Friday, January 16, 2015
Starting into a new year with a collaborational album we see the French label Baskaru serving "Calibrated Contingency" these days, a 47 minutes live performance recording of a conceptual show set up in 2011 by Bernhard Schreiner & Achim Wollscheid. At this show which happened in Graz both artists - wall-separated - were performing a show each on two stereo speakers in front of an audience which, and here things start to get remarkable, happened at the same time. Doing the maths this is 1 show = 2 artists / sets = 2 x 2 speakers = huge cacophonia depending on where one's location with the double stereo would be - a setup that fits the artists well as both Wollscheid and Schreiner are well-familiar with the art world as the main body of their creative work is to be found in exhibitions or installations rather than in music only releases. With "Calibrated Contingency" the stereo field aspect is emulated through a stereo recording of the performance, including a bit of talk coming from the audience at the very beginning before the sound even is on. But, although the intention is charming and a proper documentation of such events a cultural must, it seems like this recording works best for those that were present at this very place when all of this happened, able to recap certain situations, moments or sound events throughout the whole performance as - especially in the first part of the recording - not everything falls into place and harsh eruptions, cuts or dynamics seem to be of a more interfering, kinda random nature rather than to complement each other. So we see more decent droning and ambient'esque spheres presumably created by Achim Wollscheid with his set-up of computer and boundary microphone collide with Bernhard Schreiner's raw sounds created with computer, induction coil and radio, more often to an irritating than pleasing effect, sometimes just like a two random field recordings clashing or - and supposedly this is to happen more often when one's listening to "Calibrated Contingency" over and over again - at its very best moments creating something really interesting like it happens around minute 27 when some gluey alien sounds emerge out of nothing, creating a sudden thrill whilst some artificial sci-fi flies are exploring a muddy extraterrestrial environment. Possibly a grower for lovers of experimentalism in its most experimental form but for sure not a release that the vast majority of even those usually listening to Drone or ElectroAcoustics will fall for.