ALFRED 23 HARTH / SOO-JUNG KAE / CHANG U CHOI – Red Canopy

Kendra Steiner

The late Frank Zappa was among the first composers that I know to apply the process of “xenochrony” to music: that is to say, juxtaposing recordings from antithetic settings and diverse eras in a single, studio-generated opus. Red Canopy is founded on a kindred philosophy: the sounds were pre-recorded by each performer in 2005, and four years later Alfred Harth pasted them at Laubhuette in Seoul to produce just over 17 minutes of glorious work, definitely belonging to the schismatic German’s finest.

The tracks are evidently constructed on fleeting intuitions, but every instant counts. It all begins with a duet involving Choi’s double bass and Kae’s piano, the musicians left alone for the necessary time to thrust the listener right into a mood incorporating both thoughtfulness and sense of anticipation. When Harth enters the scene, the initial quietude is cracked by the impulse of telling many things promptly and eloquently. Yet it is in the following sections that we really need to come to terms with the idea that the artists never played unitedly. A track like “Samsa” features the same spirit of a well-adjusted room meeting, the magnificent flotsam and jetsam of a latent interaction consummately collected in what might resemble a chamber arrangement.

The skilful exercising of loops and electronics expands and compounds the primary timbres, setting the instrumental attributes on a boundary line between baffling lyricality and overt experimentation. The 3-inch CD (which comes in a narrow 123-copy printing) ends with the umpteenth question mark, leaving us at a loss – once more – in front of a form of creativity that doesn’t demand continuance or, worse, a format in order to explicit its whole potential.

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