JASON KAHN / GÜNTER MÜLLER / CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH – Limmat

Mikroton

Ever since the very first instants one realizes of being in front of a special record. The way in which Christian Wolfarth’s cymbals instantly find an accurate point of resonance, taking the listener by the hand as a swimming instructor leads a little kid into the pool for the initial lesson, gives the idea of the performers’ collective predisposition to a complete permeation by sounds that seem to survive on elusiveness. And yet – thanks to such a caliber of receptive aerials – we see how the sonic matter changes its state, and those radiations are finally able to apply the sort of vibrational stimulation of which they’re capable. A mixture of physicality and ethereal stupor reminding what the actual nourishment needed for our day-by-day continuation is.

The gradual emergence of hard-to-pin-down elements on intersecting surfaces has always been a constant feature in both Kahn and Müller’s compositions. Through a customary array of analogue synthesizer, iPods and electronics they create successions of imperturbably wobbly, mind-calming undercurrents and relentlessly morphing shades. Reactive addressees will benefit enormously from those electroacoustic lattices, even when the superficial appearance declares an extreme sharpness as a fundamental constituent. The incisive quality of certain frequencies is paired with gaseous buzzes, balance-altering white noise, steady pulses and that kind of asymmetrical reliability typical of synthetic textures that reiterate their heterogeneous shapes on a regular basis, like in a huge loop.

Curved figurations of metals, rubbed drum skins and flickering glimpses of bowls maintain the concreteness active, preventing the music from shifting to a level of pure impression. The absence of dead-beat tricks and the awesome magnificence of many sections – the ghostly chorale at the conclusion of “Limmat 2”, or the bowed drones in Limmat 3” – are alone sufficient to declare this a winner. But there’s something inexplicable filling this work with psychological reminders, preparing us to face still-to-be-determined obstacles which – after this experience – seemingly do not appear insurmountable anymore. That’s what sends Limmat straight to the top of my current preferences.

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