Enough Records, 2013
This was a nice treat: I got an email a week or so ago from someone, I assume, at the netlabel, Enough Records, which had a link to a free download of the new album by Berlin’s Th.e.n.d., which I was able to get from Archive.org’s website, filled with lots of free music – including related netlabel releases as well as lots of live shows from various artists, but, probably, most famously, is their collection of Grateful Dead shows that pretty much cover the whole of their existence, from the mid 1960s, right up through until 1995, when Jerry Garcia died. Besides that treasure trove, though, there is the aforementioned library, constantly updated, of brand new releases, put out by all these new “netlabels” which distribute their music via the internet. It makes good business sense – very low overhead – you don’t need all the stuff that would be necessary to run a typical record label. Most of these bands/artists are brand new, very underground, so, necessarily, they don’t get much attention, which, of course, has no bearing on the quality of whomever it might be. It might be great or it might suck – you never know until you listen.
Anyway, this album, Annodam 94, is electronica, Berlin-style. Basically a one-man project, Th.e.n.d is made up of one guy, Norman D., whose pseudonym, Th.e.n.d., is his musical nom de guerre. A description of his music I read on the web mentions how he listens to as well as creates many styles of music. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, who enjoys playing the piano, guitar as well as drums & percussion. On Annodam 94, though, Norman goes electronic – mixing in some chiming keyboard sounds, a kind of old-school electric piano vibe that is intensified and whose notes chime like a bell, with minimalistic, programmed percussion as well as some real drumming mixed in. There’s also some disembodied voices that appear on a few tracks. As one example, on “In Times of Fading”, a Tom Waits-like voice chatters up some lines, lyrical samples, spoken at the very start of the tune and again in the middle. This against the backdrop of a groovy but laid back hypno-jam, which seamlessly melts right into the next tune, “Rakso Iksnorb”.
There really is not much information on Th.e.n.d. I could find on the internet. The few things I did see, had very little biographical information on the man, himself, other than that he’s from Berlin and is quite the versatile musician. I wish I could tell you more about where he’s been and any other pertinent personal information. The other thing I found was that Annodam 94 is not his first album. He’s done a few others as well. The best thing, if you get an itch to hear what he sounds like, is to Google “Th.e.n.d. – Annodam 94” and you’ll get some hits that direct you to at least two sites – Archive.org being one and Free Music Archive (FMA), the other. Or, you could do a search on “Enough Records” to see what pops up for them.
The album is very hypnotically ambient. It can fill the room with a perfect background or be the focus of one’s musical meditation: you can really lose yourself in the icy, cool and very Nordic electronica-ambient at work here. There’s no “drone” to this stuff, it’s all very fluid and un-static, so you don’t get the intense “ambient” element you find a lot, which tells me he probably finds influence more from Kraftwerk than Brian Eno’s ambient works, but there are still elements of those and more. So, you probably heard it here first – check it out! -KM