Reviews Zarek05

Zarek turns out to be a nice little label, releasing CD’s by Perlonex (the band behind…) aswell as various duets by members of Perlonex with others. One such is the CD by Ignaz Schick, the electronica guy from Perlonex, and Andrea Neumann, who plays the inside of a piano by preparing it and using it an electronical way. The two have recorded six pieces in multitrack form, which left them the possibility to mix the material afterwards. They work with clicks, buzzes, hiss and acoustic sound (even when it’s hard to recognize a piano in there for instance) and arrive at a more abstract improv record then usually. Schick and Neumann move cleverly through the entire spectrum of sound: from rather harsh (like the first half ‘Petit VI’) to sublte movements, sometimes even within one track (like the very nice ‘Petit III’). Very fine CD of improvised abstract electronica.

Frans de Waard, Vityl Weekly

Arid, abstract, cerebral. These are three adjectives that will probably pop in your head if you ever listen to Ignaz Schick and Andrea Neumann’s CD Petit Pale. They both follow an artistic path that takes them somewhere between British free improv, German electronic-based improv and electroacoustics. This 45-minute album was recorded “live” in the studio. Schick performs on live electronics, Neumann plays “inside-piano” — what it translates to is uncertain, as all sounds heard seem to derive from electronic sources. A few piano strings are hit at the beginning of “Petit I”; otherwise the listener is left guessing — she must be responsible for the occasional bursts of metallic sounds shaped like a human gesture. Glitches, low-fi electronics, and noise come together nicely and the first two tracks show good interaction between the players. The listening pleasure is marred by poor sound quality. Some of the hiss comes from Schick’s set-up and might even be intentional, but the CD has been mastered at a very low volume, which makes it all the more difficult to listen too. As noisy as this music can get (“Petit VI” recalls Merzbow’s work), the unsuspecting listener will go through the disc for the first time without clearly hearing a single sound. Petit Pale is presented as a work-in-progress, a photograph taken in August 2000 of a musical relationship that keeps on growing. We’ll have to wait for a second picture to see how the child is doing.

Francois Couture, All-Music Guide

Schick carries that attention to detail to his duet with Andrea Neumann. Neumann plays “inside-piano”, which I’ve heard described essentially as “piano guts.” Her bio describes it slightly more elegantly as “a rudimental and fragmented piano, which is reduced to its corpse with only the strings remaining, being prepared and manipulated with a huge variety of objects.” Whatever it’s nature; it gives Neumann a huge arsenal of sounds to work with. The duo have a powerful control over dynamics; Schick’s electronics can set up low drones, or interject with bursts of white noise, while Neumann strings together chains of repeated sounds, or explores the resonance of her “piano”. The duo’s strength lies in their manipulation of velocity. They explore a wide array of densities that are often quickly destabilized. “Petit I” goes from tense and quiet to wild and discordant within a matter of minutes, while “Petit III” verges on inaudibility. It doesn’t stay quiet for long though, with Schick and Neumann slowly building the tension and creating a dramatic climax. They’re two extraordinarily responsive musicians, whose sensitivity towards detail and pacing make “Petit Pale” a record that’ll reward future listening.

Nirav Soni, Ink 19

“Petit pale” sees Schick’s live-electronics combines with Andrea Neumann’s inside-piano for their collaboration. Neumann prepares and plays the piano, presumably by hitting, scraping and plucking inside it. While basically recorded live, there was some post-production work, but without losing the spontaneity. Schick produces squeals, crackles, white noises, sine waves beeps and wooshes, while plinks, wirescrapes, tapping and vibrations would appear to come from the piano. There are 6 parts to the work. Each is a complex shifting work, balancing the two components – the electronica seems to have the upper hand, but that could be due to some treatments being somewhat similar. “Petit I” for instance starts as an active interchange before shifting into a long whistly wave period, ending with buzzy crinkles. A soft pulsing opens “Petit II” squeaking drifting around, banging and plucking from the piano (is the high pitch note the piano too?), building up to active percussive plucking, fading down again. There is a long slow buildup to an full couple of final minutes in “III”, and the high activity level is maintained in the short “IV” combining percussion with swirly buzzing electronica. In “V” the two components work well in parallel: Schick slowly developing a whitenoise whoosh into a high tone which alternates with an aggressive buzz, while Neumann plays lightly around the inside of the piano. And finally “Petit VI” which opens with extensive squealing spacey electro, developing into a deep tone and then a rapid pulse before some obvious piano comes in, with another more complex ending. This is a complex album, made more so by not really being ablt to tell which is Schick and which Neumann: I am sure that some of the electronica is the prepared piano, which means the balance may be more even than I thought. Generally toward the edgy side, it is not really background fare, but as with the other two releases from Zarek, is fascinatingly intense, balancing longer somewhat ambient periods with active interplay. So, as a conclusion, three interesting improv albums which deliver diverse works. The two collaborations, together with the group release, create a tri-counterpoint reflecting aspects of each other back on themselves enhancing your appreciation. All are based on working within subtle and dynamic soundspaces, intense and exciting, and very rewarding.

