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Burkhard Stangl, Dieb13


Label: Erstwhile Records

Format: CD

Genre: Jazz

In stock

One of the central aesthetics of the Erstwhile label is the counterpositioning of electronic and acoustic improvisers. Rarely has that been more starkly, and beautifully, achieved than on the opening and closing tracks of eh by guitarist Stangl and turntablist/electronicist Dieb13 (Dieter Kovacic). Stangl is one of a handful of contemporary free improv musicians who happily forays into tonal, even melodic spheres, conjuring up a reduced version of John Fahey, perhaps. On "eeeh", his delicate strummings operate in tandem with subtle electronic scurrying underneath as Dieb13 probes the pastoral veneer, seeking and eventually finding fissures through which to erupt. When, near the end of the piece, he bursts forth, it's as though a flood of long-pent natural phenomena have established an equilibrium; not a conquest, but a rapprochement. This and the final track serve as brackets for eight explorations into more overtly abstract and no less fascinating territory. In these pieces, determining which musician is responsible for what sounds is fruitless. There are fewer recognizable guitar notes here, Stangl presumably using other devices, and a seamless, rumbling unity is attained, sonically sometimes in the vicinity of Xenakis' electronic works but, and this is crucial, entirely improvised. Listeners who enjoy that composer's "Bohor" will get a similar kick out of "ehhh"'s harsh, metal-tearing roar. Throughout, Dieb13 displays an extraordinary imagination in his choices. Still, one gets the impression he's merely dipped into his sound repository, that there remains an ocean of them waiting their turn to be heard. When, after a pause, the final cut arrives, Stangl's soft, pure guitar is strolling hand in hand with the tiny pings and scratches of his partner, ambling into the ether. eh is a superb recording, demonstrating once again, as if it's still needed, the rich and limitless range of freely improvised music in the 21st century. (All Music Guide, Brian Olewnick)
Cat. number: erstwhile 025
Year: 2003