richard di santo
30 07 2000
"If ever there was a battle," says Christof Kurzmann, "it must have been the one between the guitar and the computer." And so we have Schnee, a new collaboration between Kurzmann's (g3) computer and Burkhard Stangl's guitar (acoustic and electric). But when I begin listening to this disc, the thing that strikes me most is that this music is far from representing any kind of "battle" or conflict. From Kurzmann, a soft flutter of clicks with smooth and pulsating tones; from Stangl, the delicate plucking and scraping of strings. Together these make for a rather harmonious coupling, the two elements never intruding on the other's space. From what I can tell, Kurzmann refrains from performing treatments of Stangl's abstract fretwork, and this is rather a good thing. The two players are presenting their own sounds separately but together. If things seemed more harmonious with the first and second tracks, the third introduces a certain density, if not a kind of aural violence, into the picture. The electric guitar becomes more prominent in longer chords, and the computer presents a thick and crowded environment, perhaps suggesting the uneasy relation of these two sound elements. But track 4 returns to the harmonious, with a long piece that reconciles these contesters and gets the final word on this conflict. Although there's little in the realm of mood creation here, these tracks are carried by some very nice production work, accentuating the delicate and crisp sounds with some kind of objectivity. An intriguing collaboration deserving of repeated listening.