Phill Niblock – Touch Strings

(Touch) Following 2006’s monumental 3-CD set Touch Three, amid the uppermost pinnacles in Phill Niblock’s career, the latest bulletin by the Indiana dronemeister – who forces the aficionados to settle for just a double helping this time – is completely dedicated to string instruments, both electric and acoustic. The release was repeatedly postponed, generating the sort of anticipation that precedes almost every major artistic statement. There’s no doubt that Niblock’s recordings weigh heavily on the sonic movements of our era and Touch Strings is certainly no exception, especially in virtue of how opposite sensations are strikingly counterbalanced from the very … Continue reading Phill Niblock – Touch Strings

Jon Mueller – Physical Changes

(Table Of The Elements) Percussionist and composer Jon Mueller’s discerning creativity does not rule out a willingness to put the listener’s ears through the ordeals. His music is often bewilderingly violent, yet retains a pumping nucleus connecting it with all that matters in life, good or bad: bodily functions, natural phenomena, ecologic disasters, contagious enthusiasm. The title Physical Changes is perfect for the description of the diverse emotional states in which the audience is transported: tense puzzlement to serious angst, powwow-like repetitiveness to downright desolation. The release comprises three different items: an LP, a CD and a DVD. These recordings, … Continue reading Jon Mueller – Physical Changes

Stanley Schumacher / Musikmacher Productions

In spite of the huge quantity of recordings that I get to listen to on a monthly basis, this triplet of discs represents my very first encounter with Stanley Schumacher’s output. A technically advanced trombonist also utilizing the voice (who actually began with the euphonium), Schumacher has covered several roles in his career, which comprises experiences ranging from Dixieland and swing to modern orchestral compositions. An assortment of situations and projects saw him actively involved until – in 2003 – he founded the ever-changing Music Now Ensemble. All of the records examined in this article were recorded under this flag. … Continue reading Stanley Schumacher / Musikmacher Productions

Richard Chartier – Untitled (Angle.1)

(Nonvisualobjects) Visiting an installation directly is obviously an entirely different experience than merely listening to its soundtrack, due to the evident lack of a multi-sensorial impact that can’t be replicated at home and, especially in this circumstance, the extreme difficulty of finding a domestic environment quiet enough for the propagations to diffuse correctly and reveal their intrinsic character. This is a fundamental requirement in Richard Chartier’s music. As tranquil as the place where I live may be, the reproduction level needed for actually understanding what goes on in Untitled (Angle.1) – the first collaboration of Chartier with visual artist Linn … Continue reading Richard Chartier – Untitled (Angle.1)

Heribert Friedl – Recherche_00

(Nonvisualobjects) An analogue synthesizer (Yamaha CS-40M) and field recordings are the lone origins for this new outing by Heribert Friedl, who in Recherche_00 continues to intensify his interest in exploiting the inherent qualities of a single instrument, as he did with the cimbalom (or “hackbrett”) in Trac[k]_T (also on Nonvisualobjects). The composer refers to this attempt as a “journalistic” research process; more than a sheer report, the music seems instead to correspond to a scrupulous laboratory observation of the evolution of a creature, including the ultimate joy of watching it turn into a legitimate being. From the outset an essential … Continue reading Heribert Friedl – Recherche_00

Pavel Borodin – Speak Easy: The Loft Concert (DVD)

(Panrec) Cologne’s Loft has become a hunting reserve for Pavel Borodin’s shooting of improvising artists (pun intended). After last year’s excellent documentary on Elliott Sharp, The Velocity Of Hue (for which, reports the director, no willing label was found for distribution – a shame, given the quality of that particular work), we’re now able to watch a concert recorded March 14, 2008 by Speak Easy, the quartet of Ute Wassermann, Phil Minton, Thomas Lehn and Martin Blume. The DVD comprises three episodes (the encore is available as bonus material), a no-frills multi-angle presentation which succeeds in portraying the essence of … Continue reading Pavel Borodin – Speak Easy: The Loft Concert (DVD)

Keith Rowe – erstwords + ErstLive007

(Erstwhile) In the occasion of the “AMPLIFY: Light” festival, held in Tokyo in September 2008, Keith Rowe decided, 24 hours prior to his gig, to go fully introspective with the music he’d play, with particular regard to artistic influences and, especially, sounds that have influenced him. Without a doubt, the people who attended the concert – except perhaps the closely related – were unaware of the artist’s intention at that moment. This already establishes a series of sharp differences with those not present, an obvious large majority who only now is able to enjoy the set at least acoustically, but … Continue reading Keith Rowe – erstwords + ErstLive007