Gothenburg, Sweden: http://www.stillebenrecords.com
With the release of stilleben 001 (a. luke eargoggle "papa didn´t love me" b. rutherford "lonewolf mcquade" 7") the Swedish label made an instant mark. It's a dark, paranoid brooding affair, in the vein of earlier Den Haag electro (Pametex). Like wandering through run-down abandonned post-apocalyptic eastern-european industrial complexes and constantly hearing footsteps behind you (could it be daddy with a baseball bat again?).
It seems like no coïncidence that the Stalker (a recurring theme of the label) already popped up on the 2nd release. Stilleben 002 ("dirty power stalkers 7 inch" luke eargoggle & rutherford a.untitled b.untitled 7") This time the tables are turned, you are no longer the hunted, you've grown up from the scared child and have become a stalker yourself, what better way of conquering fear then to become the thing you most fear... preying on passers by, harrassing colleagues, targetting the so called 'innocent'. In the Stil-leben there is no innocence, only a genetically encoded will to survive and procreate. We have seen the hunted become the hunter before, that's a nice bit of social Darwinism for you!
Stilleben 003 (a. fukkt "obsessed" aa. fukkt "lomo love" 7") is the first release by someone not directly involved with the label I think. Again the themes are obvious: darkness, obsession and a general incapacity to love anything outside a world that is shrouded in tunnelvision, deep mean streets and wet black pavement. The theme is 'love' this time, but it seems of a one-way kind and more about the human tragedy than anything else, x loves y, but y loves z, who only loves a, ad infinitum: Yes, we truly are in a world of shit.
With Stilleben 004 (t-shirts. limited 70 ex.) the label takes a more 'multimediatic' approach, stripping the Happy family to the bone and portraing them as empty shells with only bloodred hearts. All of a sudden the labelname becomes apparant too: Stilleben wants to take snapshots of life, (dark) emotions, the secret existence behind the curtains, the egoïsm that lies behind our superficial layer of civilisation, a pervasive theme of 20th century art & literature if you must know, that we like to call existentialism, but was first excercised by early modernists just pre-world war one, when the old world and it's ways of thinking started to collapse, reality started to fragment, people started to doubt the nature of knowledge etc. --- yeah yeah, overeducated, I know. Scarry isn't it? Anyway, I don't have a copy of this, but it would be appropriate if it didn't fit.
to music with stilleben 005 (a. luke eargoggle "mama loves
me" b. rutherford "lonewolf" 7"), Eargoggle vs. Rutherford again,
the 2 lost boys. It's pressed on Dirty-diarreaha colored splatter-vinyl
(that some call 'marbled' :-), which must have something to do with diapers
and mommy. Ofcourse we notice the link with the first release, completing
the picture of Luke's fairly mundane middle-class chilhood of eternal
sunday-mornings (at least I expect). On the #1, he seemed seriously scared
of dad, and his feelings towards mommy are equally interesting. If this
dark horny mess is supposed to be is mother then I for one don't want
to meet her!
On stilleben 006 ("silent bassment stalkers 7 inch" e-goggle & r-ford a.untitled b.untitled 7") our two gentlemen are back with what they do best: creating a dark ruined electronic landscape where you don't want to be without a gun, but that is for some reason also very attractive. One of their best releases, although on one side the pace is shifting, like the grooves aren't circular. This sounds like a bad press?
We can imagine that there is fuck-all to do in some parts of Sweden, so you'd be bored as hell for the better part of the year, and the rest of your life for that matter. Stilleben 007 (bored dudes society a. "ghettoheed overlords" b. "goldmoor funk" 7") should come as no surprise then. However, one side of this release doesn't really live up to the usual high standards of the label. Sure it's dark and semi-industrial, but it lacks a certain story or soul, is a bit crude and overall perhaps a bit boring in itself? Anyway, on the flip we find one of those Eargoggle affairs, dark, funky etc.. (we are running out of adjectives here). Still nowhere near as good as his tracks on #1, #5 or #6
With stilleben 008 ("wimbledon court stalkers ep" eargoggle & rutherford a1. "worship binoculars" a2. "wimbledon court stalkers" 3. "distant love" (rutherford stalking on his own) elsewhere b1.untitled b2.untitled b3.untitled 12" ) the Stalkers return, this time to Wimbledon court and on a 12" EP no less. The nice suburban, sunny Wimbledon atmosphere seems suitable for some unrelenting depressing Swedish terrorstalking and this EP is filled with dark and menacing tunes, very much in the vein of Stilleben #2, but the sound seems matured. 'Part of the initial process of dealing with the threat of the stalker is to type the stalker,' says the insert of the record. I would type them as Serial Stalkers, i.e. obsessed with the act of stalkin, or should we make that the art of stalking? How should we deal with that? Anyway, six tunes (the Bunker standard) of..... ah well, you should know by now!
