2002 AQ 03/x-t 2005
John Duncan and zeitkratzer.
Photo © Giuliana Stefani.
Performances by zeitkratzer.
Composed and conducted by John Duncan.
Ulrich Krieger (saxophones)
Franz Hautzinger (trumpet)
Melvyn Poore (tuba)
Alexander Frangenheim (double bass)
Michael Moser (cello)
Burkhard Schlothauer (violin)
Luca Venitucci (accordion)
Ray Kaczynski (percussion)
Reinhold Friedl (piano)
Marcus Waibel (sound, electronics)
Released by Allquestions and X-tract.
Recorded at Podewil, Berlin; March & October 2001.
Mixed at WW-Studios Berlin by Marcus Waibel, Reinhold Friedl & John Duncan.
The cooperation between John Duncan and zeitkratzer is largely due to the excellent support of Elke Moltrecht, music curator at Podewil Berlin, who also had the idea to bring them together as artists in residence at Podewil Berlin.
In 2001 sound artist John Duncan and Zeitkratzer shared a residency at the Podewil in Berlin. The nine-piece new music ensemble is renown for its all-acoustic performances of electronic works (previous composers they worked with include Merzbow, Zbigniew Karkowski, and Lou Reed). Fresh presents two works by Duncan, both previously released in their digital form but given here a stunningly different reading. Duncan doesn’t usually score his music — he assembles it. So the step was huge from taking the highly textural pieces “Nav-Flex” and “Trinity” and scoring them for conventional instruments. Luckily this is not your conventional ensemble. The sounds these musicians squeeze out of their instruments bridge the gap between real and virtual, acoustic and electronic. At first, “Nav-Flex” was a sample-based collaboration with Francisco López released on the 2-CD set NAV. It starts with a loud drone that quickly quiets down and remains that way for half an hour. The many layers of this drone ripple and slowly move around each other, bringing to mind the orchestral music of Klaus Lang. “Trinity” began its life on the Ash International compilation A Fault in the Nothing. More eventful but still very meditative, it relies on the string players (violinist Burkhard Schlothauer, cellist Michael Moser, bassist Alexander Frangenheim, not to forget inside-pianist Reinhold Friedl). The previous piece put the brass section up front, especially trumpeter Franz Hautzinger and tuba player Melvyn Poore, both bubbling away breath-based drones. FRESH is short (40 minutes) but intense and rewards active listening. It provides a very differrent perspective on Duncan’s music and art.
— François Couture, All Music Guide
Watch an electric wire and suddenly it begins to vibrate, fast, faster, until it transforms into a magnificent electronic hiss that splits, multiplies, fragments until it becomes a sea of energy that concentrates the brain cells in a continuous struggle to recognize the sound. The stimuli come from all directions, but it’s not tiring to find an acoustic balance that leaves the psyche satisfied, satiated for several minutes — suddenly interrupted and another attraction starts, with colors gray and purple at the same moment. To lose yourself in the enormous abundance, the reflections created by John Duncan’s acoustic spectrum is quite easy, just as easy as it is to again discover yourself on the main road of unheard research, always travelled by the man from Kansas: the passage of time only helps to create music that’s more stimulating and evolved.
TAP INTERNAL is obligatory listening for anyone who follows the cutting edge of the avantguarde, where the sound itself dictates the way it’s molded in the few hands (John among them) able to guide it.
— Massimo Ricci, Deep Listenings 18, Spring 2000
Photo © Giuliana Stefani ￼