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The „Fauna and Flora of the Vatican City“ is the 6th release of Tobias Schmitt’s pet project Suspicion Breeds Confidence.
The record is a continuation and development of the eclectic and complex music presented on its predecessors: polyrhythmic beats, abstract electronica, processed field recordings and conventional instruments are blended into a homogeneous and wide-ranging elaborate result.
Moments of highly structured music meet flow-of-consciousness like improvisation meet poppy melodies.
The titles of the tracks are as surreal and beautiful as ever.


01 Mit Einem Lasziven Lächeln Entmystifizierte Sie Den Holzweg
02 Vom Nutzen Und Nachteil Der Tabellarischen Darstellung Von Komfort

03 Plagiatsversuch In Der Krötenkolonie (Das Zweite Produkt Der Eintausend Epigonen)

04 El Hipopótamo Crujiente
05 Her Delicacy Shivered At The Absent Summer

06 Anstatt Vanillearoma Nehme Man Berserkermalz Und Nymphenschaum

07 Schwimmstunden Der Arbeitslosen Japanischen Prostituierten (Keine Kleiderordnung)
08 While Admiring The Quality Of Other People’s Lives They Probably Do Not Deserve
09 A Million Birds Should Know Something About Modesty
10 In Einer Kosenorm Manifestierter Größenwahn

11 Exportartikel Der Konsenshölle (Eine Frage Von Internationaler Bedeutung)

12 An Introduction To Transparency (In Four Easy Steps)
13 Monospoon
14 Willkommen Im Schachclub Plankton 2 (Kleiderordnung)

15 Post Colonial Laundry Monopoly


15 Tracks (75’12“)

CD (500 copies)







For this recording Suspicion Breeds Confidence was

Florian Bartholome (09; 12)

Tomislav Bucalic (02; 05; 07; 09; 12; 13; 14; 15; Mastering)

Aidan Mark (04; 07; 08; 10)

Tobias Schmitt (01-15; Artwork)

Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2008 / Gruen 052 / LC 09488





Josh Landry | Musique Machine

Unlike any single genre or musician that comes to mind, Suspicion Breeds Confidence’s „The Fauna and Flora of the Vatican City“ is an enigma of an album as easy to puzzle over as it is to put on while completing homework.  It’s a great armchair chill out record, and it’s a mood that sustains it, a mood so thick one could honestly refer to it as a ’sense of place‘.  By now I’ve spent many hours in Tobias Schmitt’s „Vatican City“ – any and all of the 15 tracks will take you there.


Low fidelity tape loops of muffled, semi-rhythmic sounds comprise the idiosynchratic and rhythmically loose backbone of this record.  Gooey subsonic bass underscores dozens of tiny percussive collisions, but beats never congeal into the groovey precision of IDM or even the simplistic pulse of krautrock, despite this music undoubtedly sharing sounds and attitudes with both genres.  The rhythm is rather more akin to the sound of several pieces of refuse floating down a fast moving stream, bumping and nudging against each other at every bend.  Awash in delay, as listeners we bob downstream with the flotsam, gazing up from the surface at a world of modernity that appears less threatening due to the faded, home-made warmth of the music.


Schmitt’s primary preoccupations are textural.  All manner of crackling, scraping, hissing, chiming, whirring, clanking, rustling, chittering, sparking, squelching… and I counted all of these in a single track alone! („While Admiring the Quality of Other People’s Lives They Probably Do Not Deserve“).  The sounds are not so harsh as to force the listener’s attention to them, and would cause no one pain, but it is in fact ’noise‘ that Schmitt is working with.  Analog to the core, Schmitt has effectively performed a manual form of granular synthesis through intense splicing and editing.  Each source track is so cleverly degraded and heavily cut up as to pointillistically mesh into a greater impressionistic tapestry of sonic snapshots, a blurry image which sustains a palette of hues throughout the record, though the details change from track to track.  The faded, stony hues of the fairly minimalist packaging are a perfect match for it.


