CATALOG: mikroton cd 89 | 90
RELEASE: October 2019
Joke Lanz turntables
Jason Kahn modular synthesizer, radio, mixer
Norbert Möslang cracked everyday_electronics
Günter Müller ipods, electronics
Christian Weber bass, revolver
Disc 1 was recorded 25.09.18 by Kurt Liedwart in Kaliningrad
Disc 2 was recorded 28.09.18 by Maxim Khaikin in Moscow
Both at Mikroton Mikroten Festival
Mixed and mastered by Norbert Möslang
Graphic designer Kurt Liedwart
Produced by Kurt Liedwart and Sergey Kolosov
In 2018 Mikroton Mikroten Festival offered a special occasion to record five important musicians from the Swiss experimental music scene.
Joke Lanz was born in Basel in 1965 and now lives in Berlin. He is a pioneer of the electronic independent scene and a crossover artist whose work spans improvised and experimental music, noise and turntablism, performance art and musique concrète. In addition to theatre and film music, radio works, installations and objects, there are two constants in his work: turntablism – making music by manipulating vinyl records; and his action project “Sudden Infant”, which was transformed into a trio in 2014 after 25 years as a one-man operation. “kangaroo_kitchen” is his first album on Mikroton.
Originally from Los Angeles, multiinstrumentalist Jason Kahn has lived in Europe since 1990, he plays a wide range of instruments like percussion, drums, synthesizer, laptop, guitar, and voice. He has performed or recorded with musicians such as Günter Müller, Norbert Möslang, Kim Cascone, Arnold Dreyblatt, Steve Roden, Dieb13, Richard Francis, Ryu Hankil, Jon Mueller, z’ev and many others. He ran the Cut label from 1997 to 2008, releasing 25 albums. “Kangaroo_kitchen” is his sixth album on Mikroton after “Limmat” with Günter Müller and Christian Wolfarth, “Planes” with Asher, "Five Lines" with Casey Anderson, Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller and Mark Trayle, “teplo_dom” and “Instants // Paris” with MKM.
Norbert Möslang had been playing in Voice Crack duo with Andy Guhl in 1972-2002, they’ve been working with “cracked everyday-electronics”, modifying and recontextualising the use of home electronics. After the split he continued working solo and in different musical combinations using “cracked everyday-electronics”. He released numerous solo albums as well as collaborations with Günter Müller, Jason Kahn, Ralf Wehowsky, Tomas Korber, Aube, Christian Weber, Katsura Yamauchi. He is a part of Signal Quintet and MKM. “kangaroo_kitchen” is his seventh album on Mikroton after “Ground” with Kurt Liedwart and Günter Müller, "Stodgy" with eRikm, "Five Lines" with Casey Anderson, Jason Kahn, Günter Müller and Mark Trayle, “sale_interiora” with Kurt Liedwart and Ilia Belorukov, and “teplo_dom” and “Instants // Paris” with MKM.
Günter Müller, formerly a percussionist and known for his unique explorations of the possibilities of drums and percussion using electronic devices and self-built instruments, now concentrates on his setup of two iPods and electronics. For thirty years he’s been a part of innumerable projects, including long-term musical dialogues with many musicians like Jim O’Rourke, Norbert Möslang, Andy Guhl, eRikm, Oren Ambarchi, Toshimaru Nakamura, Keith Rowe, Ralph Steinbrüchel, Philip Samartzis, Alfred 23 Harth, just to name a few. He used to run the critically acclaimed For 4 Ears, a label for improvised electronic music. This is his seventh release on Mikroton, following his solo album “cym_bowl”, “Limmat” with Jason Kahn and Christian Wolfafth, “Five Lines” with Casey Anderson, Jason Kahn, Norbert Möslang and Mark Trayle, “Instants // Paris” and “teplo_dom” with MKM, and “Ground” with Norbert Möslang and Kurt Liedwart.
Christian Weber studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz and at the Bruckner Conservatory Linz with Adelhard Roidinger, as well as with Ernst Weissensteiner in Vienna and with Mark Dresser in New York. Weber focuses on electroacoustic improvisation (EAI), chamber music, jazz, pop and rock. In his music these different styles influence each other continuously. Weber's cooperation with various musicians such as Lol Coxhill, Peter Evand, Pierre Favre, Charles Gayle, Hans Koch, Peter Kowald, Joachim Kühn, Oliver Lake, Urs Leimgruber, Irène Schweizer, Eliott Sharp, Otomo Yoshihide and many more is documented on over 100 recordings. This is his second album on Mikroton following Michael Thieke Unununium’s “Nachtlieder”.
