Sunday, September 4, 2011

SAMPLE & HOLD : lehn/schmickler

It must be emphasized that to speak of a ''performance" of electronic
music is meaningless: performance and composition are here an
indissoluble act...
---Milton Babitt

Improvised music presents quite a pointed question...Where is all this going?...Rather can the musician take the listener on a journey where the ride may be challenging but with the promise of sonic events that are somehow rewarding? In a cultural universe where patience is not a ready virtue, the arts suffer. Moreover, the idea of aesthetic process goes out the window...and process is what improv is all about. The negotiating of collective music making that takes place in real time with the goal of some kind of compositional commonality that "works" (defined by the artists as they proceed), is at the core of improv.

Lehn/Schmickler's Navigation im Hypertext presents two veteran electronic improvisors doing what they do best...having a dialogue with violent eruptions, whispered asides, murmuring, and biting arguments. Recorded live at a number of venues, Lehn on EMS Synthi, Schmickler on digital synths/laptop, these pieces suggest the tension and release of Romanticism. Quiet interludes are followed by tumultuous onslaughts of sonic debris...a kind of musique concrete filled with fluid transformations, dislocations, and transitions the result of a knowing improvisory relationship between musicians and machines that can, as a result of intimately knowing each other and their instruments, create a deKooning-esque bouyant smear of sound that is both exciting and ultimately rewarding.

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