NICOLA L. HEIN – The Oxymothastic Objectar


Several analytical perspectives are connectable to this compelling exhibit by German guitarist and philosopher Nicola Leonard Hein. The conceptual drive springs from the introductory notes: in extreme synthesis, an almost total deprivation of the intellectual connotations customarily attributed to the improvisational gesture, in the name of a music revolving “around its own impossibility”. It takes a very particular head to produce sonorities built on such assumptions; Hein appears to be endowed with the rational coldness necessary to supervise the gradual phases of this process, at the same time of degeneration (of traditional “significance”) and generation (of stimulating, if undefinable sounds beyond the idiotic “beautiful/ugly” subdivision deriving from personal taste and incapacity to decode unconventional signals).

Consider the sentence by Ludwig Wittgenstein quoted in the press release: “If you are not certain of any fact, you cannot be certain of the meaning of your words either”. We find ourselves at the exact opposite of a stereotypical setting where the verbal presumption of someone believed to be reliable, or whose judgment is feared by weaker people, affirms false truths as incontrovertible facts, if not out-and-out dogmas. Traditionally, this comes from “authorities” whose attitude is based on amorphous memories enhanced by sheer invention, or on traumas decisively burdening dysfunctional minds. It’s the classic case of diffusion and expansion of ignorance in forms of philostophy, or other circumlocutionary means of self-defense against a perceived, but never admitted inferiority. However, a screen of logorrheic nonsense still leaves cracks clearly visible through the eyes of simple logic.

By bringing these issues into seven ironically (*) titled improvisations, Hein thoroughly explores the aforementioned cracks, amplifying the presumed insignificance of the noisy components of a harmonic wholeness; in essence, what is inevitably repelled by an average brain sucking at the “consonant” acceptation of the term “harmony” as babies do with their mother’s breasts. The artist exploits his reactivity to the unpredictable behavior of an “abused” electric guitar through diversified approaches. His “acoustic skepticism” is born from a creative use of what is spurious, disfigured, absolutely indigestible for standard ears. Accordingly, he demonstrates – as any serious improviser should – the axiom according to which every discordant sound, vibration, particle, pitch carries equal weight if the context foresees the acceptance of what is different. The latter is usually an area reserved to the exercise of hypocrisy, especially in conditions of apparent mental openness hiding instead rigidity, categorization, rejection of autonomous thinking, disrespect of individual awareness.

A guitar in the hands of the right person can fight the inherent tendency to collective homogenization typical of inadequate intelligence. Or – to remain on a merely physical level – it can be effectively used to melt some cerumen.

(*) November 18, 2019 : There’s actually no irony in the titles; Herr Hein just advised this clueless reviewer that they’re indeed quotes from On Certainty by the aforementioned Wittgenstein, a book among the millions I have never read. Something tells me that I will like it.

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