Ampersand Etcetera, Australia

Ignaz Schick has surprised me with every new release of late, becoming increasingly prolific in the areas of new improvisation and electroacoustic music (see his work with Perlonex, reviewed above, or his many other projects available from his own Zangi Music organisation). Petit Pale sees Schick perform in collaboration with Andrea Neumann, who is a new name for me. Neumann had studied classical piano before turning to develop her own innovative performance techniques. Through her collaborations with Phosphor (of which Schick is also a member), Rananax and Annette Krebs, she has become an emerging figure in improvisation and electroacoustic circles, and justifiably so. For this session (recorded live on 8-track without overdubs or editing) Neumann performs on a prepared and electronically treated inside-piano, while Schick performs on live electronics. The two components complement each other well; Schick’s subtle tones and electronic textures, at times barely audible, create a fragile soundspace with which Neumann’s scrapings and surprising sounds are arranged. You never quite know what to expect while listening; quiet movements are interrupted by a sudden clanging or a surface scraping, but still they keep things charged, subdued and subtle, only occasionally moving into more harsh textures. In all, an excellent new release of electroacoustic improv.

Vils Santo, Incursion Music Review, Canada:

Ignaz Schick has surprised me with every new release of late, becoming increasingly prolific in the areas of new improvisation and electroacoustic music (see his work with Perlonex, reviewed above, or his many other projects available from his own Zangi Music organisation). Petit Pale sees Schick perform in collaboration with Andrea Neumann, who is a new name for me. Neumann had studied classical piano before turning to develop her own innovative performance techniques. Through her collaborations with Phosphor (of which Schick is also a member), Rananax and Annette Krebs, she has become an emerging figure in improvisation and electroacoustic circles, and justifiably so. For this session (recorded live on 8-track without overdubs or editing) Neumann performs on a prepared and electronically treated inside-piano, while Schick performs on live electronics. The two components complement each other well; Schick’s subtle tones and electronic textures, at times barely audible, create a fragile soundspace with which Neumann’s scrapings and surprising sounds are arranged. You never quite know what to expect while listening; quiet movements are interrupted by a sudden clanging or a surface scraping, but still they keep things charged, subdued and subtle, only occasionally moving into more harsh textures. In all, an excellent new release of electroacoustic improv.

Electro-acoustic instruments have massively modified the improv world over the past half-decade. While some musicians have stayed clear of synthesizers, turntables, PowerBooks and other sorts of electronic manipulation, others — especially in Europe — have adopted these gizmos wholeheartedly. We’re now at a point where with what and how an individual creates is becoming less important than the end result.
Much more fascinating is that finally — like there are with acoustic instruments — different styles and techniques have been developed to create with electronics. The four discs here, for instance, all have an electronic component. But like comparing the tenor saxophone playing of Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, it would be difficult to confuse the electronic-acoustic imagination of any one of these musicians with any other.
That ultimate sound pinpoints the difference between Tom & Gerry’s excitable hullabaloo and the collaboration between German synthesizer player Ignaz Schick and inside-piano stylist Andrea Neumann. An electronics fundamentalist, Schick works in other electro-acoustic configurations like Perlonex, as well in Phosphor with Neuman, a former classical pianist, who excels on prepared and electronically treated piano. This duo CD appears to be an attempt to create as near soundless an aural field as possible. Suggesting tones rather than playing them, Neumann often appears to be performing a near-noiseless autopsy on the guts of the piano. Only rarely can you discern her sounding a couple of keys, running her hand over the strings, or plucking one. Similarly, Schick seems to prefer an aural concept that resembles sine wave flatlining. Rumbles, static, whooshes, whines, plinks and clicks are also prominent, or at least as prominent as anything designed to be noiseless can appear.
Seemingly operating on top of a sonic groundcover continuously decorated with electronic whooshes, repeated keyboard notes and what sounds like a toy xylophone being hit or the air being let out of a balloon occasionally surface. Interaction finally foregrounds on “Petit VI”, the final track, with radio tuning static giving way to musically-oriented up and down movements, which accelerates from slow near soundlessness to speedy white noise characterized by crackles, buzzes and electronic rumbles.

