i liked john’s musical work from the first time i heard it, although i could never really point out why… a discussion with a friend (who shall go unnamed here) who said: “i don’t how you can like this – it’s not even really composed!”, put me on the right track: i found that the amazing thing about john is that he actually composes in quite a different way from how western music is generally done. the classic compositional method is mainly based on speech-like figures, & works by repetitions & similarities, whereas john uses almost exclusively differences for the connections in his pieces, with a great intuitive feeling for choosing those differences in a way that they actually CONNECT the different parts as well as separating them. so it was great to bring john’s intuition about sound & it’s development together with my ideas of constructing larger forms, which actually work using similarity & repetition, even more so because we found that using quite different methods, we were looking for more or less the same things in our works.
In HOME: UNSPEAKABLE we set out using the last line of samuel beckett’s libretto for feldman’s chamber opera “neither”, “unspeakable home”, as a point of reference to set the overall tone for the composition, deciding that it would have the overall form of a series of musical landscapes that might describe the topography of such an ‘unspeakable home’… the piece has less the form of a story (language), but of a walk in a landscape (perceiving its existence, it’s “being-like-this”)… of course the quote from beckett worked more as a kind of landmark, a lighthouse, if you will, than a rigid rule, since we didn’t want to slip into a weird kind of programmatic music…. we worked in my home studio on several occasions, using sounds made by both john & myself – what we came up with, i think neither of us would have been able to do alone by himself, which makes it the experience especially precious for me, plus it sounds quite like nothing else i know…
— Bernhard Günter
…Best record of 1996!
— Jim O’Rourke, interview in THE WIRE
Either the most brilliant electronic music ever made, or the worst CD I’ve heard yet.
— Charles Powne, SOLEILMOON