Attention, folks, you're in for a paradigm shift. EMERGE has become a household name in the international experimental music community as a composer mainly associated with drone and musique concrète. This album is bound to change your perception of EMERGE quite a bit. This is probably the most rhythmic release by Sascha Stadlmeier since he shelved his early project Dependenz and started to record and perform as EMERGE. And with its transparent sound and very direct compositional approach, it is both accessible and challenging at the same time.
The album, which manages to pack a variety of ideas and dramatic tension into its crisp 31 minutes, was recorded live in Poznan, Poland, in January 2018. EMERGE improvised with prepared samples and amplified objects made of various materials – hence the title – , namely wood, stone, and plastic. While the use of such basic, scratchy, even harsh sound sources is nothing new in EMERGE's work, the way in which he uses them here certainly is. They are often used to generate rhythmic loops that create downright beats, moving the piece to the brink of IDM or minimal music structures, but then collapsing such expectations by falling silent and moving into another direction altogether. While on the one hand silence is often used as a structuring medium, the drones so familiar in EMERGE only come into play as sound-effects that add colour to an otherwise monochrome palette. But this sparseness makes the compositional structure easy to hear and understand and certainly makes this album a perfect introduction for interested, yet inexperienced listeners who want to get into electroacoustic improvisation. More surprising than the rhythms, perhaps, is the direct, almost in-your-face way in which distorted voice like samples are used as a counterpoint to the live-generated sounds. They are used in dramatic gestures that almost resemble pop or rock dramaturgy, yet still are used sparingly enough so as not to become clichéd. This masterfully balanced mix of stylistic elements makes “materia” an important addition to EMERGE's large body of work, if not a milestone.
File under: Free improvisation, Real-time composition, electroacoustic music
factory-pressed CD in cardboard sleeve
Released in 2019
limited to 100 copies
price: 7.00 EUR (excl. postage)
live @ Schron, Poznan, 09.01.18
recording by Tomasz Wróblewski
mastering, photography and design by EMERGE
thanks to Dawid, Krystyna, Kazehito
‘Materia’ van Emerge bestaat uit de muziek van een live set, opgenomen op 9 januari 2018 in het Poolse Poznan. Emerge werkt hier zowel met versterkte materialen van hout, steen en plastic als met samples en creëert daarmee heel gestaag een ritmische structuur. Dat mag bijzonder worden genoemd want Emerge is over het algemeen niet zo van het ritme. Niet dat we hier nu met een dance plaat vandoen hebben, verre van, daar is het ritme veel te bescheiden voor. Dat komt ook doordat die andere kant van hem: het werken met spookachtige klanknevels, allesbehalve uit beeld verdwijnt. Ook in deze set is de duisternis alom aanwezig. Het verleent aan die beperkt ritmische structuur een extra element, maakt het des te pregnanter. Verderop in de set neemt het ritme overigens de gedaante aan van een puls, die iets van variatie brengt in de industrieel aandoende drone structuur. Typisch muziek voor een live set in Polen in januari, de kou klinkt er onmiskenbaar in door. Bijzonder zijn ook de samples van stemmen die Emerge aan het einde inzet en die het geheel een nog onwezenlijker karakter verlenen en die de opmaat vormen voor de slotfase waarin het ritme heel even echt ruim baan krijgt om aansluitend op te lossen in een donkere wolk van klank, waar zo nu en dan een bliksemflits doorheen schiet.
Sascha Stadlmeier aka EMERGE is a German electro-acoustic music composer who runs the Attenuation Circuit label that brings together experimental music artists such as Artificial Memory Trace, B°tong, Doc Wör Mirran, If, Bwana, Nocturnal Emissions, PBK and EMERGE, whose proposals unfurls genres such as drone, electronics, electroacoustic improvisation, musique concrète and noise.
"Materia" is a live performance recorded in Poznan, Poland, in January 2018, and a solo 31 minutes long track, in which Stadlmeier worked with found objects, samples and drones.
Silence is also a texture that is present in this limited run CD of 100 copies and is a preamble to the amplified sound objects made of different materials that are building a subtle rhythmic session. It is appreciated at 8 minutes of the track, processed voices that give a dark and disturbing nuance. Meanwhile, a background sound is wrapped in a loop. Then, sound forms intersect in the enigmatic sound space.
Stadlmeier produces complex sonorities that invite us to move into new directions.
These days much of the catalogue of Attenuation Circuit is available as a free pay-what-you-want download and it something of a surprise to receive a CDR by EMERGE, which is one of the strong forces behind the label. There have been lots and lots of EMERGE releases and over the years the music got better and better. I wrote this before, but it has been a while so I'm saying it again, but in some way, EMERGE reminds me of a rough version of Asmus Tietchens. Whereas the old German master is very quiet in his music, certainly in recent years and relying on analogue technique to process his sounds, EMERGE is someone who uses two samplers, fed with field recordings that are worked and re-worked on the spot. 'Materia' is made with sounds from materials such wood, stone and plastic, but nothing as such can be easily recognized in the thirty-one minutes of this piece, which is a live recording from January last year. The overall mood of the piece is quite dark, with those sounds slowed and pitched down. Loops of smaller and longer variations are used here, subtly moving along each other so that there is never a 'proper' rhythm going but rather sounds like the moving of ice plates on a frozen pond. It is a curious form of drone music that lacks the long form, ongoing sounds that are more common with drone music. Through the various movements are quite slow in development, but just in the right moment EMERGE changes his music ever so slightly and moves to the next set of variations. This is a damn fine piece of music, and it is easy to understand why he wanted to release this on a CDR. (FdW)