Turntable-cum-sampling virtuoso ErikM started his career as a rock guitarist, but over the years he’s increasingly become proficient in an outstandingly clamorous style. He mixes in fact billions of different sources – plus the classic noises derived from prepared vinyl – into a pernickety assortment of events symbolizing the sonic multiplicity of the last three centuries. Collaborations with Voice Crack, Christian Marclay and Luc Ferrari have propelled this man towards a deserved reputation, yet there was the need of a truly authoritative statement to consider him a genuine great. Well, this statement has almost certainly arrived as Zufall is one of the best pound-for-pound albums of 2008, 51 minutes that clutch the attention without letting it go for a split second, the music ensuing from two live performances recorded in Paris and Brussels.
Clearly not extraneous to the success of the album, Hungarian reed player Akosh Szelevényi – currently based in France – gives an amazing demonstration of his potential on an array of instruments that comprises saxes, clarinets, tarogato, kalimba, bells and Tibetan horn. Being this the first time in which I listened to Akosh’s playing, let it be known that he blew me away in several occasions: a lightweight hybrid of Peter Brötzmann and Alfred Harth, with hints to early John Zorn – at least in circumscribed snippets – this gentleman jiggers all the good intentions of an ordinary evening by incurving and entangling outside notes in textural chains of question marks, showing an impressive command of every known technique while discarding mere juggling and tricks in favour of meaningful locutions that systematically snap out of banality to demoralize the phonies who believe that reeds were meant for jazz exclusively.
Still, the show that ErikM puts up is nothing short of astounding, and remains the most sizzling trait of the disc: impossible not to be staggered in front of such a barrage of dissimilar stimuli – fragments of Beethoven, rap and old-fashioned muzak weighing exactly the same in this perspective – where everything becomes the infinitesimal component of a fractal complexity which, preposterously, is also comprehensible to the most minuscule detail.
If you long for fresh-sounding plunderphonics, sampladelia and cut’n’paste this is an absolute must, a really outstanding saxophonist added as an extra: the howling tarogato heard in Part 7 is alone worth of acclamation.