Au Défaut du Silence - Reviews

Cover - Au Défaut du Silence TOCO16 - Trente Oiseaux !!!See!!! this record

"... and just came in the Reinhold Friedl/ Michael Vorfeld “au defaut du silence” cd on trente, using inside piano (the 1st) & percussion & string instruments (the 2nd) create a breathtaking atmosphere, that made this cd playing & playing & playing maniacally on my cd player even now that I write this lines, cannot find words to describe my feelings for this, absolutely recommended!"
(Absurd #7)

"Nachhören, schweben, der Entwicklung freien Lauf lassen. Unerhörte Klänge aus dem Innern eines Klaviers mischen sich und verschmelzen mit Percussionklängen. Musik am Rande denkbarer Klänge."
(Martin Hufner, taktlos - see jazzzeitung)

"This recording for Bernhard Günters trente oiseaux imprint will do nothing to deflect the critical acclaim accruing around Berlin based pianist/composer Reinhold Friedl and his ensemble Zeitkratzer (see The Wire 215), whose most recent activities include scored performances of Lou Reed‘s atonal screechfest Metal Machine Music. This duo recording hardly offers a more intimate or revealing setting from which to approach Friedl‘s work. Nor do the minimal sleeve credits — “Friedl: inside piano, Vorfeld: percussion and stringed instruments“ — tell you much about the sensory and categorical dislocations so effortlessly effected by the music within.
Literally playing it from the inside, Friedl‘s approach to performance launches his prepared instrument into a soundworld utterly removed from those originally discovered by prepared piano pioneer John Cage. Strings are plucked, picked, stroked or hit by hand or a variety of wooden or metal sticks and mallets. But, remarkably, the resulting sounds absent themselves wholly from their acoustic instrumental source, projecting the listener into a situation in which, as Günther has noted, any anticipated distinctions between instrumental and electroacoustic music, or between improvisation and composition, are dissolved or transcended. The unearthly sounds exorcised from Friedl‘s piano are matched by the hugely sympathetic and no less disorientating contributions of Michael Vorfeld an his self-designed stringed instruments, his playing methods every bit as obtuse and surprising as Friedl‘s.
The opening 27 minute cut, “Smooth Attack“, begins with bowed gong-like sounds, from which the duo gradually elicit terse, sinewy and, at times, harshly abrasive sonorities, whose internal dynamics determine both composition and performance. The duo‘s apparent evacuation of performance and personality from an otherwise improvised music forcefully directs the ear solely towards the internal movement of sound. lndeed, the balance between Friedl and Vorfeld is at times so perfectly poised that it allows each to efface himself out of the process of the music‘s performance."
(Stephen Robinson, The Wire 5/2002)

"It is rare to find an all-acoustic album on Trente Oiseaux, a label more closely related to lowercase sound art, but the music of Reinhold Friedl and Michael Vorfeld fits this aesthetic without a doubt. Friedl plays the inside of a piano, scraping the strings, playing them like the strangest zither, using techniques also common to Sophie Agnel and Andrea Neumann. Vorfeld, whose work has been previously documented on the label NURNICHTNUR, is a cross between percussionist Burkhard Beins and string-instrument inventor Stephan Froleyks. He bows cymbals to create shimmering sounds filled with overtones and plays "stringed instruments" -- telling one from the other can be very difficult. The three pieces heard here were recorded in the studio during February 2001. They move slowly, presenting fragile soundscapes focused on the high-end range of the human ear, overtones blending in a fascinating way. Au Défaut du Silence can be seen as an extension of the duet format heard on Vorfeld's earlier 3" CD Von Wellen und Anderen Teilchen. The presence of Friedl, whose activity is more detectable, brings the music closer to free improv, because the listener remains conscious of the here and now, a reality the percussionist's angelic music alone escapes. "Smooth Attack" is a long piece exploring various micro-possibilities between the two players. "Eaves" sticks to a more homogenous drone, while the short closing "Au Défaut du Silence" features pizzicato playing from Friedl."
(François Couture, All Music Guide)

"The most intriguing development, however, is Trente Oiseaux’s gradual departure from its long-held “composition only” approach. Indeed, the recent release of Au Defaút du Silence , an album of cello and inner piano improvisations by Zeitkratzer members Michael Vorfeld and Reinhold Friedl, hints at exciting new frontiers for the label and perhaps offering a buffer from the sort of dogmatic thinking that mires other strongly conceptual labels."
(Joe Panzner, Stylusmagazine)

"Released late last year, Au défaut du silence represents something of a departure for Trente Oiseaux in that it appears that no computers were used in the making of this music. Reinhold Friedl performs on inside piano, while Michael Vorfeld performs on percussion and stringed instruments. The first piece, "smooth attack," is also the longest at just under 30 minutes. It begins slowly, gently, with delicate harmonic strains drifting in and out of earshot (my guess is that their instruments are bowed). The strains slowly intensify, and without you realizing it, you're in the thick of an intense friction between current and countercurrent, a haunting display of sharp harmonic elements. The second piece takes on different characteristics, the sound elements implying more of a playfulness (but engaged in a serious sort of play) as they mingle with each other in soft, subtle tones over a wide expanse of silence. Here the dominant sounds are not sustained as in the first piece (although there is a lot of that still going on, a swirling presence flowing throughout the piece in intervals), but the sounds are more brief, like gentle taps, short but intense sounds and more erratic movements of shrill, sharp scraping sounds. The third piece is short (under four minutes), and plays with rhythmic, melodic elements, without conforming to any single form. Listening to these pieces over the past few weeks, I have been captivated by their combinations and subtle touches, the way the harmonies play off each other, creating haunting, intense moods full of beautiful, demanding sound."
(Richard di Santo, Incursion Music Review)