PERLONEX.tensions - REVIEWS
To celebrate their fifth anniversary, in September 2004, Perlonex held a concert at Podewil, Berlin.
In addition to the members of the trio - Ignaz Schick (turntables, objects, electronics), Jörg Maria
Zeger (electric guitar), Burkhard Beins (percussion, objects) - two special guests contributed to
the proceedings. In the first set, Keith Rowe inserts his tabletop guitar deep into the heart of the
music and Perlonex essentially becomes a quartet. Tensions is an apt title for his release, and
Rowe's nervy contribution to that emotional state is palpable. His musical partnership with Beins,
which has resulted in excellent CDs on Zarek and Erstwhile, is edgy, dynamic and volatile, as is
the Perlonex performance heard here.
Charlemagne Palestine, who guests on the second set, contributes piano and electronic keyboards, and the nature of his contributions require a degree of accomodation from the other musicians that might surprise those who have heard Perlonex's previous recordings. Palestine holds down a chord on a synthesizer while providing a whimsical, rambling introduction to what he calls Perlonex's "birthday party". In the process he introduces the audience to a "congress of critics" - two of his collection of stuffed toy familiars, Eric and Oliver Bigears. As he does so, a harsh, unsettling drone starts up, indicating that Perlonex won't be doing things on Charlemagne's terms.
What then occurs is a fascinating exploration of compatibility. In the 12th minute there is a brief section reminiscent of a perverse reading of Terry Riley's Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band All Night Flight with added Industrial angst. Never in recent years has so much straightforward percussiveness been heard from Burkhard Beins - he actively hits his instruments rather than stroking sounds from them. By the set's midpoint, compatibilities have been established and consequences have begun to be explored, with striking results.
- Brian Marley, The Wire -
Irgendwie komme ich mit der Musik von Perlonex nicht so wirklich klar. Hier gibt es zwei CDs
von Livesets mit je einem Gast (Keith Rowe und Charlemagne Palestine), aber so sehr ich auch
will, ich finde ein Testbild irgendwie spannender. Sorry, fand, Testbilder sind ja echt nur noch
schwer aufzutreiben. Das ist auch nicht sonderlich despektierlich gemeint, denn ich kann schon
mal etwas länger mit Rauschen und Fiepsen beschäftigt sein.
- Bleed, de:bug -
A celebration calls for a party and then you invite friends. Perlonex,
the German trio of Ignaz Schick on turntables, objects and electronics,
Jörg Maria Zeger on electric guitar and Burkhard Beins on percussion and
objects exist for five years (in 2004 that was, next celebration coming soon)
and they invited Charlemagne Palestine and Keith Rowe to play with them.
Perlonex is known for their careful improvisation built around their
instruments, and with Keith Rowe, it is like having a fourth member.
On the first disc we find the four in carefull mood, and no instrument
is the boss. Each plays it's own role and the only tension to be found is in the music itself.
A free form play of sound, in which all of the possibilities is explored through their
respective instruments. With Charlemagne it is a bit different. His keyboards lay
down a brick work, the fundament over which the improvisation follows. Palestine
strums his piano and Perlonex as a trio is in more sustaining mood than with Rowe.
Perhaps lesser known to be an improviser, he guides Perlonex. However in both sets
Perlonex show that they are capable of handling any situation. Two great concerts,
a celebration to remember.
- Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly -
The electro-acoustic trio Perlonex celebrated their fifth anniversity concert with the
release of a double live CD, featuring the different aspects of their musical works.
Ignaz Schick, Joerg Maria Zeger and Burkhard Beins deliver an excellent set on CD1,
featuring Keith Rowe. The CD heads off with a sinus wave that ends in a climax about
twenty minutes, to continue with a calmness to be followed by a gradually building
improvised soundscape full of tiny details. The music seems to explore it's way,
intensifying each minute. The introvert sound shifts slowly. Instruments such as
turntables, electric guitars and objects can hardly be identified as such. Nevertheless
there is enough room for details.