Ken Waxman, Jazz Weekly, USA

The six tracks on Petit Pale feature Schick and Andrea Neumann playing her custom-build ‘inside piano’, which of course sounds nothing like a piano whatsoever. It’s pretty difficult to work out who’s playing what when Schick’s Jam Man delay unit starts piling up samples and generating feedback cycles of crackles and hums. Edwin Pouncey«s observations on Neumann’s Charhizma album, Rotophormen, with Annette Krebs (The Wire 205) apply equally well here: both musicians seem to be as happy as kids in a sandpit scrabbling around in their “electronic minimalist rubble”. It’s engrossing stuff even if it seems to lack the poise that Beins brings to the proceedings.

Dan Warburton, The Wire, UK

At first it seemed like the house had been swallowed by an windless gale, the eighteen-by-twenty-four solar panels methodically unbolting themselves from the roof and shimmying across the shingles. In reality, it was the Petit Pale CD (Zarek) by Ignaz Schick and Andrea Neumann. In a different arena (pre-op disinfectant scrub-down, for instance), Schick’s “live-electronics” reveal he’d use a Water-Pik. Neumann performs “inside-piano”, but if you told me she was on the fire escape playing a mandolin with fishhooks and bobbers, I’d say, “Invite her in for an apŽretif”. The pair are quite a team: hand-cranked periscopes upset pacific, elongated electro-skreemp with rusty buttinsky outbursts, whereas meadowlarks and coypus joust on chlorinated mercury beds (weapon of choice: hollow nun-chucks).

Bananafish, USA

Ignaz Schick (Perlonex, Phosphor, u.a.) mit Live Electronics und Pianistin Andrea Neumann legen gut vor, Vorurteile darueber abzubauen, dass sich improvidierte Musik nur in abgetrampelten Pfaden bewegen muss, die selbst der Laie schon nach wenigen Toenen als “Free Jazz” und/oder “Gedudel” klassifiziert. Ihre kleinenteilig dichte, ueber weite Strecken angenehm ruhig wie schmurgelnder Kabelbrand zischende oder wie ein nicht geerdeter Plattenspieler brummelnde Minimal-Musik versteht es, durchgaengig Spannung zu bewahren. Wo so manche Adepten im schwerelosen Raum zwischen den Galaxien von Staalplaat und Mille Plateaux eher autistisch auf der Stelle eiern, belibt diese Musik einem staendigen Dialog unterworfen und damit eben gerade nicht berechenbar geradlinig, sondern voller vorantreibender Risse. Zwischen clicks & cuts-Schule und AMM-Tradition ist da ein atomar brodelndes Zwischenlager enstanden, das im besten Sinne als Aufbereitung bezeichnet werden darf. Im Wechselspiel von Harsh Noise, sphaerischem Rausch(en), Neue Musik-Zitaten und neoimpressionistischer Kangfarben-Malerei auf KlickKlack-Ebene sind alte, durchaus bewaehrte Strukturen freier Improvisation so uebertragen worden, dass das bloede, juvenile Dogma von einer “neuen Generation” endlich mal als Lob ausgesprochen werden kann und muss.

testcard, Germany

Klanbohrungen. Mit den Mitteln der Live-Electronics hier, des praeparierten, elektronisch behandelten Innenklaviers dort. Elektroakustisch an der Schwelle von Neuer Musik, Improvisation und Musique Concrete. 4 Jahre arbeiten Schick & Neumann schon daran, vorher waren sie zusammen bei “Phosphor”. Materialreduktion heisst die Devise, Abstraktion und Aktionsminimierung. Unaufgeregt, mit einer gehoerigen Portion Beharrlichkeit machen sich die beidenauf die Suche, auf den Weg, ans Ziel. Sehr spannend.

