CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH – Acoustic Solo Percussion Vol. 1-4


Originally issued as distinct items, the four volumes of Acoustic Solo Percussion by Christian Wolfarth have been re-released in a small cardboard box together with a booklet – unfortunately written in German exclusively – with notes by Michael Vorfeld, Nina F. Schneider, Tomas Korber and Franz Aeschbacher. The coloured vinyl and the restricted quantity (the edition is limited to 99 copies) might be enough for the compulsively collecting specimens to hurry up, however the actual reason behind the need of getting this thing fast is the quality of the works that it comprises. Not that there were any doubts, for Wolfarth has demonstrated over the years that mixing separate mutations of percussive action into steady washes of soul-sympathetic humming is possible. Just not for everybody…

The field of timbral research coincides to the place where single components of an instrumental set get energized to the point of working almost autonomously, producing – depending on circumstance – imposing drones, slow growths towards an immediate future of danger, scattered decompositions of one-time drum patterns and a blue-collar majesty scarred by the piercing acids of bowed metals and clangorous clashing. Our personal response to each event is like the feedback to an initiation of sorts; we believe to have understood, then realize that additional greyer shades and emaciated structures are gradually being revealed. A jeopardized stability that’s better perceived by measuring the effects of the various combinations in different corners and spots of a room. The frequencies command, therefore obey without bringing forth useless questions.

The lone (minor) displeasure comes from the inevitable “pops” affecting the concentration, particularly if they occur during certain engrossingly static sections. Indeed I don’t seem to recall, in decades of listening, a picture disc that does not suffer from this inconvenience at least a bit. The artistic magnitude and the absolute magnificence of the sounds prevail after all, yet there is a little devil in my mind who pushes for asking a further step to Wolfarth: the possibility of a download of a digital version. In that way, the continuum of this octet of compositions would also be smoothed. But make no mistake, this is a must-own object under any angle: great music throughout, to be played loud in spite of a few plastic-derived disturbances.

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