fascinating approaches to percussion. Polwechsel, the
Austrian group, has been at the forefront of new approaches to both
instruments and sound arrangement since their landmark 1995
After several lineup changes, the group has now coalesced around two of
the world's most fascinating drummers: London phenom Burkhard Beins and
Martin Brandlmayr, best known for his contributions to the seminal
electronic/noise/post-rock/? group Radian. Carefully layering
precise starts and stops, Polwechsel lets us hear the grit and friction
of contrast, deceptively masked behind a "cool" exterior.
Somehow, Will Guthrie has discovered the perfect intersection between
noise, electro-acoustic improvisation, musique concrete, and his own
background as a jazz drummer. Using an array of cheap microphones
and radios to amplify and augment his simple percussion setup, Guthrie
evokes a world where all your home electronics might come alive and
then have the good taste to just sound right. A busy, shifting,
textured, yes-maybe-even-with-a-bit-of-"swing", one man band.
"With “Archives of the North” (Hat
Hut), its third album, the group has reached a state of refined
grace. It now has the drummers Burkhard Beins and Martin
Brandlmayr, the saxophonist John Butcher, the bassist Werner
Dafeldecker, and Michael Moser on cello and computer. Working
together, they make the most beautiful bowings and chimings and
scrapings, blending them so that it all becomes one fluid motion.
It’s lovely music that some people might not call music at all.
-Ben Ratliff, the New York Times
"There’s almost ceaseless activity,
constantly churning, as one has the impression of peering into some
alien hive bubbling with industry. He has a marvelous ability to
coalesce a wealth of seemingly casual sounds, events that have no
apparent relationship, into an entirely convincing, cohesive whole." - Brian
Guthrie - "Eleven"
Matt Earle / Will Guthrie / Adam Sussmann - "Bridges 3" excerpt
Of all music, it was difficult to foresee that free
improvisation, traditionally the music of abundance––indeed even of
excess––could become the main setting for reductive strategies. After
all, historical ensembles such as Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova
Consonanza and AMM, both products of the sixties’ (counter) culture,
had already demonstrated the aesthetic fruitfulness of reductive
approaches to real-time music, decades earlier. But they remained
secondary voices in the concerto of improvisational emancipation,
drowned out by high-powered, vociferous free jazz. In the nineties,
however, two things came together in improvised music: a rediscovery of
those ignored voices; and an intense, renewed reception of contemporary
composed music’s soundworld—in particular, the reductive approaches of
Morton Feldman and Giacinto Scelsi, but also the rich noise-world of
Helmut Lachenmann’s scores.
Founded in 1993 in
Vienna, Polwechsel was
one of the first ‘improvisation in a new reductionist spirit’
ensembles, and was certainly one of the most closely-followed.
Especially since, over the years, the quartet not only successfully
managed to create a bracket for new improvised and composed music, but
also to integrate newer forms of electronic music, particularly those
which had been developed in the Vienna club scene by musicians such as
Christian Fennesz or Christof Kurzmann (with whom the Polwechsel
protagonists quickly entered into creative collaboration).
It shouldn't be
forgotten that one of the participants in the first Polwechsel
«pressing» was possibly the most radical reductionist of
contemporary music: Radu Malfatti (his spot was later occupied by
London saxophonist John Butcher).
Polwechsel is an
ensemble that is usually characterized as an improv band—a
classification that probably reflects the socio-musical background of
most of its members, more than the music. Just about anyone would find
the Polwechsel CDs’ composer credits perplexing: only two pieces on the
CDs to date are identified as collective efforts, the remainder are
attributed to individual Polwechsel musicians. And when one delves into
the music itself, its austerity and precision makes its genesis in free
improvised music seem unlikely—while at the same time, it is evident
that the Pol-wechsel-Komponisten [trsl. ‘Pole-switching-composers’]
integrate the idiosyncratic playing of their experienced improvising
colleagues into their compositional methodology. This methodology
simultaneously reveals a reductive aesthetic, and made Polwechsel one
of the most influential inter-national ensembles of the end of the last
century: that such inveterate improvisers knew how to circumvent the
abundance of their vocabularies so sparingly and precisely, and how to
insert their personal sounds in a disciplined way, without
self-indulgence, into a group context, was truly a revelation for many
listeners and fellow-musicians.
consideration, despite the fact that Polwechsel performs with
stopwatches and scores quite conspicuously, the reporters at new music
festivals where Polwechsel has given guest performances continually
lapsed into the mechanism of viewing the quartet as bizarre debris from
the improvisation world, and made corresponding (clueless) comments
about the music. The presence of a saxophone or a "prepared table-top
guitar" (à la Fred Frith) were apparently enough to signify,
beyond a doubt, that this could not possibly be a "serious" new music
Peter Niklas Wilson (translated by
Friederike Kulcsar and Chiyoko Szlavnics)
BURKHARD BEINS - percussion and objects
*1964, lives in Berlin
Since the late 1980´s international festivals, concerts and tours
with experimental music as a composer/performer throughout Europe and
overseas. He is a member of several ensembles like Perlonex, Activity
Center, Polwechsel, Trio Sowari, Phosphor, and also works with Keith
Rowe, Sven-Åke Johansson, Orm Finnendahl, Charlemagne Palestine,
Phil Minton, and many others.
