JUNK & THE BEAST: PETR VRBA & VERONIKA MAYERTrailer
PHYSICAL | CD
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Petr Vrba explores non-idiomatic improvisation using trumpets, clarinets, vibrating speakers and other electronics which made him one of the most active experimental musicians in Prague. He works with a lot of projects like Prague Improvisation Orchestra, Poisonous Frequencies, NOIZ, Doppeltrio, Rouilleux and Junk & The Beast.
Veronika Mayer is a composer, musician and sound artist from Vienna. Pure sounds, natural given phenomena and material are the basis for her work, always emphasizing hardly perceptible elements, giving it a reduced but essential form and very clear structures, following the characteristics and inner behaviour of the sound itself. In her electronic performances and instrumental works she explores the continuous evolvement and expansion of single grains of sound. Focusing on the striking results of very smooth and minimal changes in sound manipulation, she observes the slightest differences and variations during these processes of manipulation.
“Trailer” researches the combination of textural materials crossing them with vibrations of objects on the speakers, pure sound waves, feedbacks, tones coming from trumpet, accordion, electronics, and laptop culminating in creation of a muscular frenetic soup and tense energy fields.
So for the next one I decided to pick one that looked a bit puzzling. Is the artist Junk & The Beast, or is Petr Vrba and Veronika Mayer; or perhaps both? Very vaguely, somewhere in the back of my head it said that I heard these names before. Vrba hails from Prague is a trumpet player, clarinet player and he also uses vibrating speakers and in one piece thermos flasks, whereas Mayer is from Vienna and plays electronics and accordion. They are both active as composers, improvisers and sound artists. On ‘Trailer’ they explore the “combination of textural materials crossing them with vibrations of objects on the speakers, pure sound waves, feedbacks, tones coming from trumpet, accordion, electronics and laptop, culminating in creation of muscular frenetic soup and tense energy fields”. As much as the Lehn/Schmickler release is a burst of energy, this is the all-silent approach, the Zen listening experience. The music here, spread out over four pieces is all about controlling a few sounds, carefully balancing them, letting them hang around and then slowly playing them out. Scratching the surface sounds perhaps negative, but that’s what they do. They touch, lightly upon a surface, whether this is the surface of their instrument(s) or tables, floors or whatever, being made audible by speakers emitting low-end frequencies, and adding very sparse sounds produced by hands and mouths. This is not music one can put on for some pleasant background sound, but something for your full and unlimited concentration, so that it can unfold all that is hidden in here. Very beautiful, and one feels very tired yet rewarded afterwards.