Burkhard Stangl / Christof Kurzmann - schnee_live (lossless)
Lossless AIFF (16bit/44.1kHz)
A live performance of Burkhard Stangl and Christof Kurzmann, recorded on May 19, 2004 at Ausland, Berlin, Germany, as part of AMPLIFY 2004: addition.
For CD format, go to this page.
1. Schnee_Live (33:03)
(released November 1, 2004)
Burkhard Stangl: guitars, electronic devices, backing vocals
Christof Kurzmann: g3, electronics, vocals
Margareth Kammerer: backing vocals
Adeline Rosenstein: backing vocals
recorded on 19 May 2004 by Christoph Amann at Ausland, Berlin as part of AMPLIFY 2004: addition
ErstLive 003 is from the duo of Burkhard Stangl and Christof Kurzmann, titled 'schnee_live', the final show on the last night of AMPLIFY 2004: addition. Stangl and Kurzmann began working as a duo in late 1999, releasing Schnee in 2000, and playing numerous concerts over the past four years throughout Europe, the US, and Asia. schnee_live documents how much their duo has changed since the initial recording of Schnee, which was the first time they ever played together as a duo.
Signal To Noise, Jason Bivins
The prolific Erstwhile label has been at the forefront of electroacoustic improvisation - or simply eai - for several years running. Live recordings have been a staple of Jon Abbey's brainchild since the beginning - as is often the case with improv music, which lives for those coalescences of intense moments - but recently the label has been documenting live music more intensely. Abbey has curated several festivals under the AMPLIFY moniker, one resulting in a box set and one yielding the first four releases of the Erstlive imprint. The Erstlives are semi-regular releases documenting concert recordings, released in a slimline case with a distinctive and consistent graphic style. These festivals like to mix things up, bringing together new configurations of players from the fast-moving scenes feeding into this music or throwing monkey wrenches into relatively settled lineups. On these first four recordings, we get to listen to both approaches, and the results are fantastic.
Each of these releases is a document of the May 2004 AMPLIFY: addition festival in Köln and Berlin, with co-curator Keith Rowe (guitar and electronics) featured on the first two releases.
Schnee was the title of one of the earliest items in the Erstwhile catalogue, a beguiling duo by guitarist Stangl and G3 whiz Kurzmann. This brief 33-minute performance (the final set of the AMPLIFY 2004 festival) is miles away from the flickering candle-flame of that recording. And while the duo's personality - Stangl's melancholy shapes and Kurzmann's slowly billowing atmospherics - is recognizable, the actual formal elements are downright jarring. First of all, there are vocals - half-singing, half-recitations from Kurzmann (who laments the loss of "Tracy," and whose occasional refrains of "sometimes I feel so bad" inevitably recall the VU's "Pale Blue Eyes") and backup vocals by Margareth Kammerer and Adeline Rosenstein and by Stangl too. But there is also a clear segmentation of the piece itself, suggesting a lot of forethought about the structure. Kurzmann bookends his narrations with thick layers of insistent pulse, which buzz as if threatening to cave in on Stangl's resolute lyricism. There are moments where the form seems to break down, where the music seems more like din, but these are unexpectedly followed by strumming open chords and the like. Initially I was entirely uncertain what to make of these juxtapositions. While the Viennese improvising scene hasn't exactly been shy about multimedia or multi-genre projects or for that matter about drawing on idiomatic sources and references (just dig the weird, Weillian flourish at the end of this disc), it took me a while to get into this recording. But ultimately, once I put aside my preconceptions about what I thought Schnee should sound like, I found myself consistently moved by the sadness and the beauty of this performance. There's more than enough stripped-down spectral electroacoustics to satisfy, that much is sure (and, roughly 2/3 of the way through, Stangl actually reaches back to some of his fractured jazz playing for a nifty juxtaposition with Kurzmann's dark loops). But the moments of transition in and out of the textual passages are what compel: the spaces between, the silences and suspensions.