Review: Bureau Berlin – High-Time Seizure


Tipped out, tumbling down: chunks of rock, percussion in tatters, miscellaneous household trash, colourful ribbons of saxophone. High-Time Seizure is an avalanche of whatever happens to be at hand, hurling drum samples after frenzied bass improvisations, kicking bells and cymbals over the edge, terrified at the prospect of the cascade running dry. Everything must be chucked downward, now. This commitment to an unending stream of action leads these improvisations to some bizarre places: bass improvisations swerve off the rails to strand themselves several miles from their original train of thought, while the saxophone meets a dead-end and smacks itself sadistically, hoarsely, against the wall until conventional musicality is effaced at the hands of intention.

The production is loud and large. Like those immersive 6D cinema experiences, Bureau Berlin shatter the passivity of listening to thrust me forward and back in my seat. I find myself ducking to avoid a facial grazing from one of those somersaulting blocks of percussive debris, or flinching away from a seemingly larger-than-life saxophone as it rears, cobra-life, above my head. Such a relentless outpouring has the effect of generating a certain numbness of experience. My sensitivity to nuance is blunted by the onslaught, like a blowtorch scorching my nerve endings. There’s a euphoria to this feeling of non-feeling, like a pain so white-hot that it doesn’t even register as pain anymore. All sensation is lost to the avalanche.  

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