Sublime, rounded melody at times appears to compliment the bass and brings us back to hip, cool, cleanly produced chillout: the house, ambient and dub easily identifiable in the roots of this record.  Rather than bringing us back to musical movements that long ago ran their course, Schmitt allows us to experience the sublime beauty of the aesthetic without the burden of the formulas that have homogenized the genre.  Tracks like „Her Delicacy Shivered At The Absent Summer“ and „Willkommen Im Schachclub Plankton 2 (Kleiderordnung)“ are most easily identifiable as referential to the dance music of the past, and function as entry points into the album.  The former draws you in with offbeat hints of a kick drum, and a liquified rhodes piano with a lazy swing like lunching at a diner on a hot day (one of many such tasty riffs from the keyboard).  „Willkommen“ is the most like actual dub with the heaviest, deepest groove on the album.  It’s still submerged under layers of reverb and sonic detritus, and sounds as if a party is being held in the sewers a block or so down, as we listen from ground level.


I found „The Fauna and Flora of the Vatican City“ to be an intensely enjoyable and unique album that perfectly skirts the thin line between thematic consistency and diversity, not to mention the lines between a great many genres of electronic music.  The imperfect, unstructured nature of the rhythms will certainly put off some listeners, but it shouldn’t come off as random to anyone.  Whether you need something to provide a mood-enhancing backdrop while you do work at the computer, or crave some new work of sonic architecture to analyze and listen to deeply, this record should satisfy.



eskaton | Chain D.L.K.
Artist: SUSPICION BREEDS CONFIDENCE [ asbestos {at} acrylnimbus {dot} de ]
Title: The Fauna and Flora of the Vatican City
Format: CD | Label: Gruenrekorder [ info {at} gruenrekorder {dot} de ]


First, a bit of self-disclosure. I have been familiar with Suspicion Breeds Confidence since he sent me a track for the Zaftig Research Christmas Compilation „Let it Snow!“ back in 1999. I have followed his project ever since. Thus, I came at this disc with some anticipation and Schmitt does not disappoint. First, the obligatory comparisons. The card that came with the disc compares Suspicion Breeds Confidence to „Aphex Twin meets Mouse on Mars.“ The main ones that come to my mind are a more electronic version of Zoviet France’s „Loh Land,“ Rothkamm’s „Astronaut of Inner Space,“ and some of Coil’s older glitchier work.


This is a glitch-tastic album. Cut up field recordings meld with analogue bleeps and slightly broken beats with everything layered on top of a barely perceptible wash of drone. But this is not simply cut up music along the lines of Hafler Trio’s „Bang! An Open Letter.“ Rather, this disc seems intricately crafted and carefully constructed to get just the right bit in the right place like a sonic jigsaw puzzle. Plus, you have to love song titles like „Her Delicacy Shivered At The Absent Summer,“ „While Admiring The Quality Of Other People’s Lives They Probably Do Not Deserve,“ and „A Million Birds Should Know Something About Modesty.“ Of course, like most experimental albums, the song titles seem to have little to do with the content of the track itself.


This disc has a definite sense of unity. The only track that didn’t really work for me was „El Hipopótamo Crujiente.“ It became a bit too repetitive in tone, seeming to work mainly as an exercise in rhythm. Perhaps the standout track for me is „Willkommen Im Schachclub Plankton 2 (Kleiderordnung)“ with its distorted voices and overall weirdness that sounds like circuit bending in your dreams.