Two tracks of the album were recorded respectively in Kaliningrad and Moscow with no concerts in Kaliningrad and a premiere gig in Moscow. “kangaroo_kitchen” is a masterclass not only in instantaneous sound design and dynamic range, but also in sonic depth. Five musicians work for the first time in such a mesmerizing manner as if they have been working together for years. The weaving in rich and complex meshes of tone clusters and noise loops, Russian radio invasions seamlessly blending with sonic creatures from turntables and skillful double bass playing. A wide array of striking timbres and sounds wash over one another, at times sounding like innards of a factory, at other times like originating from outer limits of space.
Gentle music is perhaps not the word to use for the next one by Joke Lanz, Jason Kahn, Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller and Christian Weber, all of them also known as Switzerland's best when it comes to improvisation. Duties are divided thusly: Lanz on turntables, Kahn on a modular synthesizer, radio, and mixer, Möslang on cracked everyday electronics, Müller on iPods and electronics and Weber on bass and revolver (and yes, that sounds intriguing). The five of them did a small tour together in September 2018 and brought them to Kaliningrad and Moscow and these two recordings can be found on this double CD. This is some heavyweight music, as all of these musicians are known for their love of all things loud (well, maybe Kahn not so much). I am not sure if we are dealing here with a straight live recording, picked up in the space the music was produced, or if each player was recorded independently and then everything was mixed. Judging by the music, I would think either is possible or, also very likely, the music is a mix of a recording from microphones and lines straight into the mixer. There is an excellent rough tumble in these sounds. Lanz' vinyl skipping is a strong presence, the radio dial is always on the move, slipping in commercial music in an equal amount to radio hiss, whereas the cracked everyday electronics always provide a hotbed of clicks, cuts, crackles and beeps. It is more difficult to guess what Müller and Weber add; only when the proceedings drop in volume you hear the bass and perhaps a whim of field recordings. Dynamic the music certainly is. When it is loud, it is quite loud, but these men know how to control the volume, let it slip back and offer something that is almost subdued. This happens on sparse yet important moments. It prevents this from becoming an all-around noise festival. The first night, in Kaliningrad was a bit extremer in approach than the night in Moscow, which I found a bit more balanced. This double CD shows the depths that these men can go in their game of playing together.
Dem stereophonen Realismus von "Sink" folgt mit kangaroo_kitchen (mikroton cd 89/90, 2xCD) der mikrotonale der eingeschworenen Schweizer Gemeinschaft JOKE LANZ - JASON KAHN - NORBERT MÖSLANG - GÜNTER MÜLLER - CHRISTIAN WEBER. Also quasi das Signal Quintet, nur mit Lanz als 5. Element. Oder MKM +, wobei Weber und Lanz als das Plus schon in Sudden Infant vereint sind. Mit Turntables, Modular Synthie, Radio, Mixer, geknackter Alltagselektronik, iPods, Electronics, Bass & Revolver ließen sie live in Kaliningrad das Känguru kochen und in Moskau den 'mountain_monkey' tanzen. Mit ihrem jahrzehntelangen Knowhow, mit ständig aktualisiertem Voice_Crack- und Nachtluft-Spirit, Müller auch verlegerisch richtungweisend mit For 4 Ears, Kahn mit Cut. Nicht zufällig sind Möslang und Müller als maßgebende Liedwart-Lieblinge zum siebten Mal auf Mikroton zu hören. Mit postindustrialer Magie im Dark Forest out of space out of space out of space, mit alchemischem Brainstorming im inner space. Als Heroes with 1000 Noises, fünf Prothesen-Olympier, die ihre Finger niemals in die gleiche Kaskadenflut stecken. Alles fließt, alles kreist, in schlurchenden Schüben, stottrig, rauschend, spotzend. Durchsetzt mit russisch brodelndem Radiotrubel, sausenden Noisewellen, Partikelstürmen, scrat-chend zerfetzt, wooshend gepitcht. Komischer als jedes Känguru, mit absurden Arabes-ken, quietschigem Fiddel-Jig, pochendem Punch, groovigem Tamtam, zwitschernd und trillernd durchschossen, als cyberpunkig krachophile Bricolage. Einer sprüht "Michel Jackson" an die Wand, ein andrer lässt Maxwell's Dämon aus der Flasche. Danach spielt der Chaos-Club in Kaliningrad zwar etwas "wie Flasche leer", einer findet aber zum Finish nochmal den richtigen