downtown music gallery review

Bruce Gallanter
04 08 2000

Burkhard plays acoustic & electric guitars (on table) & percussion and is a member of electro-acoustic super-group Polwechsel and Christof plays g3 computer and has guested with Polwechsel as well. Both were involved in a splendid midnite set at Tonic in May with Werner Dafeldecker & Dean Roberts. All but Dean are Austrians and are a part of a renaissance of electro-acoustic improvisers featured in a recent NY Times article by Ben Ratliff (special thanks) and well captured by the ever-evolving erstwhile label. This was recorded live in studio with no editing. Rumble buzz hum static quivers- electric strings shimmer - acoustic harmonics glisten - look into the microscope and watch the inner-life slowly change. There is much space in between the sounds as the static repeats like a mantra for modern (technological) life. Is there something wrong with my cd player, is it stuck?!? Probably not. On occasion I hear other sounds and voices creep in through my kitchen window and mix nicely with this cd - which is which? Does it matter? Is that my refrigerator humming or the cd? Adrift in a universe of somber sounds - whirring - distant drones. I must try to turn off my inner clock, my desire for more things to happen and just listen without expectation (s). I recall listening to German synth bands in the early 70's and rarely having the patience to really enjoy what they doing. Have my listening habits changed? Certainly. Have yours? No doubt. Each of these four long pieces creates a somewhat different environment or sound-scape. The tension starts to bristle on "Passion" - there is an air of uncertainly, a spooky feeling is created, tapping those electric guitar strings splinters the gradually thickening morass. Late night alien transmissions perhaps? The rain and the fan fit in perfectly with this sonic brew as the texture calmly trembles. The final piece has long periods of silence and is rather Morton Feldman-like in the way the sounds just appear out of thin air. Disconcerting a bit. "Impressive!" as Mr. Tuvok states.