PHYSICAL | CD
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Kurt Liedwart, a Moscow-based musician and curator of Mikroton Recordings, developed his own art and sound that cross genres, mixing music practices such as electroacoustic and improvised music, noise and glitch, and art movements such as actionism and Fluxus. He plays a wide-ranging array of instruments such as analog synthesizers, electronics, light-controlled electronics, electromagnetic devices, laptop, sinewaves, field recordings, percussion processed electronically in real time.
“Tone” harnesses the radical aesthetic, knowledge and experience in extreme and reductionist electronics, sometimes coming over to melodic lands, and lies together different and disparate threads of underground movements to create a personal journey through multiplicity of intense abstract layers of electronic and synthetic madness, sometimes conjuring relaxed atmospheres of dronescapes, and cryptic songs.
And finally there are two new releases by label boss Kurt Liedwart, who is also active as a musician, although not always on his own label. Of his own work he says that he is working with “art and sound that cross genres, mixing music practices such as electroacoustic and improvised music, noise and glitch, and art movements such as actionism and Fluxus” and he works with “analogue synthesizers, electronics, light-controlled electronics, electromagnetic devices, laptop, sine waves, field recordings, percussion processed electronically in real time”. First there is the CD ‘Tone’, which is about extreme and reductionist electronics, but also with melodies. If one is to think of Mikroton as a label for improvised music than this is the sort of thing that proofs you wrong. Maybe some of the playing is improvised but through editing Liedwart composed long form pieces of radical electronic music, in which there is indeed place for a melody, traces of rhythm and extreme frequencies from the world of noise music, especially in the second piece, ’Tonen’. While that is a most enjoyable tonal outburst I preferred the other pieces on the CD. These aren’t in the same ballpark volume wise, and offer a more detailed look into the machines Liedwart is using. These are shimmering dark pieces of electronic sounds intertwined, with an odd half-baked melody being eating away by a computer virus, or a looped sound of bytes that got stuck in the hard drive. It’s here that Liedwart shows the most variation and while not always very quiet, it works simply well here than in a sonic overkill.
Mikrotons Kurator Vlad Kudryavtsev (*1977 in Moskau), besser bekannt unter dem wundersamen Namen KURT LIEDWART, nutzt bei seinem Alleingang Tone (mikroton cd 70) allerhand Naturwissenschaft: Radiowellen, Elektromagnetismus, Elektronik, Klangsynthese. Für impulsive Bruitistik, Noisewirbel, Rauschwolken, punktierte Tonketten, kontrolliertes Chaos. Als prasselnde und dröhnende Action, mit perkussiven Schlägen und rumorendem Bodensatz, tudelig, pointillistisch tuckernd und groovy, aber auch dröhnambient mit weichen Dunkelwellen und sirrendem Halteton hinter rauschenden Schleierwolken oder als Kling- und Dröhnklang wie unter Wasser. Trotz andauernder Repetitionen scheint 'Minimal' dafür nicht passend, dennoch verbindet Liedwart Stagnationen und Variationen zu Mustern, etwa dem kreisenden Klopfzeichen bei 'Tonene'. 'Tonenen' ist wie mit scharrendem Metallstichel gepflügt, dazu wuppert bei jeder Drehung die Plattennadel über ein Hindernis. Wenn es nicht pulst, so loopt es doch. Dann mischt sich zu mehrspurig kreisendem Allerlei ein 'Harmonika'-Klang, abgelöst von klackenden Rotationen zu einer bedröhnten Wummerwelle und Radiostörungen. Ist ein ständiges Kratzen Rhythmik? Das Gedudel dazu ist nicht unpoppig, wird aber ausgelöscht durch eine brachiale Noiseattacke und den hakenden Beat einer Endlosrille in einer brummigen Störzone, die Liedwart tüpfelig und mit schiefen hellen Tönen ausschmückt.
Kurt Liedwart continues to issue high-quality items of electronic music, improvisation and contemporary escapades on his excellent Mikroton Label operating out of Russia. On this latest batch which we received 13 March 2018, I notice the cover designs have become less geometric, less abstract (sometimes), and even admitting pictorial imagery into the scheme. The powers that be might take a dim view of this artistic compromise; personally I welcome it.
For his new solo release, called simply Tone (MIKROTON CD 70), there are two monochrome photographs that wouldn’t have been ashamed if they were invited to a conceptual cocktail party in the 1970s at the Whitechapel, hosted by Richard Long and Ian Hamilton Finlay. One of them might be a bleak snowy landscape, the other the detail from a crumpled black bin bag. Photographer Serge Kolosov pointed the lens of his KMZ Zorki at these subjects. Musically, Tone is one of Liedwart’s most varied and maximal statements, proving to be highly productive in the department of strange, intriguing and mystifying electronic emissions. Track 2 ‘Tonen’ is especially exciting and unpredictable and most resembles the effect when you throw hot pancake mix onto an oily skillet. Check out that bubbling batter. Track 3 ‘Tonene’ however is much more reflective as it ponders the grey fate cast by the day or days to come (bad weather or unmanaged politicians – you decide). Track 1 and Track 4 make extensive use of radio signals to create murmuring abstract burrs, but there is I think some actual synth-playing on Track 5 ‘Tonenene’ on top of the rich bed of burbling noise and textures. Rarely heard such a forlorn and pained tone emerging from an analogue synth device. Also appearing on the record are “electromagnetic devices” and “light-controlled electronics”, which no boy scout should leave home without if they want to find their way back to the camp in time for the evening sing-song through voice vocoders. Kurt himself describes this fine release as “a personal journey through multiplicity of intense abstract layers of electronic and synthetic madness”. I’ll go along with that – anything “personal” scores points with me, likewise anyone who admits to flirting with insanity.