Jazz Live, Austria

Elektronische Musik wirft immer mehr Schatten auf Experiment & Improvisation. Ausgangsmaterialien aud vorliegender Duo-CD sind elektronische (Ignaz Schick) und akustische (Andrea Neumann) Geraeusche, die spontan einem Veraenderungsprozess unterworfen werden. Dies geschieht auffuehrungspraxisbezogen sehr unspektakulaer, doch die in diesem Fall auf Reduktion bedachte Klangerzeugung kann sich hoeren lassen. Mag bei manuell erzielten Klangspektren doch eine gewisse Erschoepfung der Moeglichkeiten eingetreten sein, so tun sich auch auf dieser Produktion neue Soundflaechen auf. Neumann holt aus dem Inneren des Pianos unerhoerte Soundpaletten, die mit Schicks etwas langatmig angelegten Live-Electronics kollidieren. Weshalb den “Petits I-VI” des oefteren eine den Hoerer fordernde Komsequenz fehlt. Klingt im latzten Track analog einem stotterndem Motor, der erst allmaehlich durchstartet.

Alfred Pranzl, skug, Austria

Schick und Neumann arbeiten auf aehnlichem Terrain, dem Grenzgebiet von Neuer Musik, Improvisation und Musique Concrete. Auf sechs Tracks naehern sich Schicks Live-Electronics und Neumanns prepared piano einander an: zunaechst nur als scheinbar zufaellig aufeinandertreffende filigrane Geraeusche, zunehmend jedoch als Einheit. Die beiden Kuenstler wollen “Petit Pale” durchaus als work in progress, eine Art Zwischenbericht, verstanden wissen, ein sich staendig wandelnder Prozess. Da bleibt zu hoffen, dass der letzte Track, der mit zunehmenden Feedbackgeraeuschen ziemlich schnell nervig wird und zu allem Ueberfluss auch noch das laengste Stueck ist, bei weiteren Ueberarbeitungen des Materials deutlich gekuerzt wird.

Sascha Karminski, Intro, Germany

Un minimum d’effet pour un maximum de résultat. Voilà une devise qui dévoile subtilement le fond du travail de ce duo. Quelque part entre le sonar ménagé d’un Jocelyn Robert et les attentes du consortium Trente Oiseaux (chantres de la musique minimale), Ignaz Schick et Andrea Neumann évoluent dans ce couloir étroit, où les estampes de la musique abstraite, de l’électro-acoustique minimal et de l’improvisation électronique couvrent les murs. Les deux musiciens semblent avoir établi un pacte, un consensus pour réduire l’acte et le matériel à sa plus simple expression, comme une évocation suggestive de sonorités passées, fragments de mélodies perdues et patiemment reconstituées. Ignaz Schick, (installation électronique) est un des représentants de la scène expérimentale Berlinoise, aussi bien inspiré par le Free Jazz que par la nouvelle musique ou l’électroacoustique. On l’a vu dernièrement à Vand’Ïuvre officier au sein de la structure Perlonex, mais il joue régulièrement avec Phosphor ou avec de talentueux musiciens, tels que Phil Durant, Burkhard Beins, Marc Weiser, Thilo Schacht, Jason Kahn, etc. Andrea Neumann, (piano préparé à base d’éléments électronique) s’est récemment exprimé de fort belle manière en duo avec Annette Krebs, et de manière plus diffuse au côté de Roananax ou Phosphore. 6 pièces courtes et introspectives qui griffent avec talent le silence.

