Saturday, July 17, 2010

The International Nothing - Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything (ftarri)

I saw this pair (Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke, clarinets) at Experimental Intermedia only a couple of weeks prior to this recording. I know at least one of the pieces here (they do play all composed music, btw) was played then ("Sleep!"), perhaps more. In any case, the overall feel of that evening and this recording is quite similar, albeit without the added spice of a naked fat guy. Very soft, a kind of agitated quiet where the reeds circle about each other in a fairly tight weave, tendrils escaping hear and there, always a burr in place. A couple of days later, I was walking down the street with a musician who shall remain nameless, mentioned that set and was told, "I hate that kind of stuff!" meaning: restrained, delicate, channeled. This music is certainly that but I find not a small amount of pleasure in that restraint, especially when it's combined with a subtle but tangible sensuousness as is the case with these fellows. There's an obvious joy being experienced by the clarinetists in rubbing together adjacent sonorities, bathing in the resultant overtones. Things are kept moderately tonal, though never sing-song-y, the plies of sound calmly allowed to waft over each other, to settle lightly. "Sleep!" closes the disc and is irresistibly drowsy. Good stuff.

Available from erstdist

Berlin-Buenos Aires Quintet - s/t (l'Innomable)

Recorded almost six years ago, the two Berliners (Andrea Neumann and Robin Hayward) journeying to Argentina to perform with Lucio Capece (I'm assuming he still lived there at the time, perhaps not), Sergio Merce and Gabriel Paiuk. I don' know that it was the case, but there's something of the tentativeness of first meetings in play here, a reticence that's all the more palpable with as many as five people. One improvisation, very quiet and spare for the most part (with the odd eruption), but tenuous enough so as to evaporate every so often. One of those sets where the more intently I listen, the less I enjoy it, but if I sort of just let it waft over me, half-conscious of it, it works just fine. Not sure if that's a recommendation or not; depends. (!)

Tomaž Grom/Seijiro Murayama - Nepretrganost (i'Innomable/Sploh)
Bass and percussion (Grom is new to me), in a set of five pieces that, as does a lot of music these days it seems to me, straddle the efi/eai divide, sometimes effectively, always ably, but occasionally a bit dry. Needless to say, extended technique is foregrounded, though one never quite loses the notion that Grom is wielding a string bass. The second track is a good study in contrasting rhythms and textures, a kind of subtle beat ricocheting between instruments and modes of attack. But track three, "Tri", is my favorite, a keening drone piece with great textural richness and forward momentum, beautifully played and conceived. Other cuts get overly scratchy/scrabbling for my taste though, of course, efi aficionados will find it right up their alley. A mixed bag, for me, but I'd be interested to hear more.

all l'Innomable discs available from erstdist


Anonymous said...

(Grom is new to me) ...

not quite Brian:)

Tilt is Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec (live electronics) and Tomaz Grom (double bass) and this self-titled disc documents two performances from Alicante and Ljubljana in 2004. Their approach is fairly rough and tumble, at its best a brutal welter of noise whipsawing back and forth, leaving bruises. Grom often sounds like some bastard offspring of Barry Guy and Simon Fell, but more extreme than either, abusing his instrument within an inch of its life in a generally absorbing manner, weaving through the minefield established by Sambolec’s circuitry. They do settle down once in a while. The second part of the Alicante set evolves into a small thicket of static pops and whistling tones but not for very long. The pops mutate in harsh clawings, the whistling into taut thwanged strings. That set peters out somewhat desultorily, however, unspooling like a cassette thrown out a car window.
I prefer the Ljubljana performance as a whole. It just coheres better (assuming coherence is a concern here, something about which I’m not so sure). It opens with wacky whirs next to a bass that sounds like it’s being strummed as its player falls down a flight of stairs and goes outward from there. There’s the requisite subsidence, but this time it evolves into a near-tonal passage where the bass, I swear, summons up the specter of Eberhard Weber. This isn’t a bad thing, in context, and the music acquires a lurching sort of gait, caroming out of the room.
It’s not a bad disc, all told. Fans of anything from the late, lamented Voice Crack to the Bohman Brothers will likely enjoy it.

Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen - November 2006

best LukaZ

Brian Olewnick said...

Hah! Good catch, Luka. Too many recordings, too little brain capacity. Apologies to Mr. Grom.