opprobrium review

Nick Cain
03 2001

Schnee is an amalgamation of acoustic improvisation and real-time digital sound-processing, of the kind previously documented by labels like Perdition Plastics, Grob, Durian and Christof Kurzmann's own Charizhma imprint. Both are key figures in the newly emergent world of "electroacoustic improv". Stangl's credentials are listed in the Efzeg review; Kurzmann's more allied with the Mego glitch electronics crowd: he co-leads the Orchester 33 1/3 with Christian Fennesz, and was one-third of the fine trio with Fennesz and Dafeldecker whose collaborations with Kevin Drumm, Jim O'Rourke and Martin Siewert were documented on a Charizhma disc last year. One would, however, be hard-pressed to think of this as an "improv" record. No pretension is made to any kind of sustained interplay; rather, the two focus on arrangement and layering, and the contrast inherent in their chosen sound sources. Stangl's plucked and bowed guitar for the most part perches prettily atop Kurzmann's electronics - credited with G3 only, he provides consistently reproducing cycles of drones, hums, and clicks, augmented with rumbling sub-bass frequencies - over four long and inobtrusively glacial pieces, to curiously soothing and inoffensive effect, rather belying the "dangerous improv" epithet with which this area of recent activity has been tagged.