JADE, France

Electronique disais-tu; mais, la captation du son par un microphone ne fait-elle pas du phénomène acoustique un événement électronique? Avec leur “Petit Pale” (Zarek 05), IGNAZ SCHICK et ANDREA NEUMANN sont, précisément entre bruits acoustiques et électroniques, dans une démarche qui tend à la réduction du matériau et du geste; cependant, cette esthétique presque cheap finit, dans sa modulation de télégraphie détraquée, par lasser. Philippe Alen notait d’ailleurs assez justement dans ces colonnes (no 80, page 44) que le minimalisme en vogue conna”t certaines impasses; si, à Mhère, “de peu, ils ne firent rien”, Ignaz Schick (live electronics) et Andrea Neumann (cadre de piano) – membres d’une constellation (voyez le Phosphor publié sur le label Potlatch, chroniqué le mois dernier) qui compte les Durrant, Beins, Krebs, Doerner; ce dernier a enregistré récemment avec Neumann et S.A. Johansson sous étiquette hatOLOGY – développent entièrement, dans cest enregistrement d’aout 2000, des jeux de bourdons entètants, de fraises vrombissantes qui s’épaississent de granules. Par une apparente immobilité, la musique appelle un état d’audition modifié(e) que l’on retrouve par exemple avec le groupe “Perlonex” …

Improjazz, France

Un disco che ho dovuto ascoltare piu volte prima di farmi un’idea precisa.. e ci sono riuscito soltanto alzando di molto il volume. Anche questo, infatti (sara forse per “l’impronta” di Ignaz Schick ?) e un cd fatto di “rumori” di vario genere, che ad un primo ascolto non emergono e non colpiscono. Facendo lavorare parecchio amplificatore e casse, invece, vengono fuori molti suoni che altrimenti sarebbero inudibili… Onestamente, comunque, l’improvvisazione costruita dagli strumenti elettronici di Schick e dal pianoforte trattato elettronicamente della Neumann non mi sembra granche interessante, soprattutto perche si mantiene sempre su un livello troppo minimalista. L’ultimo brano, “Petit VI”, e piu interessante degli altri ma anche questo dopo un po’ si “spegne”. La sensazione che ho avuto, pero, è che le potenzialita per un bel disco da parte di questo duo ci siano tutte… aspetter˜ con interesse una loro prossima uscita.

Musiche, Italy

Ruisen, achtergrond geluiden, normaal zou ik nog ergens piano verwachten. Andrea Neumann heeft en opleiding als klassiek pianiste gehad. MaarÉ de vorige electro acoustische CD’s waren meestal besproken door broer Kris. En sommige daarvan die ik nadien beluisterde vond ik interessant Maar deze is gewoon vervelend …

Static murmur, background noises, normal have I expect somewhere a piano. Andrea Neumann has had an education for classic piano. ButÉ. The previous electro acoustic CD’s wear mostly reviewed by Brother Kris. And some of them where very interesting albums. This one is only boring.

