Grischa Lichtenberger is not an artist I would have thought well suited to collaboration. Stylistically, he is often compared to Autechre, although I have always thought of his productions as existing completely in a sphere of their own. Tropes of Glitch and EDM are forced through a mesh of ultra-computerised processing. Given the highly unique and also often conceptual nature of his work, it can be difficult to imagine his sound jelling effectively with another artists.
Casually proving me wrong however, comes ‘Conversations Sur Lettres Mortes’ (or ‘CSLM’ for those short on time). The Cosmo Rhythmatic released EP sees Lichtenberger team up with Where To Now? affiliate Jess Osborne-Lanthier. Based in Montreal (where the collaboration was formed), Osborne-Lanthier on the other hand definitely isn’t short of collaborations to date. Alongside working in groups like Femminielli Noir and Mor†, he has also co-released with everyone from Raster-Noton legend Robert Lippok, to Hobo Cult founder Francesco De Gallo.
‘CSLM’ is derived from several live shows Lichtenberger and Osborne-Lanthier put together for Mutek in 2014. The duo used cathode-ray TV sets and VHS units to create an array of churning rhythmic experiments, both dense and complex. Take the groaning ‘Comcast’ for example, creaking like the bows of a ship caught in a heavy storm. ‘Good Morning America’ on the other hand feels like trying to walk across a thick layer of PVA glue - disjointed percussion and sandpaper-like blasts of static firing off at awkward intervals.
Considering the EP enjoys such a consistent tonal palette, it is impressive that the duo manage to explore such a wide range of tempos at the same time. ’4% (Maurice)’ darts forward with jackhammer kicks and single note glitches building in tension incessantly. Opener ‘CRT Creeper’ on the other hand plods forward aimlessly, both languid and imposing.
The EP also features remixes from a selection of similarly highly-acclaimed sound-manipulators. In Paradisum breakthrough Low Jack turns ‘CRT Creeper’ into a thundering cacophony of almost footwork style drums, while Hungarian artist Gábor Lázár and Tri Angle’s Rabit attempt to outdo each other with increasingly abstract takes on ‘Good Morning America’ & ‘4% (Maurice)’.
Arguably the remixes don’t add a massive amount to the release, however placed in the b-side they make a nice bonus offering for those looking for some variations on the originals. The also certainly don’t detract from collaboration, which sees Lichtenberger at his most raw and uncompromising, and Osborne-Lanthier at his most frenzied.