If you have ever thought that there needs to be an experimental disc for beginners, this may be exactly what you are looking for. This is one of the more accessible experimental discs that I have heard in a while. That does not mean that it lacks in complexity, only that it is a bit less in your face in its weirdness. This disc weighs in at 75 minutes and is limited to 500 copies.
Review by: eskaton



Michael Thomas Jackson | Heathen Harvest

The fine German label Gruenrekorder is more familiar to my ears for field recording based documents. This „pet project“ of Tobias Schmitt is something of a departure however. Born on the 50th anniversary of Erik Satie’s death (you do the math), Schmitt began work in the experiemental music world in the late 80s. Since 1999 he has been releasing his efforts as Suspicion Breeds Confidence with occasional collaborators for a unique style of self-described „kraut concrete.“ For this release he has enlisted three friends on various tracks for unspecified duties. The result is a unique sort of IDM as if Steven Stapleton collaborated with Autechre only to be remixed by Carsten Nicolai. It’s consistently rhythmic in the most abstract sense with a blend of concrete and digital sounds in constant flux with a certain video-game sense of whimsy. Twenty-second century cartoon music for your children’s children’s children? Nope, this is far too here and now to be so prescient. This is music for our kids today granted they’ve been raised on Nurse With Wound, The Residents and Madlib at his most experimental. Yes it’s as fun as it is bizarre and when it grooves, it does so with a short attention span aesthetic that is less distractive than it is playful in an intelligent manner. No hyperactive disorder issues here, it’s all part of the plan…I think.


The opener creaks and bubbles with piano and concrete sources that manages to strike a balance between abstraction and a sense of harsh realism with a sense of comic relief and genuine melodicism. The second number, with the aid of Tomislav Bucalic, gets a bit of pulse set into action. The rhythm is oblique and is punctuated by some lowercase near-silence about halfway through before a quirky groove carries us out. Track three clicks, glitches and bumps along an odd path that is strangely charming. Creative melodies are configured out of disjointed loops and fragmented beats that defy confined spaces, but are familiar enough to seek comfort in. Aidan Mark joins in the fourth piece that introduces some manipulated voice and hand drumming into the music’s vocabulary. Nothing too extraordinary here, but it’s surreal enough to elicit the expectation of some Renaldo And The Loaf-esque vocal stylings at any moment. „Her Delicacy Shivered At The Absent Summer“ is especially nondescript with some random percussive action alongside pretty pedestrian sequencing and other electronic frivolity. It’s certainly pleasant enough, but nothing special in the grand scheme of things.


The next one starts with some warm bass underpinnings and vinyl static that give birth to an electo-rhythm scenario that dissipates and rekindles itself sporadically. If consistancy would be an asset anywhere, it would be here. It’s groovy, but sloppy and fun at any rate. On the seventh track Bucalic and Mark rejoin Schmitt for some abstract IDM. This is a well-constructed piece that exemplifies the rare ability to combine melodic grooves with improvised laptop manipulation, without sounding like digital syrup or a sloppy free-for-all. This is followed by an impeccable title hosting a stunning piece of pure digital concrete music. It carefully constructs melodic elements from otherwise non-musical samples until beats subtly emerge and all sense of context is obscured. This is beautiful work. Florian Bartholome contributes to the next four pieces, but „A Million Birds Should Know Something About Modesty“ really shines. Sounds are shuffled hither and yon while rhythms are as much implied as they are actualised. The tenth track lays down a drone for a foundation to accomodate some sampled guitar, off-kilter drumming and otherwise quirky electronics. The interlude is especially charming and evolves into a digitised „Vileness Fats“ excursion of sorts. The next piece maintains that aesthetic but sounds less polished and more haphazard. It has the spirit of creative spontaneity, but lacks the sense of focus that makes such works succeed.


Bucalic returns for the last four tracks, but what he contributes remains a mystery. „An Intoduction To Transparency“ seems to contain some phase-shifted guitar work amidst the ubiquitous digital melee. The guitar playing is simple, if not tediously so, but creates a certain mood for a moment or two that are sufficiently appropriate in the context of this disk. „Monospoon“ is an eerie metallic bird flight anchored by a beat and the promise of a free meal courtesy of your friendly neighborhood pal who has a curious relationship with a local meat butcher. You can’t help but want to be there, yet have reservations concerning the meal itself. The track goes nowhere and does so without any fuss in quite a lovely manner. The fourteenth track is erratic and unfocused for the most part and doesn’t do much on its own. The backward voices are nice and there is something of a groove, but it just never coalesces into anything special. „Post Colonial Laundry Monopoly“ saves the best for last. The electric piano provides a vintage soul sound that wouldn’t be out of place on a Prefuse 73 record, but morphs in and out of more abstract loops and noises without ever leaving a certain undefined comfort zone. A sweet conclusion.


