A lone busker plays wistful folk melodies on an accordion in a dimly lit underpass late at night. Ominous clanging noises approach like a gang of thugs, while the deep drones of a freight train passing overhead engulf the whole auditory scene. Or else: Slowly pulsating melodies with a strangely (South) East European tinge ride the crests of an almost static groundswell of drones, while occasional percussive impulses accentuate the almost imperceptible microrhythms. Or else: ...
There are many ways to describe the music on this album, and it is hard not to resort to narrative when doing so. Perhaps this is because this music has a very strong sense of foreground and background. Drones and textures create a space in which the melodic and percussive elements of the music interact, almost like characters in a story. Each one of them has a specific timbral temperament, or should we say personality: the accordion, which Anja Kreysing, trained in Deep Listening in the tradition of Pauline Oliveros herself, uses for full impact on a variety of emotional scales; the heater (used as percussion instrument) and the cymbal, with their edgy, pushy, metallic overtones, which set them apart from the wry, dry, wooden percussion; to name but a few.
The great achievement of the trio who recorded this set live at Nocube in Münster, 19 November 2017, is the way in which each of them constantly operates on at least two levels simultaneously: the foreground and the background, the textural and the rhythmic. Slow harmonic developments culminate into dramatic phases of almost noisy density and moments of silence, almost as if they were just following the flow of their breath. And several times foreground and background change their roles completely. It is the purely musical flow and interaction that makes this music so suggestive. Had they set out to tell one story, they might have ended up with contrived conceptual music. But the sheer sonic richness of this great recording is the reason why it can tell myriad stories at once.
File under: Free improvisation, drone, electroacoustic
Released in 2018
limited to 500 copies
price: 8.00 EUR (excl. postage)
Anja Kreysing: accordion, electronics, recording
Dan Penschuck: percussion, synth, live effects
Sascha Stadlmeier: guitar, heater, wood, voice, effects, mastering
recorded live @ NoCube, Münster / 19.11.17
attenuation circuit + MAHORKA
ACU 1008 / MHRK198CD
released in 2018 / limited edition of 500 copies
design by Angel Draganov / photography by Dan Penschuck
attenuationcircuit.de // firstname.lastname@example.org
mahorka.org // email@example.com
For some time we received a lot of releases by Germany's Attenuation Circuit label, but since a few months that is no longer the case. The focus has been shifted to playing more and more concerts and releases have been limited to either digital only and CD or LP releases. The first CD is a co-release with a label named Mahorka and contains a live recording by Anja Kreysing (accordion, electronics, recording), Dan Penschuck (percussion, synth, live effects) and Sascha Stadlmeier (guitar, heater, wood, voice, effects, mastering). The latter I know quite well, for his work as EMERGE and I don't think I heard of the others before. On November 19th, 2017 they played in Münster, Germany, and on this CD there are two pieces, which lengthwise, could have also fitted on a LP; twice about twenty minutes. It seems that Kreysing is trained in the tradition of Deep Listening, as developed by the late Pauline Oliveros, and somehow it is reflected on this music I think. With many of the previous improvisation encounters I heard that included the involvement of Stadlmeier, it was much more electronic affairs and there was always some noise crescendo. That doesn't happen in these two pieces. The music stays throughout on the quieter edge of the sound spectrum and has quite an ambient feeling, and yet also something that is very much improvised. Perhaps, indeed, a sound that is not that different from the Deep Listening band. The occasional accordion sounds waving in is of course textbook Oliveros, but also Penschuck and Stadlmeier adding sounds and a fair bit of reverb to create space deliver their parts very well. The music is throughout spacious and the mood, while a bit dark, is that of contemplation. I'd say: deep listening indeed on this highly successful concert recording.