Knopf der Drummachine. Auch in Moskau fließen die Klangquellen egolos ineinander, pfeifend, dröhnend, mit Nadelstichen, Stimmschnipseln, nun auch erkennbaren Bogenstrichen von Weber. Zu hufklapperndem Beat, tierischen Grunzern, Radiofetzen, quarrenden Impulsen, dumpfem Puls, einem Delta an Kaskaden, sausenden, tremolierenden Spuren, turbulenter Action. Mit gestanztem Ticktack, abrupten Kratzern, zuckendem Akkordeon, erratischer Wallung, surrenden Kurven, weiterem Arco-Sound, technoidem Oomph Oomph Oomph. Mit kakophonen Crashes, Kavallerietrompete, Ma-schinenleerlauf, Radio-Cut-up, Furzelketten, feinem Flageolett und eifrigem Sägestrich zu Jokes Scratcher-Jokes, Wummermulm und launigen Loops. Mit knacksendem Vinyl zu verspielten Impulsen, daxophonen Lauten, spaßigen Drehmomenten. Bis sie nach einem Affenzahn-Crescendo hinschwinden in fragilem Mikro. Was für kindsköpfisch intelligente, populäre Mechatronik.
Kangaroo Kitchen consists of two discs comprised of one track each. The first, "Kangaroo Kitchen", was recorded on September 25, 2018 in a studio in Kaliningrad. The second, "Monkey Mountain", was recorded live three days later at the Mikorton Mikorten Festival in Moscow. The release is, therefore, an interesting document in its own right. Rather than a traditional album or a one-off studio session, this band of electro-acoustic alchemists have given us two batches of their strange brew. The ingredients seem the same, but the differing proportions, combinations, and emphases make for surprisingly divergent listening experiences.
The first disc/track, "Kangaroo Kitchen", is a slowly evolving blend of electronic whizzings, churning noisemakers, digital bird chirps, and innumerable other clicks, whistles, and delicate static. Instruments range from turntables to "everyday cracked electronics" to synthesizers, bass, and iPod to a revolver. At times, one hears a heavy glitch influence, as distorted sounds loop into each other, creating transient, half-articulated rhythms to form the ridged backbone of the piece. The frequent appearance of frothy voices in numerous languages and the sharp shifts in the static background create the impression of an astrophysicist at SETI painstakingly trying to pinpoint some distant radio frequency of origin unknown and whose message is likewise inscrutable. As she homes in on the broadcast, one hears cartoon noises juxtaposed with deep, splenetic bass rumbles and industrial noises, hums and squeaky melodic fragments that may or may not be reworked recordings of string instruments. Or, maybe the more appropriate image is that of a diviner in early modern Geneva, conjuring demons out of the fog in order to squeeze them of their secret incantations to defy the yet unknown laws of physics. Or, this could just be how things used to sound on certain streets in a thriving metropolis (way back when in 2019), as the listener's ear wandered between windows, pedestrians, machinery, and natural and unnatural ambience. As you can see, regardless of how meticulously construed these instant compositions are, the music lends itself to a wide range of interpretations as it comes, sometimes cut and paste, from such a variety of sources and electronic traditions. At first rather curious and intangible, the effect becomes entrancing after the first few minutes and carries on in that manner until the end.
The second disk/track, "Monkey Mountain", develops more gradually. It is also more spacious, and the individual elements are more discrete, though still deeply enmeshed with each other. It begins with a ritual rattling of chimes. High pitches collude with human voices muffled almost beyond recognizability. Weber's bass plays a more discernible role early on, and a steady percussive beat develops within the first few minutes. Sci-fi noises abound, especially as the piece periodically veers into soundscaping. The sound, however, is richer than the refracted radio explorations of the first track. The transitions are likewise somewhat smoother than those in "Kangaroo Kitchen", but only at times. As the names imply, however, "Monkey Mountain" is just as clattery and ludicrous (in its ludic as well as outlandish sense) as "Kangaroo Kitchen". That does not preclude an underlying gloam (just listen to the quite jarring digitized/synthesized child's voice at the end of "Monkey Mountain") or vision. It does, however, show that these musicians have surprising range and, within that range, can produce some pretty potent, if cryptic, sonic concoctions.