Christoph Hess is Swiss turntablist Strotter Inst. The tools of his trade? A conglomeration of specially modified and prepared turntables and woefully distressed vinyl. With these, Hess creates dense fields of mesmerizing crackle and hum propelled by woozy, trudging beats. Strotter Inst. performs live at swissnex San Francisco as one of the last stops on his extended US tour.
Technology in music might mean shiny new laptop computers sitting pretty on performers’ tables. But it could also mean something messier and altogether rougher, like mounds of discarded household appliances repurposed as sound-making devices wired to record and play back. Strotter Inst. is among several contemporary artists to draw from this lo-tech background.
In fact, “strotter” is an old German and Austrian expression for trash scavengers. And Christoph Hess is part of a Swiss lineage of junk wizards going back to “cracked everyday electronics” pioneers Voice Crack and to turntable hacker and installation artist Christian Marclay. As Strotter Inst., Hess makes use of five vintage Lenco turntables surrounded by an array of tape recorders, cut-up vinyl records, film tapes, and other discarded materials—an arsenal that constitutes both an instrument and a full-fledged installation. Live, Strotter Inst. conjures fellow turntablists Erik M, Philip Jeck, and Janek Schaefer, as well as the rhythmic detail of Steve Reich or Thomas Brinkmann and the confrontational grime of classic industrial music acts such as Throbbing Gristle.
8:00 pm doors open
8:30 pm performance by Strotter Inst.
10:30 pm doors close
Admission to this performance at swissnex San Francisco is USD $5.00. Tickets must be purchased in advance through Brown Paper Tickets. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door, but we highly recommend getting advance tickets.
Please note that Strotter Inst. will also perform at San Francisco’s Aquarius Records (1055 Valencia Street) on Wednesday, June 16. Contact Aquarius at 415-647-2272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Photo: Myleen Hollero