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Concert Review/ Joke Lanz & Hervé Boghossian & }e{nigmaplasme + X-naVI:et & Timur Kuyanov

img  Tobias Fischer

A small covered wood factory hides in the middle of the dark, large and empty second backyard. Open the door of a building to your left. Switch on a flickering neon light and walk upstairs in an eerie GDR-atmosphere until you reach the second floor where NK club takes place. The space looks like a huge white-painted apartment with an entrance, a long corridor with a bar on the way to the main room where music is to be played; four different sets of about 30 minutes each.

Timur Kuyanov comes from Siberia and lives in Berlin. Wearing a pair of sneakers and a vintage tracksuit jacket, he is busy manipulating tiny instruments that have been installed on what looks like an upside-down green plastic bin. This is drone music with a spaceward gaze. Through imperceptible movements, he draws sound lines with patience and uses the full potentialities of each drone. As in the music of Philip Jeck, there is a great thoroughness and care for sound. In the end, you're surprised by looking at his instruments: an iPhone, another even tinier device and a series of knobs organized like numbers on a clock. « No samples? » asks someone. « No... » — « All sounds come from the iPhone? » — « Yes. I think that's enough » he answers with a smile. ‘Less is more’ is not dead apparently.

Hervé Boghossian is a French guitarist/laptoper, also running the small label List (take a listen to the excellent compilation 'Instruments' featuring Werner Dafeldecker and Janek Schaefer among others). Using both laptop and guitar in a configuration that recalls Fennesz, Boghossian delivers a very personal set. Although seeming to be bothered by the sound (or the sound engineer), his nervous musicality is impressive at first. The set is presented like a series of studies. It begins with sharp and motoric riffs, then you hear dense waves, noisy pieces sculpted through various effects, and ambient soundscapes falling to glitchy bits — a melody often showing just beneath the surface. The day after, I had the chance to have coffee with him. He first told me that the set I have been listening to last night was probably the last of its kind. He appears to hate music making routine and plans to use the computer more like an instrument, focusing mainly on feedback—another reason to follow the work of a singular musician.

Polish musicians Jeff Gburek and Rafał Iwański are performing their set under the respective monikers }e{nigmaplasme and X-naVI:et. Gburek studied percussions and gamelan music before playing on various instruments with lots of top class improv artists like Keith Rowe, John Tilbury or Eddie Prevost. The young founder of a trance-gong-drone music trio named Hati, Iwański is used to appearing with many ethnic instruments including gongs of course, handbells or balalaika along with objects and toys. Tonight he uses electronics too, and so does Gburek, who also brought his table top guitar onstage. From the beginning, the music has got a physical presence and creates a sonic world as beautiful and strange as some tongue of remote and ethnically uncertain origin. The melting of sounds is a fertile ground for the imagination, and when Iwański throws unregular haunting bass drones, music has been given new shapes to grab you tighter. Later on, Gburek stops playing and lets Iwański finish the set alone: « Sorry, I don't feel well » he apologizes. At that point, half of the audience (36 people including staff) is drinking and chatting loud in the corridor, coming and going in the room, seeming to care more about beer than music. Maybe this is not the reason, but a couple of days later you could read the following lines on Gburek facebook page: « I only thought for a few years that one had to have a ‘conceptual’ relation to audience (as spectacle) because mainly of the obvious triumph of banal and backward musical thought that prevails in every arena of ‘presentation’. There are other means of approaching the audience: communicating the art of listening, for one. » 

The art of listening is something Joke Lanz seems to know how to dictate (more than communicate). People are still talking and laughing in the distance when he turns off the light and throws repeating alarm beeps. Lanz is a kind of Dada punk with attitude and charisma. His face looks clever and gentle but can be threatening and intimidating as well. After a couple of minutes, the lights are on and all 36 people are in the room shutting up. Lanz can play with turntables and other instruments but today he plays the mad man, talking, humming, counting (that's how I knew we were 36), reciting pater noster in German (with a slight change in the text: ‘Tod’ (Death) instead of ‘Brot’ (Bread)), watching you and making shock sounds by hitting again and again his forehead against the microphone until blood comes out—bits of all this is being recorded on tape and live repeated in the background. Then he takes big scissors and begins to cut and tear his white shirt off while the speakers are vomiting loud electronic snow. Near me, I see a couple looking at each other with an uncomfortable grin saying ‘what the hell are we doing here?’: they should cherish the unsecure feeling, for they won't get it for ever. There's nothing like the first time.

By Antoine Richard

Homepage: Timur Kuyanov
Homepage: Hervé Boghossian
Homepage: Jeff Gbruek

Homepage: X-naVI:et
Homepage: Joke Lanz
Homepage: NK, Berlin

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