ALAN COURTIS / JAIME GENOVART / CHRISTOF KURZMANN / PABLO RECHE – Palmar Zähler

Mikroton

The six tracks comprised by Palmar Zähler were recorded in 2008 in Buenos Aires, Kurzmann being the only European member of the quartet amidst three Argentineans (including a new name for yours truly: Genovart, credited with “recording, synth, soft”). The instrumentation also comprises homemade violin, contact mic, mp3, tapes & processing (Courtis), lloopp, clarinet and voice (Kurzmann), minidisc, iPod, Alesis Nanoverb, Korg MS10 (Reche). This is a classic case of music that literally shuts its doors in the face of the listeners, preventing them to come in easily. Although all parts are layered with a neatness that contrasts with the generally unfriendly tones of which the whole is permeated, the general impression is one of difficulty in abandoning ourselves to the flux of the events, repeated listens not so helpful in unlocking the mechanisms revealing the secret beauties hypothetically lying in.

Most colours tends to the ashen side of the spectrum, revolving around sonorities ranging from bleeping signals and shrilling highs to intrusions of harsher, almost molesting flurries that cause a sense of indistinct distress. Droning elements are used with conscious care, without exaggeration. The ideas are mainly compatible, the unfolding of the improvisations unwelcomingly natural; points in common with the work of other artists operating in the same field are present (Günter Müller is a hovering ghost throughout). Some components do work very efficiently, others less (I don’t like when vocals are involved , to be entirely honest). Overall, a complicated evaluation. For sure this is a well planned recording, executed with intelligence except for a couple of short segments; yet it’s also very difficult to accept in terms of sheer aural gratification. An interesting experiment from serious explorers, but not gifted with the intrinsic radiance that characterizes the memorable episodes of the genre.

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