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eRikm / Fennesz

Complementary Contrasts Donaueschinger2003

eRikm / Fennesz: Complementary Contrasts Donaueschinger2003 (Hatology)


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Christian Christian Fennesz-laptop computer, master distortion

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UPC: 752156061823

Label: Hatology
Catalog ID: Hatology618
Squidco Product Code: 4299

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2004
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Digital recording of Take 5 and 6 at Southwest Radio's Studio 1, Baden-Baden October 17, and Concert live at Donaueschinger Musiktage, October 18, 2003.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Ever since the release of his influential solo recording Hotel Paral.lel in 1997, Christian Fennesz has become one of the most improbable musical celebrities. Though many debate the extent of his radicalism some dismissing him as too close to easy listening, others claiming that his very popularity underscores how effective his unique brand of laptop and guitar experimentation can be he has left an indelible mark on contemporary music. Though eRikm is far less known, not having played with David Sylvian for example, his role in electroacoustic improvisation is equally important, cemented in his collaborations with poire_z, Jerome Noetinger and others. Christian Fennesz has been rehashing and mangling a stable core of source materials since Endless Summer, giving his discography the partial feel of a working journal of methods and approaches. He, along with eRikm, still considers himself something of a guitarist (albeit a highly abstracted or deconstructed one). But I think a bit too much has been made of the duo's rock roots, and the ways in which the warmth of electric guitar distortion has made its way into their electronic improvisation. (A much more convincing case could be made of Anthony Guerra's wonderful Spool #2, though I'm not sure even that disc fits the bill.) There are elements of guitar, and elements of melody, but not all uses of distortion connect instantly with "rock music" (as if it were monolithic), and for proof just let the dark waters of the first track's concluding minutes wash over you. Longtime mutual fans, the two met in October 2003 for a day in the studio from which two 15-minute tracks are reproduced here and a subsequent day's live performance at the venerable Donaueschingen Festival in Germany. The first studio take begins with a pair of rude sonic slashes, rends in a fabric we sense has been a work in progress long before we got our first look or listen. They play with pulse, with bitstreams of repetition, and with long cavernous wails. I immediately appreciated the duo's feel for contrast close-set metallic scrapings peek out from a backdrop of vast echo-laden drones and, perhaps more significantly, I gladly noted Christian Fennesz's restraint in not exploring some of his more familiar themes and materials. The second studio improvisation is much more of a testing-ground for ideas, and has the feel of many first-time improvisers' meetings, with relatively conventional exchanges, responses and formal gestures. The 36-minute live track crackles to life but spends an awfully long time warming up under low heat. Christian Fennesz's patented shimmering washes are spread on thick (they reappear frequently throughout this particular performance), with occasionally provocative contrast sharing the bill with tedium. Against a low thrumming backdrop, the two spend a very long time trading jabs of various sorts zaps, claps, sizzles, hisses all the while steadily increasing the density of the overall template. There is a lovely, seamless transition to an open horizon of what sounds like wave after wave of fast-moving clouds. So there are obviously good moments on these pieces, and the disc as a whole is both pleasant and a valuable document of this first-time meeting. But one of the disc's (relative) drawbacks is the familiarity, even predictability, of the structure of the pieces: soft beginning, thickening of voices, elaboration, crescendo. The second studio track here is guiltiest of this kind of general meandering. What's more, the long live track is quite touch and go, with tension and release upon tension and release. There are many lovely moments, and many dull ones too. The final 10 minutes is the most gripping, as it seems to pull against the preceding gestures (eRikm sounds as if he's making a concerted assault on the inertia of certain ideas). Despite these reservations, what works here works very well and the two musicians clearly play well together. Though this isn't an essential recording, it's certainly something that should be heard by fans of either artist or of electronic improvisation, in general."-Jason Bivins

Artist Biographies

"Since 1992, eRikm has extended the field of artistic experimentation on the international scene.

Maintaining a constant fusion between thought, instinct and sensitivity, he pursues a simultaneity of practices and addresses the interplay between various compositional modes, relating to and using all languages.

From his early experience as a guitarist through to his later visual work, he is a maverick genre-bender who breaks down anyone's attempts to conveniently classify him.

Quickly recognised as a virtuoso turntablist and sound artist (1996), eRikm has made a longlife habit of crossing all territories and " world-systems " deemed "independent", "institutional".

At the same time (1997), he has developed an open and aspirational approach toward the technological media, both as a means of development for a new economic model and as an instrument for creation, production and diffusion.

He deals with sounds like living organisms, constantly in flux, always open to the risk of accident or delight/unisson. As he plays with all these contradictions in his improvisations, his performance reaches new heights of intensity, trading off both understanding and sensation, seriousness and farce, anticipation and instinct.

His work references both the intimate and political, both popular and high culture, but without demonstration. Rather he creates a short-circuit connection between points with his live generated (and degenerated) material - from noise to reference - presenting multiple ways to capture each moment of the present in clear focus.

Throughout his career, collaborations have naturally occurred with his audiences and contemporaries, most notably : Luc Ferrari, Christian Marclay, Mathilde Monnier, Jerome Noetinger, FM Einheit... The kind of coincidences which have confirmed his instinctive search for transmutation, and to play on several levels.

Since 1997, on his own or with collaborators, eRikm has toured (with 5-7 on-tour projects to date), or created by request specific pieces, both transversal or for fixed spaces (record labels, radio, festivals, art centres...)

In the meanwhile, each time building on what has emerged before, the most personal fragments from his work (notably from his early artworks in photography, drawings, visual installations and video) continue to substantiate a singular kaleidoscopic vision.

Ultimately, eRikm's research resonates through all of his work, bordering scientific discovery and a poetic curiosity of the world.

eRikm is a Marseille based artist"

-eRikm Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Studio Take 5 16:03

2. Studio Take 6 14:02

3. Part 1 12:27

4. Part 2 13:58

5. Part 3 9:53

Related Categories of Interest:


Duo Recordings
Before April-2006
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Sound, Noise, &c.
Hat Art

Duo Recordings
Before April-2006

Search for other titles on the label:

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