(2009, Room 40)
RIYL = Kallikak Family, Alan Licht & Aki Onda, Mark Templeton
I received Marina Rosenfeld’s Plastic Materials without any real knowledge about Rosenfeld’s four previous albums and at least ten years experience as a musician/composer. The truth is, even now I still don’t have much of an clue about her previous work, except I know that it exists. After listening to Plastic Materials I am wondering how this is possible. Rosenfeld’s work is mind bogglingly good. Like, really really great and good and incredibly really super and awesome. The kind of stuff that sends you into fits of gibberish praise just like when you received that new blue bike for Christmas when you were ten. However, other than some of the metallic and ‘plastic materials’ (couldn’t resist), comparing the two is kind of a stretch. Rosenfeld’s work on Plastic Materials is pretty insular and will be undoubtedly alienating for more than a few listeners unaccustomed to experimental works. But for those with an ear for adventure, Plastic Materials is like new snow for making tracks. It's pretty easy praising Rosenfeld’s work, describing it though is another matter. In my imagination, Plastic Materials sounds like an strange autopsy where the deceased is part robot, part creature from another planet and each progressive incision opens new caverns of spiraling innards that are both structurally amazing and kind of freaky. There is even an ever present sterility of steel tables and clean instruments to the whole thing. The album is bizarre in the most fascinating way. Rosenfeld’s doesn’t actually use any knifes in the creation of her work, but still manages her fair share of cutting by the heavy use of turntables and sampled voices (both talking and singing out of tune) cut up with medical precision. In addition to the re-emerging vocals, Rosenfeld has crafted a moody sub-noise aesthetic that incorporates turntable tics and spasms along with other electronic mumbling which flow in and out of piano tinkering and other unidentifiable transmissions. It’s a mystical little album, this Plastic Materials; something inhabiting beauty and austerity in equal measure and definitely a must have for experimental listeners.