Posts Tagged ‘Reinhold Friedl’

keitkratzer productions (zkr0020) (CD) / Karlrecords (KR027) (Vinyl) – 26th February 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Reinhold Friedl’s keeping it in-house with this one, with the Zeitkratzer collective which he helms performing a reworking of one of his own pieces. Kore is a development of his earlier Xanakis [a]live! (2007), which was an homage to French-Greek composer Iannis Xanakis. Originality may be dead, but artistic evolution is not, and here we see Friedel engage fully with the organic processes of influence and appropriation, and the idea that a work is never complete but continually subject to re-evaluation, reinterpretation, reconfiguration.

Pained screeching of tortured strings, form long, agonized screams and wails. On the lower register, cavernous rumblings and ominous echoes. It quakes and trembles and teeters and bucks, crashing and lashing, a sustained and calamitous wall of sound akin to how one may reasonably imagine a galactic storm. And it goes on for what feels like an eternity, light years of shuddering textural depth stretching out and fully enveloping the senses.

While the CD track-listing shows ‘Kore’ as being presented in just two parts, its mastering in fact replicates the vinyl edition’s four sides, with each piece between 11 and 16 minutes in length. As a single entity, it crashes and grates, squalls and shrieks, grunts and groans. And it never lets up, a sustained crescendo of sonic and psychic disturbance, a tempest of clashing noise, a raging storm.

The segmented arrangement works well: for while ‘Kore’ is clearly a single body of work, there are distinguishable differences between the four tracks. The second is comparatively quieter and less intense than the first, but the tones still forge sharp shards which slice into the cerebellum. Trilling and tweeting shrilly in the upper reaches of the spectrum, dark scrapes create perilous undercurrents which build in density.

Vast crashes of sound, immense gongs of violence slice the atmosphere in the third, more percussively-orientated part. It shudders and heaves, before finally screaming onwards through the tumultuous final 11 minutes. A blasting wall of noise which assails the listener with all sounds all at once, it’s an immense sound and an immense sensation that sounds like no orchestral work you’re likely to have heard before, and, quite conceivably, nothing else you may have experienced, period.

Zeitkratzer - Kore

zeitkratzer Online

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clang records – clang031 – 6th November 2015

Christopher Nosnibor

This isn’t how the instrument was designed to work. Just as John Cage made the piano sing in ways it really oughtn’t by the addition of various foreign objects, so Hans Tammen has made the Disklavier his choice of instrument for desecration.

The Disklavier, for those who don’t know (and I’ve had to research this) is an electronic piano produced by Yamaha, which first came on the market in 1987. The way it works is key to Tammen’s project, and I’m going to quote from that fount of all information, Wikipedia, here, and accept any harangues over ‘lazy journalism’ because surely some research is better than none: ‘The typical Disklavier is a real acoustic piano outfitted with electronic sensors for recording and electromechanical solenoids for playback. Sensors record the movements of the keys, hammers, and pedals during a performance, and the system saves the performance data as a Standard MIDI File (SMF). On playback, the solenoids move the keys and pedals and thus reproduce the original performance.’

Tammen’s project is concerned with the ‘hidden sonic qualities’ of the machine. Tammen explains his methodology thus: ‘technically the Disklavier is fed too much information, and at the lowest possible volume. At this point the hammers do not have enough power to bang the strings anymore, and ideally they only vibrate to produce low a rumbling sound. Occasionally the MIDI brain stops for a few seconds – “chokes” – on a chord due to the data overload, hence the title Choking Disklavier’.

Calling to mind Reinhold Friedl’s 2011 ‘Inside Piano’, a colossal exploration of the prepared piano, Music for Choking Disklavier finds Hans Tammen make his instrument sing in unexpected ways, and with intriguing and often very interesting results. And it’s not all unlistenable, experimental noise, either. There are clear and definite tunes present here, albeit played in the most skewed of fashions.

A clumping rhythmic trudge provides the basis of ‘Ascending and Descending Chairs’; over what sounds like slow marching feet, delicate single piano notes rise crystalline into the rarefied air, The levels of dissonance and discord grow as the notes begin to emerge stunted, jarring. ‘Looking Down Sacramento Street’ resembles the whupping hum of a helicopter’s rotas; and so many of the sounds which occupy the album are rhythmic, mechanical, and owe little resemblance to a piano, electreic or otherwise.

The compositions make full use of the Disklavier’s diverse capabilities, especially when messed with. Swing goes south and ragtime goes out of time with fuzz and crackle, the sound of drunken piano being played with wild abandon in heavy rain, and thumping the low notes with a dogged persistence: these are the sounds that tinkle and topple precariously from the speakers at the hand of Hans Tammen. It’s an innovative work, which finds Tammen exploring ways of making new sounds by previously unexplored means and confirms, pleasingly, that originality isn’t entirely dead yet.

 

Tammen

http://tammen.org/