Two extended solo percussion works by Swiss improviser Christian Wolfarth, focusing on two components of the standard drum set--a tom or simple drum, and a cymbal--the first side a "Souvenir From a Drum" using brushes and sticks to disrupt then mesmerize the listener; the second side a "Souvenir from a Cymbal", a shifting roll and pattern that evokes a myriad of tonalities.
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Label: Hiddenbell Records
Catalog ID: 012
Squidco Product Code: 29520
Recorded at Kunstraum Walcheturm, in Zurich, Switzerland, in July, 2019, by Philipp Schaufelberger.
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• Show Bio for Christian Wolfarth
Born 1960 in Zürich/Switzerland.
1982-1986 studies with Bob Cunningham and Billy Brooks at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern.
1992-1996 studies with Pierre Favre at the Conservatorium in Luzern.
1995 studies in Composition with Siegfried Kutterer in Basel.
Workshops with George Lewis, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Jojo Mayer, Han Bennink and others.
Since the middle of the 80th's he's involved in many projects between Jazz, improvised and written New Music.
Since 1991 he played many solo concerts in all over Europe and Russia.
Regular works with dancers above all with Nina F. Schneider and her dance company. (1994-2002)
He works for theatre, film and video.Collaborations and concerts with
Al Maslakh Ensemble, Claus van Bebber, Burkhard Beins, Christian Buck, John Butcher, Gene Coleman, Bertrand Denzler, Jacques Demierre, Michel Doneda, Axel Dörner, John Edwards, Donat Fisch, Christoph Gallio, Mich Gerber, Malcolm Goldstein, Eugen Gomringer, Barry Guy, Charlotte Hug, Jason Kahn, Hans Koch, Jonas Kocher, Tomas Korber, Annette Krebs, Fine Kwiatkowski, Joke Lanz, Urs Leimgruber, London, Improvisers Orchestra, Paul Lovens, Werner Lüdi, Michael Lytle, Paul Lytton, Enrico Malatesta, Albert Mangelsdorff, Michael Moser, Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller, Lauren Newton, Andrea Neumann, Lucas Niggli, Evan Parker, Simon Picard, Lê Quan Ninh, Ignaz Schick, Alex von Schlippenbach, Irène Schweizer, Christine Sehnaoui, Günther Sommer, Jürg Solothurnmann, Michael Thieke, Michael Vorfeld, Phil Wachsman, Christian Weber, Michel Wintsch, Michael Zerang, Ingar Zach, Alfred Zimmerlin and many others.Labels
His work is released on labels like: for4ears, formed, HatOLOGY, Leo, Klangbad, Presto!?, Rossbin, mikroton, Monotype, Quakebasket, hiddenbell, Creative Sources, Origin, Percaso, Wandelweiser, Unit and others.Festivals
Christian Wolfarth has played at some festivals such as:Festival Total Meeting (F), Festival Densités (F), Les Arts à Gahard (F), Wien Modern (A), Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon (A), Festival Pulsi (I), LEM Festival (ES), Störung Festival (ES), At Harbour (CR), Percussion Festival (RU), Skanu Mezs (LET), Musica Genera (PL), Festival Blaue Fabrik (D), ZAM Labor (D), Klangbad Festival (D), Humanoise Congress (D), Festival Rue du Nord (CH), Festival de la Cité (CH), Festival Akouphène (CH), Festival Archipel, (CH), Onze Plus (CH), Jazzfestival Willisau (CH), Festival ZweiTageZeit (CH), Unerhört (CH), Maiers Ohr (CH), Stanser Musiktage (CH), Festival SehnsOhr (CH), Knoten Festival (CH), TonArt (CH), Taktlos Festival (CH)"-Christian Wolfarth Website (http://christianwolfarth.ch/en/biography/?_wb=en/biography/&lang=EN)
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1. Souvenir From A Drum 17:28
1. Souvenir From A Cymbal 18:08
sample the album:
"Magnifying the Ordinary
A typical modern drum set consists of a bass drum, a snare drum, hi-hats, a few toms, and a couple of cymbals. When played as a drum set, the characteristics of each sound combine to create what many people recognize as a single instrument. Yet each of the pieces within that instrument has particular qualities that are often different from each other, especially between drums and cymbals.
From a player's standpoint, shifting focus from the sonic options available with a drum set to a seemingly more limited range of a single piece of the set brings challenges. However, with Souvenirs, Christian Wolfarth shows us the sonic possibilities that exist, even within such limitations. Although each side of the record focuses on two individual pieces from a standard drum set (drum and cymbal), it's clear that only the instrument quantity is limited.
Throughout Side A, 'Souvenir from a drum' features woven rhythms that unfold over time, surprisingly captured in a single take with no overdubs. Here, the possibilities of reduction are pushed beyond expectations, revealing a world that's both percussive and tonal, sounding at times as if many drums, and even electronics, were at play (they aren't). Culling such expansiveness from an instrument is Wolfarth's life's work, and indeed it's an interesting souvenir he's brought us.
On Side B, we get a similar treatment in 'Souvenir from a cymbal', expanded with the addition of a range of metallic frequencies. Over time, these frequencies start to resemble other familiar tones, like the full-ringing of church bells. When Wolfarth was a child, he recognized these bells' ability to "clear the air." On this record, the sounds offer a different kind of clarity, allowing the listener to build their own story within it.
The duration, stamina, and technique to this approach, while necessary for making something interesting from limited material, aren't something all percussionists are capable of doing. This kind of focus takes practice and patience; something Wolfarth has developed over time.
For the past three years, Wolfarth has been performing with single percussion pieces, like the small children's marching drum and cymbal heard on this record. After so many performances with an instrument, an understanding and relationship forms between it and the player. Familiarity with how to play it, how to work with it to produce certain repeatable sounds, and developing a comfort-level starts to emerge with practice. However, being open to new sonic and technique discoveries with an instrument, no matter how much one knows, is essential. Wolfarth describes this focused playing as "a kind of freedom that creates new room for development."
Although this record came out of a three-year focus on these particular instruments, Wolfarth's interest in magnifying the detail of the objects he works with comes from a more deep-rooted history. He explains:
"When I was a child, I always wanted to become a musician. The instrument was not important. Then, when I was sixteen, a guy came to our house to buy my sister's guitar. He talked about wanting to form a band and that he was looking for a drummer. I quickly volunteered. I then had to buy a drum set, but I had never hit a drum before in my life. That was a strange experience. After I set the drums up, I thought that it would sound like the drums I had heard on records. Instead, it sounded awful. There were many overtones and strange interferences. I really didn't like it, but now we had a band, and eventually, the more we played, everything was fine. Later, I studied jazz and so on, but I still always felt that sense of dissatisfaction with the sound. So, very early on, I started to assemble different kinds of drum sets. And more and more, I got rid of the instruments whose sound I didn't like.
In Bern at this time, there was a great concert organization called 'Jazz Now Bern' that introduced me to a lot of new music. I got to hear people from the AACM, the New York downtown scene, the East German, the British, and many other musicians from the Free Jazz scene, which opened my ears and helped me to go my own way."
For thirty-five years, Wolfarth has been pursuing this path, which he describes as "to focus, concentrate, and find clarity in my life by getting to the point of things." He's eschewed the use of electronics in his work, focusing purely on the acoustic properties of his instruments in hopes of discovering more new sounds inherent within them.
Overall, Souvenirs, and Wolfarth's work, in general, are a testimony to the world of detail that exists when one focuses on a particular instrument, and even pieces of that instrument. And in that detail, we discover that very little is ordinary."-Jon Mueller, March 2020
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