zeitkratzer directed by Reinhold Friedl
Burkhard Schlothauer < violin || Michael Moser < violoncello || Alexander Frangenheim < double bass || Reinhold Friedl < piano || Luca Venitucci < accordion || Ray Kaczynski < percussion || Ulrich Krieger < saxophones || Franz Hautzinger < trumpet || Melvyn Poore < tuba ||
Merzbow < electronics , 
Dror Feiler < conducter 
recorded live at Podewil, Berlin 2001; mixed by Marcus Waibel & Reinhold Friedl, produced by René Liebermann
my first motivation for creating sound was anti-use of electric equipment - broken tape recorder, broken guitar, amp etc. I thought I could get a secret voice from equipment itself when I lost control. that sound is unconsciousness, libido of equipment. for me, noise is the most erotic form of sound...that's why all of my works relate to the erotic.
there is no difference between noise and music in my work. I have no idea what you term "Music" and "Noise". I wanted to compose real surrealistic music in a non-musical way. surrealism is also reaching unconsciousness. noise is the primitive and collective consciousness of music. my composition is automatism, not improvisation.
masami akita a.k.a. Merzbow
contemporary classical music is a nearly perfect system of academic, conservative and restorative attitudes. being such a hermetical, disciplined, refined and hierarchic tradition, it allows very little freedom of choices and because of this so restrictive nature it hardly permits any expansion at all. as a tradition - it's a pure embodiment of 19th century culture and thought. what music needs in order to detach itself and expand from 19th and 20th centuries formulas is a shock - a total dissolution and break up with the classical structures and hierarchies. This is happening already since many years in various areas of experimental music - whatever you want to call it - noise, glitch, industrial, drone etc.
being so open and free and relatively easy to do, and because of this, inviting so much talent (contrary to classical music which is still considered to be very difficult to make), experimental music constantly manages to renew itself - while academic classical contemporary music is rather dead since many years.
the concept of zeitkratzer and their working methods is a very important, creative and competent attempt between these two worlds and on expanding our perception about what music is and will/can be. It might be just what music needs today.
the most immediately audible characteristic of my music is its noisiness. abrasive, loud, fast. the textures are never sweet or satisfying in the conventional sense; one has only to hear the primal screams "pig iron" to realize that neither a pathetic classical prettiness nor a pretentious romantic resolution has any place in those works of music, except as an antagonism. nor do these works admit the conventions of modern and contemporary chamber music unproblematically.
the intuitive molten metal brutality of the music brings the player into a new energy. a new music is created, a new speed of thinking and feeling where the intellect meets manic raver.
noise, in the widest possible sense, is one of the central elements in my music. the abrasive raucousness, in the music is an attempt to alter how people hear. noise, as sound out of its familiar context, is confrontational, affective and transformative. It has shock value, and defamiliarizes the listener who expects from music an easy fluency, a secure familiarity, or any sort of mollification. noise politicizes the aural environment.
the music is difficult in the sense that adorno finds schoenberg's music difficult - not because it is pretentious or obscure, but because it demands active participation from the listener (as well as from the players, who are themselves listeners). as organized sound, this music demands from the very beginning active and concentrated listening, the most acute attention to simultaneous multiplicity, the renunciation of the customary crutches of a listening which always knows what to expect and the intensive perception of the unique and the specific. the more it gives to listeners, the less it offers them. it requires the listener spontaneously to compose its inner movement and demands of him not mere contemplation but praxis.
zeitkratzer first appeared on the scene in 1997 with a provocative agenda, and perhaps just because of this, the experiment looks all the more promising. With its ensemble structure and new modes of artistic collaboration, zeitkratzer sets itself apart from the ubiquitous “ensemble musicians’ groups” of the day, signaling both a departure from the standard repertoire of the past century and a recouping of the essential normality of the “composer/performer” as practiced for centuries from bach to webern. compositions are created in direct collaboration between the musicians and the composers, sound sculptors or electronic artists. and not only the academically ordained are invited - in essence, zeitkratzer is not about notation or concept, but sound and music. artists such as merzbow (aka masami akita), one of the leading figures of japanese noise, bernhard guenter, perhaps the most radical among the young electronic artists, lou reed, or lee ranaldo of sonic youth - all of whom formerly had nothing to do with ensemble composition - work with zeitkratzer.
the notion that the traditional concert form may also be augmented by lighting technology, video or theatrical resources is just as integral to the concept as, conversely, pieces such as sprachlos (“speechless”) by radu malfatti, a work that evokes an almost excessively sacred concert character. the foundation for the working approach of this ensemble - that has been brought together from across europe - is provided by the highly evolved, individually perfected performance techniques of the musicians, their rapport with electronics and technology and their hybrid background experiences that extend from improvised to contemporary art music, from jazz to experimental rock and pop, from noise to ambient.
it is this courage to lay bare musical disparities that characterizes the repertoire of zeitkratzer, a repertoire that has, in the meantime, become quite extensive. over forty musicians and composers have worked for and with zeitkratzer, among them, keith rowe (AMM), laurie schwartz, radu malfatti, nicolas collins, phill niblock, lou reed, nico richter de vroe, mario bertoncini (nuova consonanza), merzbow, marcus schmickler, bernhard guenter, dror feiler, lee ranaldo (sonic youth), elliott sharp, john duncan, ...
elke moltrecht, music curator at podewil berlin
released June 3, 2002
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