A Closer Listen reviews Hanno Leichtmann’s Nouvelle Aventure: Some expressions of dissent intrigue. Others explode. Granted access to the sound archive at Darmstadt International Summer Courses, a school known for its pioneering role in 20th-century classical music, electronic musician Hanno Leichtmann creates a subtle storm with Nouvelle Aventure. As an homage to Darmstadt serialist composers, Nouvelle Aventure‘s meta-narrative on sound synthesis applies parameters—such as speed, amplitude, playback direction—to the 79-year library of lectures and concert recordings.
Cutting samples into new shapes, “Kristallische Bindung” lurches in spasms between plucked violin and door slams. Soaring vocals loop into a jolting note on “Spelbstbespiegelung,” trailing percussive clatterings. Elsewhere, washing machines tumble with operatic vocals; atonal keyboards perforate lecture samples; tipsy tuba showers in squishy FX. There is a method in the madness. And the madness is a message. John Cage, a composer who made chance-determined music, articulates the album’s thesis on “Oberlippentarf”: “When we separate music and life what we get is art.”
As a revisioning of history, Leichtmann focuses less on sound events themselves than on their configuration. Elevating curation to dramaturgy, Nouvelle Adventure replaces personal therapy with social commentary. In light of pervasive curatorial methods of our time—iTunes playlists, self-selected news sources, and social media algorithms—it is a practice we enact daily. And it is a practice enacted upon us, with or without our consideration. (Todd B. Gruel)
A Closer Listen reviews Audrey Chen’s Runt Vigor:
Audrey Chen wouldn’t consider her work to be politically motivated. Yet there’s something radical about how far Runt Vigor advances her peculiar music language. Refusing to lay still or to play fetch, her improvisations confound with their sheer physicality: wordless vocals ululate arcane shapes, vibrate beside cello and synthesizer. Although Chen has a classical conservatory background, having performed oratorio throughout her adolescence, the immediacy of her sonic rituals cannot be conceived by a written score.
“Heavy” writhes with Chen’s pliable vocals: gasps, gurgles, slurps, and chirps. “In The” adds sweltering synth to her signature growls. The subterranean “Mouth” blurs bowed strings and half-articulated vocalisms. 20-minute closer “Heavy In The Hand” burns uneasily, crackling and flaring in each passing breeze.
Tasking music with more than entertainment, Runt Vigor showcases Chen’s discipline of sound making as life-affirming medicine. Defying ideologies, one can’t help thinking that if every citizen were as awakened to the crossing of art and life, alive to their latent creativity, then the world would benefit from such courage. (Todd B. Gruel)
Karlrecords double-record-release w/ Hanno Leichtmann, Audrey Chen and Nørstebø/Loxbo
Wednesday, 14.11.2018 | Doors 19:30 CET | Starts 20:00 CET
KM28 | Karl-Marx-Str 28 | 12043 Berlin