Pech - Reviews

pech RM414 - Room 40 !!! See!!! this record

"Quand un pianiste et un percussionniste se rencontrent, on peut légitimement s'attendre à une litanie de dialogue vitupérant entre les deux instrumentistes, à un enchevêtrement de rythmes et de couleurs. Reinhold Friedl et Michael Vorfeld prennent totalement à contre-pied ce principe dogmatisant en ouvrant Pech sur des visées beaucoup plus expectatives. Epicentre électro-acoustique dans la rencontre de ces deux instruments, Pech est une ¦uvre digressive dans laquelle on glisse lentement, au gré des vibrations paralysantes, des textures crissantes et d'un sentiment général étouffant pour ne pas dire obsédant. Une expérience lancinante et envoûtante dans laquelle on retrouve avec plaisir le pianiste d'avant-garde Reinhold Friedl, mentor de l'ensemble Zeitkratzer et ami de Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Bernard Günther (Trente Oiseaux) ou Masami Akita (Merzbow)."
(http://www.octopus-enligne.com/template.php?css=sommaire&page=oursinse#5)
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"With this new recording German inside pianist Reinhold Friedl and percussionist Michael Vorfeld offer up yet another fine example of exuberantly austere electroacoustic music wherein the full potentialities of the piano -- with nary a key being depressed -- are actuated through numerous preparations and unorthodox performance techniques like rubbing the strings with various devices in order to coax stately harmonic currents and rippling sheets of sound. A languid drone backbone is interspered with controlled bursts of noise as dissonant chords from Vorfeld’s string instruments are slowing drawn out in the opening track, Pech. Keks starts off proceedings with continuous sheets of bowed cymbals; as the track progresses, the underlying resonance gives way – in a most lovely fashion -- to textual hum. At the height of the piece, intricate piano scrapings introduce a note of confusion as well as improvisatory resolve while deftly interweaving with inscrutably low drum smears to form a complex sonic whole. Vorfeld’s work on percussion resembles the textual investigations of fellow improvisors Christian Wolfarth and Eddie Prevost. Torf continues in a similar vein: a rhythmic ebb and flow of sharp metallic sounds flowing into dark pools of discreet beauty that approximate the strange chillness of a shivery soundtrack. A portentous piece built around deep, solemn drum touches, contact-miced frottage and resonating piano gestures, Torf evokes a sense of disquiet in the listener."
(Francisca Monsalve, Loop 6/06)
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"This is music of enormous subtlety, generally slowmoving and studious to avoid extremes of dynamics, but far from introvert and definitely not lowercase. Nor is it lacking in surface incident: "Keks" fairly bristles with activity, a whole ecosystem of tiny inside piano scrabblings, shakes and quivers (one wonders what Günter would make of it, recalling his description of much improvised music as "mice running around in a cheese box"). Vorfeld, like Burkhard Beins, Christian Wolfarth and Steven Hess (to name but three) is a fine example of the post-EAI percussionist: it's no longer about percussion as much as friction. More bows than sticks. Meanwhile Friedl's ear for sonority is as meticulous as his piano preparations. Magnificent stuff."
(http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine/monthly2006/10oct_text.html#4)
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"Der Pianist Reinhold Friedl ist Kopf des Ensembles Zeitkratzer, Michael Vorfeld Perkussionist und baut selbstdesignte Saiteninstrumente. Auf „Pech“ arbeiten die beiden u.a. mit konkreten Klängen der Klaviersaiten und mit dem Bogen gestichenen Becken an Obertönen und fließenden frischen Drones. „Keks“ ist rhythmischer, perkussiver und knackiger, wie schon der Titel andeutet und klinge ein wenig nach Funkenflug, während „Torf“ wieder zu den gestrichenen Tönen zurückkehrt. Abwechslungsreiche Sache, die ich gern mal live erleben würde."
(ASB, Debug 6/2006)
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"…Mit ‚Pech’, ‚Keks’ & ‚Torf’ entwarfen die beiden im Berliner Podewil drei absolut kontrollierte Klangskizzen. Zuerst überwiegend aus spitzen Haltetönen, im Mittelstück mit molekularen Kürzeln, dann erneut mit sägezahnfrequenten Gänsehautreizen, wenn Metall über Metall schleift bis die Trommelfelle trillern und angestrichene Vibrationen die Luft schillern lassen wie eine Benzinlache. Man muss unwillkürliche selbst hysterisch kichern, wenn das Zähnezusammenbeißen nicht mehr hilft. Adornos Grimasse möchte ich sehen, wenn er sein Diktum „Mehr Lust ist bei der Dissonanz als bei der Konsonanz“ derart in die Tat umgesetzt gehört hätte. Aber so sei es: „Das Schneidende wird, dynamisch geschärft, in sich und vom Einerlei des Affirmativen unterschieden, zum Reiz; und dieser Reiz kaum weniger als der Ekel vorm positiven Schwachsinn gleitet die neue Kunst in ein Niemandsland, stellvertretend für die bewohnbare Erde.“ Last Exit Utopia."
(Bad Alchemy No.50, 4/06)
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"The Berlin duo of Reinhold Friedl and Michael Vorfeld have been active for half a decade or so. Best known as the director of Zeitkratzer, Friedl works with prepared piano. Vorfeld derives a lot of his sounds from bowing techniques, using percussion and stringed instruments of his own design. On the title track the music is gradual, achieving its effects slowly over 20 minutes. It is unsurprising, perhaps, that an early Friedl/Vorfeld release was on the trente oiseaux label, at the time known for electronic minimalism; Friedl and Vorfeld went on to make a powerful recording with trente oiseaux’s Bernhard Günter. Encamped towards the upper end of the sound spectrum, their music relies more on extended tones and shifting atmospheres than on the mutual interrogation of the Improv duo tradition. Each of Pech’s three long pieces develops a particular atmosphere but remains assertive and clearly defined. It’s hard to determine to what degree the music is predetermined. Pech strikes the listener as sound foremost, rather than playing. „Keks“ ist the only piece in which conventional percussion, in the sense of struck objects, plays a prominent role. This is combined with high-pitched tangles of in-piano tones from Friedl and passes through a sequence of related episodes. The third and strongest track, „Torf“, rides on some beautifully executed scraping sounds. It’s a captivationg piece, an assembly of drifting abrasions and microtonal shimmers that retains a recalcitrant sharp edge."
(The Wire 5/2006 by Will Montgomery)
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