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A fascinating psychedelic stew of improv and audio construction dovetailing tremendous playing with unexpected concrete and electronic interventions from the duo of Alfred 23 Harth on reeds, trombone, keys, and misc., and Wolfgang Seidel on drums, percussion and misc.

Harth, Alfred 23 / Wolfgang Seidel
Five Eyes

Harth, Alfred 23 / Wolfgang Seidel: Five Eyes (Moloko Records)

Label: Moloko Records    
Released in: Korea & Germany    

"The physiognomy of Five Eyes is as heterogeneous as the fusion of an inauspicious incubus with the realization of being on the path towards a metropolitan enlightenment of sorts. Its acoustic properties contain numberless problems, rigorously to be solved by the listener: doubt must reside in our brain. This record encapsulates uncomfortable truths, surreptitious patterns and surprisingly poetic openings. Each of the eight tracks presents a story that unfolds remorselessly and, at times, awkwardly, leaving no hope for a quiet settlement between Harth and Seidel's difficult issues and the necessity of a "common" order of things.

But an order is present, despite the apparent decompounding of the sonic tissue in various areas. There are threads to follow, and solid rhythms to believe in; never mind what instrument generates what. Perhaps the disc's most important feature is the "misc" attributed to the couple besides the other sources; that "misc" acts as the fixative that holds everything in place in this implausible fresco. Traits of different species appear to distort the perception of the circumstantial reality. The voices of Nicole Van Den Plas, Bill Shute and Boris Stout allure, affirm and confuse through various episodes, Harth himself pulling a great trick in the final segment "Man-On-The-Side", typified by his absurdly warped crooning.

In "Co-traveler", what might resemble a multilayered senselessness to the inexpert addressee betrays instead the tortuousness of a wisdom grounded on thousands of undocumented experiences. Caustic frequencies burn; misshapen echoes scare. The perdurability of a given sequence - or, if you will, chordal aura - is in general quite brief. A light flashes, the head is turned to that point; someone whispers and wails, the attention instantly goes there. Finding a method across a wasteland of dramatic urgency is not entirely painless: this is no "laissez-faire" cheapness, there's nobody around rejoicing for having managed to find textural meaning in a creaking chair in the name of post-Cagean silliness. Still, a measure of relief is gained when "Anticrisis Girl" attempts to caress our previously surcharged auricular membranes: its steady pulse, with a gorgeous loop of tarnished steel string guitar to begin with, carries nevertheless the weight of real significance. But that trip, too, is replete with shifts of atmosphere and unsteady nonchalance: the assonance with the silent internal turbulence defining every sensible person nowadays is almost miraculous. And the pseudo drum 'n' bass beat underlining the chaotic multitude of stratifications at the end is a touch of near-perfection.

Harth and Seidel go back a long way; their reciprocal knowledge emerges very clearly from this incredible ant nest of lucidly unconventional hypotheses. Referring to the process of re-contextualization of earlier snippets utilized here by the duo, and to the wish of avoiding constrictions of any kind in the assemblage of the work, the drummer calls this music "Herrschaftsfreie" (*), more or less translatable with "without any domination". I'm not sure that there are so many poseurs - sorry, "artists" - worthy of using the same description today."- Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

Google translation of Wolfgang Seidel's description on the Moloko website:

"Seoul and Berlin - which is far from each other. In today's music production geographical distance is no obstacle. And the two composers of Five Eyes are at the same time near and far, there are in our biographies despite the different ways and places repeatedly points where we are coming from different directions passes to same artistic issues. Alfred Harth was born near Frankfurt / Main, where you looked in philosophy and art to the West, to France and across the Atlantic. I was born in the same year in West Berlin, which was an artificially preserved with a lot of subsidies alive ghost town, the backyard of the Western world at that time. For Alfred Jazz was the aural promise that there must be something else than the verdruckste postwar Germany. For me as Hinterhofgöre and in a city that had no significant jazz scene, rock n 'roll performed the same function. For his Alfred led the way in free improvisation, his group JustMusic announced the end of the 60s in a flyer as a concept "model for nearly non-hierarchical communication and interaction" to want. At the same time passed a similar trend among those who came from the rock ago. In the experimental phase of the psychedelic rock to predetermined structures disintegrated. This gave us the first time at the same place together, in Conrad Schnitzler Zodiak Free Arts Lab, where for almost a year free jazz, happening and what times Krautrock was later called, mixed. as it announced a flyer - - The Sessions with Conrad Schnitzler, which resulted in a long-term collaboration, my first encounter was with "Total free [r] music". Schnitzler, a Beuys student, called himself an intermedia artist to consciously avoid any categorization and all limit on a medium. Although Alfred never used this term, he would take care of him as someone who is equally in music, literature and the visual arts go. Both Fluxus and encounters with artists such as Nam June Paik was setting a course.