L’Entrepot, Belgium

Niespokojna i przez to interesujaþca p?yta na live-electronics (Schick) i wneþtrze fortepianu (Neumann). Muzycy tworzaþcy duet, nalezúaþ do s«cis?ej czo?—wki ma?o u nas znanej niemieckiej improwizujaþcej elektroakustyki o akademickich korzeniach. Ale dzisiaj, szczeþs«liwie baþdz« nie, akademizm zlewa sieþ w jedno z undergroundem, zatem mozúemy w wielu wypadkach obie szko?y traktowac« r—wnorzeþdnie. I dobrze sieþ dzieje, zúe podobne nagrania stajaþ sieþ co raz bardziej dosteþpne a koledzy po fachu Schicka (vide szko?a wieden«ska) coraz czeþs«ciej odwiedzajaþ nasz kraj. Wszystkie kompozycje, a jest ich w sumie szes«c«, saþ kolejnymi czeþs«ciami utworu “Petit”, co jak wiemy oznacza w jeþzyku francuskim “malutki”. Domys«lam sieþ, zúe tytu? s«wiadczy o przekornos«ci autor—w, albowiem muzyka z malutkos«ciaþ sieþ raczej nie kojarzy. Jak napisa? jeden z recenzent—w, fundamentalis«ci muzyczni tacy jak Schick i Neumann rzadko serwujaþ konkretne tony, a raczej poprzestajaþ na czystej sugestii. Tak jest i tym razem. P?yteþ wype?nia szes«c« barwnych plam. Jedne mogaþ drazúnic« (czeþs«c« 1. i 2.), inne saþ na granicy s?yszalnos«ci i gdyby nie delikatne wibrato nie zdawalibys«my sobie sprawy z ich obecnos«ci (np. czeþs«c« 3.). W kazúdym z wypadk—w Pan Sonicowe bzyki i s«wiergoty doskonale uzupe?niajaþ sieþ z dynamicznaþ i zaskakujaþcaþ wiwisekcjaþ na wys?uzúonym, czarnym fortepianie. Abstrakcyjne a nawet agresywne traktowanie czarnego molocha kazúde tylko zadac« pytanie: czy fortepian nadaje sieþ do uzúytku po sesji nagraniowej? Odpowiedziec« na nie ?atwiej, gdy zapoznamy sieþ z opisami preparacji autorstwa Neumann. Odarty ze swej ls«niaþcej czerni instrument zredukowano do ramy z napieþtymi strunami. Ten element jego wneþtrza (Neumann uzúywa w tym miejscu s?owa “guts”, co oznacza ni mniej ni wieþcej tylko “bebechy”), wzbudzany rozmaitymi instrumentami, pos?uzúy? za z«r—d?o dz«wieþku. Zas—b s«rodk—w stylistycznych jest przebogaty: raz cos« osypuje sieþ na struny (w tle pysznie mieni sieþ bia?y szum), raz cos« dudni, innym zn—w razem ?omoce. Brzmienie fortepianu jest amplifikowane albo surowe (uk?on w stroneþ Keitha Rowe i jego junk-efekt—w?), zawsze zas« zaskakujaþce z?ozúonos«ciaþ swej struktury. P?yta nie by?aby pewno tak interesujaþca, gdyby muzycy grali nie s?uchajaþc sieþ. Dzieje sieþ na szczeþs«cie inaczej i trudno zarzucic« im brak wyczucia na dzia?ania partnera. Poszczeg—lne elementy brzmieniowe saþ dobrane precyzyjnie, klimaty zmieniajaþ sieþ p?ynnie i nie nuzúaþ, nawet, jes«li krzyk torturowanego fortepianu dzia?a nam na nerwy.

Kamil, Terra, PL

Este duo berlinés trabaja desde 1997 la musica electroacustica combinando la electronica en vivo manejada por Schick, y el piano especialemente tratado electr—nicamente por parte de Andrea Neumann. Suelen grabar sin ningun tipo de manipulacion en la edici—n, montaje, etc. y su principal atractivo esta en la reduction del material y la peopia acci—n al minimo sonoro. Las tecnicas desarrollados por Neumann en su inside piano convierten a este en el fundamento que sirve de proseco de cambio a las piezas: consigne que las cuerdes suennen a percusion, a efectos mecanicos, mientras las extranas conjugaciones sonoras de Iznak van confeccionandose en ejercicios de amplios, sin excesiva densidad, pasajes electronicos, imperceptibles en muchas ocasiones, con fragiles, minuciosos eslabones de una cadena que de vez en cuando se altera con r‡fgas de arrebato controlado. Estetica berlinesa de ultima hornada de abstinencia para los consumidores del dance, por ejemplo.

Oro Molido, Spain

Musica per live electronics e “inside piano”. Suppongo che con questo termine si volesse indicare che uno dei due autori e curco non sulla tastiera ma sulle corde, alla Stephen Scott … Ascolto con estrema difficolta, par due motivi: trovo offensiva la cacofonia, in tutti i casi, e trovo offensivo che dopo 40 anni di esperimenti per live electronics (da Alvin Lucier a David Behrmann a Gordon Mumma per citarne solo acuni) ci sia ancora spazio discografico per operazioni de genre. Un’altra cosa insopportabile è il saliscendi senza controllo del livello sonoro, dall’inudibile al frastuono. Non sarebe piu interessante andare a recuperare i capolavori del genere piuttosto che dare ascolto alle nuove leve?

Gianluigi Gasparetti, Deep Listenings, Italy

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