Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Bär - Asylum Lunaticum
Intransitive Recordings. INT033 CD
Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Bär have been quietly releasing a constant stream of Dada-esque experimentation since around 1999. Somewhere down the line they turned their hand to art and have since become recognised and prolific artists with Kommissar Hjuler sculpting chopped up Barbie dolls a la Bolus and Belmer and his missus Mama Bär turning out paintings that come on like an even more sick and twisted Paula Rego meets Francis Bacon. Originally describing themselves as ‘experimental musicians’ their ridiculously limited edition outpourings of hand crafted cassettes, CDR’s and acetates have long since been gobbled up by a swelling army of fans eager to get their hands on some truly startling work. A mundane CD then seems the perverse and perfect portal for mass consumption and a good a gateway as you’re going to get into their incredible workings without having to fork out plenty of euros for their art or waiting patiently in line for the next ultra-limited release.
Asylum Lunaticum contains seven tracks that give you a good idea of what the Hjuler & Bär ethic is; audio verité, absurdism and tape cut ups wrapped in a Dada/Fluxus blanket of freeform experimentation. On ‘Lauf in Eine Herde’ Hjuler runs into a field of cows waving a red shirt the audio result of which resembles someone recording a blustery moor top walk. ‘De Nye Rigspolitichefen’ is Hjuler reciting text dealing with the Dutch police which somehow transforms itself into a Punch and Judy show hosted by a maniac whose arguing with the puppets whilst banging on a toy piano. Its one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. ‘HJCVGrimmelhausen is voice cut up, in which Hjuler follows each word with a deep breath the end result being a disorienting array of vowels and vocal tics. The real star of the show though is Bär’s 25 minute epic ‘Ehrfurcht’. Described as a ‘recording by M.B. while having a bicycle ride together with her son Cy Hjuler, the complete ride with a tape recorder at the bike. M.B. singing’. Ehrfurcht begins with a reversed, slowed down vocal in one channel backed with a house alarm in the other to which we find Mama Bär singing in a whimsical daydream non-word style. A style that carries on for much of the track in which we meet passing traffic, footsteps up stairs and at one stage what seems to be a fight with a spring loaded five bar gate in a windy and muddy field. Bär continues to sing even though its obvious she’s out of breath which only adds to the already unsettling affect. Her voice drifts in and out of earshot, the tune becomes more embedded, you feel as if you’ve been captured by Danish aliens and forced to listen to their strange sing-song language. And to think this little masterpiece only saw the light of day on a CDR that ran to six copies.
Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Bär are much akin to Gilbert and George in that they are their own inspiration. It will take a better art critic than this humble scribe to make sense of it all but I feel greatness coming on and it needs to be heard and seen.
Anybody with a free afternoon should seriously consider checking out their website which contains vast galleries of their handmade album covers, sculptures and artwork as well as a smatter of sound and live action videos. Their myspace site may still contain the greatest video ever; Hjuler playing a bicycle pump.