Meanwhile he has released more than 30 CDs and LPs on labels like 2:13
Music, Zarek, Erstwhile, Hat Hut, Potlatch, Absinth or Confront.
„ ...simply one of the most imaginative percussionists around, indeed
making the tag 'percussionist' seem hopelessly deficient."
- All Music Guide -
"Beins transforms percussions fundamentally into resonators aimed at
amplifying the sound produced by a series of different objects. "
- Musiche -
„One of the strengths of Beins' playing is his ear for the strange."
- The Wire –
„Burkhard Beins has proven to be one of those players delivering
consistently intriguing releases."
- Signal To Noise -
Bands and projects: Radian, Trapist, Kapital band , Polwechsel
Collaborations with Siegrun Appelt, Burkhard Beins, Tony Buck, John
Butcher, Peter Brandlmayr, Nicholas Bussmann, Werner Dafeldecker, Dieb
13, Axel Dörner, Christian Fennesz, Franz Hautzinger, Gina Hell,
Florian Kmet, Christof Kurzmann, Klaus Lang,Toshimaru Nakamura, Andrea
Neumann, Pure, Rashim, Sachiko M, Stefan Schneider, Martin Siewert,
Burkhard Stangl, John Tilbury, Void, Joe Williamson, Otomo
Artist in residence 2002 in Podewil, Berlin
Soundinstallation Maag Areal Zurich 2003
honorary mention ars electronica 2002 (for Radian tg11) und 2005 ( for
Kapital band 1"2cd")
Transmediale ( Berlin, d) , Domino festival ( Brussels, be),
Donaueschinger Musiktage, Konfrontationen Nickelsdorf( Nickelsdorf,
aut), Ideal festival ( Gothenburg, swe), Maerz-Musik (Berlin, d),
Pukkelpop (Hasselt, nl), Music Unlimeted (Wels, aut), Taktlos
(Zuerich/Basel, s ), Kaleidophon (Ulrichsberg, aut), Sonar (Barcelona,
esp), Mutek (Montreal, can), Mutek (Mexico city, mex)
Avanto festival (Helsinki, fin), Netmage (Bologna, it), Deaf Festival
WSJD festival (Warszawa, pl), Ertz festival ( Bera, esp ), All
tomorrows Parties ( Camber sands, gb) Sajeta festival (Ljubljana, slo),
Dispatch festival (belgrade , yu ), Offf festival (Valencia, esp)
Boreal festival(Bergen, nor), Electronic spring (Madrid, esp), Wiener
Festwochen (Vienna, aut) , Ars Electronica (Linz), Gaudeamus muziekweek
(Amsterdam), Musikprotokoll/Steirischer Herbst (Graz/Austria),
Atlantico 99 (Lisbon), ....
freelance musician, composer and producer. concentrating on
improvisation, eletronic music and cross-over projects. a longtime
sound research, pure acoustic research, and the creation of a personal
sound archive are the basis for his work.
co founder of polwechsel and durian records.
performances, and comissions:
kammermusiktage witten; berliner festspiele märz musik; sound
field festival chicago; wien modern; festival hörgänge;
musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst; what is music festival australia;
international music festival vancouver; international festival
victoriaville/canada; lmc festival london; dundee media festival;
ultraschall festival berlin; swr freiburg new-music meeting; salzburger
sound installations: wien modern, sammlung essl,
music for film: gustav deutsch - film.ist 7-12
work as a producer for durian records and other labels like morr music,
hat.hut, mosz. kranky.
luc ferrari, john tilbury, otomo yoshihide, sachiko m, john butcher,
franz hautzinger, david sylvian, christian fennesz, gene coleman, jim o
rourke, tony buck, klangform wien, patrick pulsinger, burkhard stangl,
eugene chadbourne, dean roberts, radu malfatti, taku sugimoto, and many
_________________________________ MICHAEL MOSER
*1959 in graz, austria .studied cello in graz and vienna,he is
intensively engaged with different forms of contemporary music.
performances with live-electronics. numerous pieces for cello solo have
been composed at his suggestion.
he has collaborated with distinguished artists such as peter ablinger,
bernhard lang, isabel mundry, helmut lachenmann, alvin lucier, klaus
lang, otomo yoshihide, pauline olivieros,
elliott sharp, nick collins, michael maierhof, phill niblock, tony
oxley, zeitkratzer, polwechsel, klangforum wien.
michael moser played at numerous festivals for contemporary and
International Actual Music Festival Victoriaville, Canada
musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst
Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik
Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik
Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon, Ulrichsberg Oö,
Du Maurier international Jazz Festival Vancouver
LMC Festival of experimental music London Australian
Guthrie uses home-made instruments, amplified found and junk,
microphones & electronics alongside more conventional drums and
cymbals. Originally a drummer he has worked in many different settings
of music: live performance, improvisation, studio composition.
In Australia and France he organizes concerts and also runs the
experimental improvised CD label and mailorder service; ANTBOY MUSIC.
Regular collaborators past and present include Matthew Earle, Adam
Sussmann, Ferran Fages, Jean-Philippe Gross, Greg Kingston, Helmut
Schaefer, Julien Ottavi, Manu Leduc, Keith Rowe, Jerome Noetinger,
Sébastien Coste, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Robbie Avenaim, Erell
Latimier, Jim Denley, Ren Walters, Clayton Thomas, Mark Simmonds, Snuff