enigmatic and subtle texture, with great focus on detail and drama, but more reserved and introspective this time, as the guitar and the laptop slowly form a monolith of sound.
David Grubbs (el.g, v), Jan St. Werner (elec)