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CD Feature/ Kenneth Kirschner: "november 18, 2004 et al."

img  Tobias

Track 1: Separated by lengthy stretches of silence, short and soft drone clusters are sustained for a maximum of ten seconds, before lapsing into the void again.
Track 2: A glistening, pearly sound makes its entrance, overlapping with the the clusters which are now being drawn more closely together, repeated and arranged in patterns.
Track 3: The clusters are played by a strongly reverbed film-noire piano, the individual lines sometimes combining for longer motives over oceans of whisper.
Duration of this album: 25 minutes, 3 seconds.
Emotional impact on the reviewer: Huge.

After this synopsis of the album’s content it is now time to seriously try and figure out how a music of so little notes (if scored, it would probably fit on a regular-sized napkin) can have such a profound effect. It is, of course, a clever psychological game Kirschner is playing here, first probing the listener’s nerve with disappointing his or her expectations at the very start, then carefully locking him in a new pattern of sound and the absence of sound, only to tear that pattern apart by first breaking its rules (letting go of the necessity of silence between two tones) and then changing the perspective (reducing the timbral qualities to the sound of the piano). By this constant evolution, he creates a tension, where, from the perspective of western music, can be none: All of the “musical events” appear to either be based on the same root or to be floating in a space of entirely free tonality. On the other hand, this game also leads to questions about what constitutes “musical” and “non-musical” events. At first, silence is merely the emptiness between music. In a second stage of perception, it is a rhythm, a groove which keeps us hooked and panting for more. As the beat dies down, something bizarre occurs: Suddenly, its absence is considered a painful event and more important than the supposedly “musical” activities. The more the piece approximates coherency, the less we appreciate it and wish for the return of the inbuilt mute-button. Kenneth Kirschner is working on the emancipation of quietude and he does it so convincingly that what must read like an academic treaty turns out to be an enthralling thriller.

Once the piano joins in, the suspense is slightly reduced again – now, the listener can enjoy silence like the rich aftertaste of a prescious wine, each sip different and full of metaphors and memories. What it does to you is an incredible sensitisation, a sharpening of all nerves and the ability to appreciate things previously regarded irrelevant. Once the album closes, even the silence after the last track seems perfect.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Kenneth Kirschner
Homepage: Leerraum Records

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