For one thing this is a long recording, perhaps a bit too long. I really can’t complain though as it never really tires the ears or my patience. My foremost listening recommendation is that „The Fauna And Flora Of The Vatican City“ be experienced in one continuous sitting. Some of the pieces are too brief to make individual statements, while others are simply superfluous. After a few listens, it becomes apparent that the whole is indeed the sum of its parts. Schmitt has done some great work here and his artwork furthers the tradition of the consummate experimental artist in the same manner as Stapleton. Factor in the irony that I’m writing this as the current Pope is having his first visit as Pontiff to the U.S. and it just doesn’t get much closer to what the Surrealists were saying some eighty years ago.



Till | BLACK Magazin

TOBIAS SCHMITT ist ein Schichtarbeiter: Er wühlt sich durch unzählige Klangschichten, trepaniert digitale Krusten und schient zerbröselte Rhythmik. Und das schon seit über 10 Jahren. SBC-Alben sind immer wieder Schatzkästlein: Electronica steht neben Elektro-Akustik, Plunderphonica neben Improvisation, IDM neben Feldaufnahme. Die Mannigfaltigkeit der Bezüge, die assoziative Kraft der Klangsplitter beult einem jedes Gehirn aus. Nicht zuletzt auch durch den SBC-typischen Wortwitz der Titel: „Mit einem lasziven Hauchen entmystifizierte sie den Holzweg“ oder „Schwimmstunden der arbeitslosen japanischen Prostituierten (Keine Kleiderordnung)“ treten den Synapsen mit Vergnügen vors neuronale Schienbein. Die englischsprachige Welt sagt ja nicht umsonst „rich“ zu schwer Kost. Es gilt den Reichtum des Überangebots zu zelebrieren. Die zunehmende Hinwendung zu akustischen Klangquellen, weg vom digitalen Modulieren, wie auf den vorherigen Alben, gibt der Musik mehr Ruhe als früher. Weniger Hektik. Sie beweist für mich aber vor allem den immergültigen Ansatz: Die Welt ist faszinierend genug. Wir schauen und hören nur viel zu wenig hin. Dank SBC wird man immer mal wieder dran erinnert. (T)


Diese Platte macht einem das Review ziemlich einfach. Man muss nur die Tracktitel aufzählen. „Mit einem lasziven Hauchen entmystifizierte sie den Holzweg“. Oder „Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der tabellarischen Darstellung von Komfort“. Auch gut: „Schwimmstunden der arbeitslosen japanischen Prostituierten (keine Kleiderordnung)“. Was will man noch mehr sagen? Das nimmt einem jedes Wort aus dem Mund. Das hört sich auch, ich schwöre, genau so an. Eine Schallplatte ohne die man sich gar nicht in den Diskurs trauen sollte. Ich bin begeistert.

BLEED / DE:BUG 122 – Mai ’08



Andrea Vercesi | Chain D.L.K.

It took me some time to get used to it. The majority of this album is downtempo/illbient, featuring some experimental bits, some UK-influenced electronica and even some middle-eastern percussions and freaky sitar loops. Now, even if my references are obvious, do not think to Confidence Breeeds Suspicion as another useless 90s revival, as all the above mentioned styles are re-elaborated with a personal touch and this record belongs to 2008. The structure of the songs on this one is unpredictable, so expect swift style changes in the same track but not in the overall mood. I must say that I didn’t like the Squarepusher-like bursts on „A Million Birds Should Know Somethint About Modesty“ at all, as they don’t fit with the other tracks, but maybe it was made on purpose. An interesting album, it may appeal to those into Residents more eclectic works.