Completed the next step Alfred and I from different starting points in the same direction -. through the spoken or sung word I joined a theater group apprentice, from then the band emerged One Ton, rock music and radical, sung in German texts brought together and can be heard on their first record a piece of Hanns Eisler. With its music, and the combination of music and poetry beyond the jazz and lyric clichés Also Alfred worked with Heiner Goebbels. While the pieces soon favor the rock stage left the street theater behind, were the two of the founders of the So-called radical left brass band that brought the music to the streets. The next attack came through punk and especially by the blooming in its slipstream experiments stylistic avant-garde music, collage and montage techniques with the energy of rock brought together. For Alfred was then among other things the band Cassiber along with Chris Cutler, Christoph Anders and Heiner Goebbels. For me that was in Berlin the group Popular Mechanics, which still started as a pure guitar band in the rock tradition and more and more electronics, as well as through the extension with brass jazz influences opened out. This time Alfred and my musical path was moving so far towards each other that it is indeed 1983, to a joint concert.

An excerpt from this concert then found its way to Alfred plate Sweet Paris, one published in 1990, text and music Collage - a multimedia diary in which Alfred his correspondence with the then living in Paris painter Wolf Pehlke - he made ​​the 5E-cover drawing - transposed and were incorporated in the solos, field recordings and excerpts from numerous musical encounters. For cut-up with its opening of new contexts and collage, with which one could bring reality into the composition, Alfred had especially about literature, about Brinkmann and Burroughs, and found his work as a visual artist. The development of the sampler made previously to the studio-bound patient techniques of musique concrète music manageable and a way out of a linear concept of time, which has persisted ever less with its promise of a higher order in the music.

For me, the path led from the driven still by this promise of healing music of shards, piled on the resolution of the time in psychedelic krautrock experiences in the Fluxus-inspired collaboration with Conrad Schnitzler, the end of 1970 more than a dozen cassette recorder, he with whom own and found material mixed at concerts.

With Five Eyes for which we for months tracks produced and hinschickten, took apart and reassembled sat, we could pick up the thread again - because after the session, which is documented on Sweet Paris, parted ways once again. For me there was the late 80s with the demise of the old West Berlin personally a time of change that led to the music once largely paused. When I started again to be active, you saw yourself as a musician a different situation compared with. Music that moves more or less in a straight line at a target, had become obsolete once. The enforcement of There-Is-No-Alternative as the ruling ideology also needed a musical response. Then there is the gigantic accelerated by digitization flood of images, all conflicts in the world look the same in their Geflicker. The question of good and evil reduced because on the question of which side, the emotional images provide that then are most effective when they can attach to existing resentment. As then applauded the attack on the World Trade Center several anti-imperialists in the sight of the disaster, it became clear that we must again rethink.

Alfred, it moved to South Korea, which has been treated well in the last 100 years of history. Japanese occupation, oppression and exploitation, the Korean War, in which the country was only figure on the chessboard of the conflict between East and West. Now the country is squeezed between the authoritarian North Korea and the economically dominant Japan, which has never had a debate about his violent past. I, however, did not need a change of location to make. In Berlin, the site changed at a rapid pace from itself - especially from the perspective of the West Berliners. From sleepy niche was a we-are-again-who-capital of a country that started fairly quickly to build on its old hegemonic. After both inside and this became increasingly aggressive enforced, accompanied and celebrated by a culture industry that produces more and more national pathos.

A few years ago came across the now deceased Conrad Schnitzler existence of contact between Alfred and me again. We discovered that we had come from the two ends of the world, in which we have now arrived to similar considerations. Especially since the ends of the world are becoming increasingly similar. War in the 60's a song that you like singing, Break on through to the other side, we are now confronted, that it looks on the other side the same way or worse. The propaganda for the existing works today no longer lies. Man admits all criticism, only to point out that everything else is worse, which generated by the back actual assault of barbarism on what little progress made towards a fatal complicity. How you position yourself as a musician in a world that develops simultaneously in two only seemingly opposite directions? On one side of an almost infinite individual freedom, which is not emancipation from social constraints but mere self entrepreneurship in a dog-eats-dog capitalism. In parallel, the state, the allegedly streamline the neoliberal apologists least developed prefer want to abolish but to an ever more perfect control and repression machine.

Meanwhile, a generation has grown up that has no personal memory anymore that someday something else was. It was the other not necessarily better, but simply through its existence made it clear that the nature of the society in which we live, is negotiable. "Domination-free music" is still a possible answer. Whereby not only means to be free of a given composition or a leader. Domination masquerades today mainly as a constraint. By contrast, there is a music in which the musicians always have the freedom to decide on the music and its further development, as a constant, comprehensible for the listener hearing. The other answer is the taking in and re-contextualize selected sound splinters as traces of reality, quotes, field recordings to time associative, sometimes confusing and prompting for new thinking to connect the abstract medium of music to the surrounding reality. Both can be a journey of discovery."-Wolfgang Seidel, October 23, 2014

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Product Information:

Label: Moloko Records
Catalog ID: Plus 078
Squidco Product Code: 22118

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Korea & Germany
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in Berlin, Germany and Seoul, South Korea.


Alfred 23 Harth-reeds, trombone, key, vocals misc

Wolfgang Seidel-drums, percussion, misc

Nicole van den Plas-vocals

Bill Shute-vocals

Boris Stout-vocals

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Track Listing:

1. Heartbleed 4:51

2. Tempora 11:49

3. Co-Traveler 6:09

4. Turbine 9:31

5. Bullrun 4:00

6. Anticrisis Girl 16:07

7. Quantum Insert 3:32

8. Man-on-the-side 4:53

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