RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Manuel Göttsching: "Live at Mt. Fuji"

img  Tobias

Just like Manuel Göttsching's approach to studio recordings varies extensively with each new album, all of his stage sessions have a distinct feeling of their own as well. Criticising him for congruencies within his long list of live CDs is therefore like accusing a chef of preparing the same, delicious  meal on more than one occasion. Moreover, Göttsching has the ability to treat even his classics as if he were playing them for the first time, his interpretations owing just as much respect to the moment when the original was conceived in as to rigorously applied creativity in taking them to new shores. Which is why „Live at Mt. Fuji“, although identical in program to the recently released video statement „Wroclaw Live“, is by no means a mere appendix to the DVD.

This not only holds true for insiders, but for the general public as well. Of course, fans will gladly grab the chance to dwell upon the subtle differences with the Polish concert: The even more dreamy and vulnerable version of „Saint & Sinner“, the less psychedelic rendition of „Trunky Groove“ and the more smoothed out production, which nicely contrasts with the direct and physical Wroclaw-sound. Led by minute variations in accentuation, the entire gravity of the performance has shifted. While the collaboration with visual artist Kinga hit a first peak with the surreal breakbeats, deep moods, sharp dissonances and raw guitar solo of aforementioned „Trunky Groove“ and discharged into a bone-dry, hypnotic „Shuttlecock“, this CD emphasises the softer moments. Opening track „Sunrain“ comes across as a musically stripped-down version of the 1976-composition, which has shed its sweet main theme and replaced it with playful exchanges between different aspects of the warm sequencer pattern. The heart of the album, however, are the twenty minutes of „Die Mulde“. Developping a charming pull, they work like a friendly maelstrom, willingly sucking down the looped chord scheme and spacey effects.

For slightly less initiated listeners, the collection still makes for more than just another live document. „Live at Mt. Fuji“, for one, works as an overview of what Göttsching himself considers the epicenters of his oeuvre. The fact that most of the material dates way back, however, should not lead one to believe that he is a stubborn nostalgic. These terms carry no meaning to a man who treats his legacy with great ease and regards his music like a jazz instrumentalist would a standard: As the basis for further exploration. Furthermore, it is an excellent alternative to lovelessly compiled „Best Of“s. Instead of sinply bunching together the same old studio versions, this disc gives a fresh twist and a contemporary edge to each of them, transforming them, playing with them, passing ideas from one end of the piece to another and demonstrating a living and lively contact with the past.

The album effectively shows just how fluently Göttsching switches between different styles. From the minimalist movements of „Sunrain“ to the orchestral blues textures of „Saint & Sinner“, from the brooding, futuristic electronica of „Trunky Groove“ to the epic, mellow structures of „Die Mulde“ and the all-encompassing finale „Shuttlecock“, this work knows no boundaries and borders. It may have its intersections with previous live releases. But just like them, it sounds perfectly unique.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Manuel Göttsching

Related articles

Manuel Göttsching: Pays tribute to Willy Sommerfeld
German composer and pioneer of ...
Manuel Göttsching at Worldtronics
Everything is electronic now: An ...
CD Feature/ Balmorhea: "Balmorhea"
Part of the “New Gemütlichkeit”: ...
CD Feature/ Seconds in Formaldehyde: "II"
Feeling his way forward to ...
CD Feature/ Nadja: "Guilted by the Sun EP"
An open invitation to the ...
CD Feature/ String Unit: s/t
A safe haven in a ...
CD Feature/ Fear Falls Burning: "The Amplifier Drone"
FFB has now turned to ...
CD Feature/ Fear Falls Burning: "The Carnival of Ourselves"
While the enlightened mind is ...

Partner sites