Another 12"EP is released, stilleben 009 ("sunglass ep" luke eargoggle a1. "funk capital" a2. "1972" a3. "electro boogie" a4. "dusty snares" b1. "drinking & smoking" b2. "life supply" b3. "elliot pelliot" 12") and on the coversticker we see Eargoggle smiling... or is he making a facial spasm? Who knows, fact is that this rates as the best Stilleben so far, the most coherent set of tunes and Eargoggle seems to have develloped his own sound more and more. To keep comparing it to Pametex would be unfair, this holds a category of it's own, with eerie strings and almost off key instrumentaria laid over a sharp and thin electro beat. It's dark and its cold and I want my mommy! Truly excellent stuff!
The then released Stilleben 010 ("the pussytive conclusion ep" a1. legowelt "discobitch sleeps tonight" a2. vintage organ "egypt" a3. stalkers "we have feelings too" b1. l. eargoggle "while elliot was sleeping" b2. orgue electronique "fashion statement" b3. fukkt "good home street" 12") is a strange duck in the bite, an unbalanced comp, with for the first time some outsiders (i.e. Bunker Boys Legowelt & Orgue Electronique) and most label artists. Some stuff is not so good, and sounds a bit like leftovers, but Orgue Electronique delivers the most beautiful track he has ever done: a deeply melancholic electronic disco tune with beautiful vocals and a truly genuine feeling of loss and despair... True soul, boy! This track saves the entire record, and instantly makes it one not to miss...
And there's yet another release, Stilleben 011 (6-track EP 'Before 1+1' featuring new stuff from Eargoggle and Rutherford), but I haven't heard that yet.. Also coming up soon, a Luke Eargoggle EP on Bunker Records. Earlier we made this demo of the year 2000 @ Bunker HQ, a rare and high honour I might add, but the release has been a bit slow so far. Expect it soon though, a record that will forever etch Eargoggle's name into the bowels of the Den Haag electro-underground.
Cheerio and happy hunting, JopieXL - March 2001
Inter 1998 a group of young musicians and dj´s - Eargoggle, Eim, Au-Pair, Lomo, Sneone and Rutherford - founded a society called "Stilleben". Together with Ddelay the club "Koolaid" was formed. Located in Majorna, in the heart of culture Gothenburg with the purpose to explore the realms of exprimental electronic music. After one year of intense electronic funk and an expanding amount of alcohol consumption we won the "best club in Gothenburg" -award in a national entertainment guide. From being strictly underground the club went overground ("the cool people raped our baby"). In a few weeks the hype had killed the club and we decided to close the doors.
However... a few months later we relaunched without flyers again strictly underground....very satisfying. Stilleben records was founded in the summer of 1999, the first release was a 7" with Rutherford and Eargoggle. It was a dream to drop a record self without any other major labels involvment. After pressing a few more 7" we got in contact with Clone and it ended up with a smaller distribution deal. That was definetly the most important thing at the time, Stilleben became official and more music were programmed for forthcoming records.
Eim (Fukkt) and his wife Lomo did a 7", Eargoggle and Rutherford Stalked a few times together. Inspired by Rutherfords beautiful neighbour across the yard, "what she´s doin now?", they developed the stalking-theme. Then came the first 12" "Worship binoculars" and on the B side Eargoggle did his "Elsewhere" projekt and probably did not know what he was doin at the time but he did it. Luke also runs the label and has produced most of the tracks released.
For the tenth release a sixtrack various artists ep we made contact with Legowelt and Orgue Electronique for an appearance that became the first non Gothenburg release for Stilleben Records. Now on Stilleben11 "Before 1 + 1" Luke is back with a little help from Rutherford. Many releases are planned including picture discs and 10" eps and its all electro. To get the records Formic are now our exclusive distributor. Love...
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