Somnambule - Writing About Music

dafeldecker kurzmann drumm eRikm dieb13 noetinger

A variety of tools are being utilised to produce something – there are swishes and hums, rumbles and the tiny tsk of metamorphosing glitch rhythms. At times the labour seems to require great concentration, at times it gains its own momentum. The stream of sound is very flexible, as though the ear is witnessing changes in perspective in realtime. Beats are frequently intimated, tangentially evoked - just enough to engage before altering or disappearing.

Imagine a virtual site of production, rendered in three dimensional digital space. The acoustic space enlarges, the activity alters. A series of stentorian noises could be of manufacture or small arms fire, there’s the groaning and screeching of what might be girders lifted by massive cranes and the blinding sonic flashes of arc welding.

Later there appear to be glass jars tinkling, the soft plashing of paint molecules expelled by industrial sprayguns - perhaps the machine is being coated with a durable finish. Finally, the device itself begins to hum at different registers as though undertaking a test cycle in preparation for deployment.

(graz 2)
Segues in without pause. Pointillist sound of virtual rain falling on electrical cables. Millipede movement of Geiger counters in Chernobyl aftermath, pools of calcium carbide dormant under grey, lowering skies. Modulating hums ensue like a cyborg lament.

(berlin 2, berlin 3)
Pulses here are of micro-cellular movement, beats at the subatomic level, a part of the very mesh of activity. We might be inside the exclusion zone, inside the reactor itself, masked within crumpling radiation suits, seeking the point of rupture, all instincts screaming to leave immediately. And then eery silence, the sound of my breathing amplified in the headphones, the cd player states that 8 minutes remain until the cd stops spinning. Waiting. Minutes later an electrical curlew announces an urgent coda and the final moments are metered out.

These recordings represent an impressively successful melding of digital and acoustic sound sources created by a core duo of Werner Dafeldecker on electronics and bass and Christof Kurzmann on G3 and clarinet joined by guests Kevin Drumm (guitar, synth), eRikm (electronics), dieb13 (turntables) and Jerome Noetinger (electroacoustic devices). The aforesaid instrumentation is mostly unrecognisable. The sounds are delightfully tactile, the dynamic range extensive – from the pinpoint to the low hum. A fecund space for the imagination is created. The overall impression is of a cohesive, deliberately moulded, extremely detailed and engaging exploration of the spaces where ambience, glitch, improvisation and electronica overlap.
Colin Buttimer
July 2003
Published by the BBC