CD2 features Charlemagne Palestine (piano, keyboards). The result is different from CD1. Clear piano accords can be heard on top of long drawn-out synths and peeps. Hammering accents have been set as to make the music even more dramatic. This small group of musicians deliver intensifying experience.
- Phosphor Magazine -
Ignaz Schick, Jörg Maria Zeger & Burkhard Beins hatten zur 5. Geburtstagsfeier ihres von BA
Trios zwei illustre Gratulanten zu Gast im Berliner Podewil, Keith Rowe und
Charlemagne Palestine. Beide Sets vom 11.9.2004, einmal als Clash der Trias
aus Turntables & Electronics, E-Gitarre und Percussion mit dem Altmeister der
Tabletop Guitar und das andermal mit dem Exzentriker des Minimalismus an
Piano & Keyboards, sind etwas unverhofft nun zu hören bei einem Label im uk-rainischen
Kharkiv, das damit seiner Vorliebe für 'indocile ambient' frönt. Wenn
man sich unter 'indocile' etwas Unsanftes und Bockiges vorstellt, dann wird
man etwas weniger erschrecken vor dem unbändigen Energiestrahl, den Perlonex
+ Rowe mit Ghostbusterbravour bündeln. Ein dröhnminimalistischer Dune-Sandwurm
windet sich durch den Raum. Auf halber Strecke legt er eine Atempause
ein, bei der man hört, wie der Sand von seiner Schwarte rieselt. Dann
beginnt er sich erneut voran zu bohren, als bebender, vibrierender Behemoth
aus purer Elektrizität. Was da sirrt und fräst und schabt ist ein organloses,
kompaktes Energiebündel, dessen vier Quellen nahezu ununterscheidbar mit-einander
verschmolzen sind. Nach 30 Minuten kommt dieses summende Starkstromkabel
dann ganz zur Ruhe, ohne seine gewaltige Aura zu löschen. 10, 12
Minuten lang hält man den Atem an, ungewiss, ob ein Schritt zu nah nicht fatal
Während Rowe mit AMM immer auch das Gruppenerlebnis suchte, gilt Palestine als ein Kapitel für sich. Im Podewil spielte er den Master of Ceremonies, der ein besonderes Erlebnis versprach, das als Halteton schon im Hintergrund anklang. Während sein Georgel auf und ab schwillt (live ist immer Präsens), pumpt und strahlt Perlonex von drei Seiten Energie ins Zentrum und Palestine beginnt mit 1, 2 Fingern auf sein Piano zu klopften. Die Klangballung im Schnittpunkt wächst und pulsiert, das Piano pingt, Beins setzt mit Gongschlägen Ausrufezeichen und quirlt den von Schick grusig angedickten Energiefluss schaumig und silbrig, während Zeger den Glutkern mit seinem Feedback schürt. Auch hier senkt sich die Klangkurve nach 20 Minuten in ein Wellental, in dem perkussive Splitter aufblitzen. Palestine pingt weiterhin wie ein Echolot, das vor Grundberührung warnt. Einige knarrende und quietschende Gelenke könnten ein paar Tropfen Öl vertragen. Das Rumoren nimmt wieder zu, Palestine hämmert in tieferen Registern, die Elektronik knurscht rauer und rauer, die Perkussion wird zum scheppernden Schrottorchester. So nimmt die Dröhnwelle einen zweiten Höhenpass und rauscht dann wieder talwärts, von Gerölllawinen umrumpelt. Das aufgehellte Piano deutet an, dass von jetzt an alles leicht fallen müsste. Der orgelnde Drone reißt ab, ein stechendes Sirren bleibt. Palestine fragt in die Runde: Alle o.k.? Dann lasst uns zum gemütlichen Teil übergehen und die Bären los.
So vital, live und mehrstimmig, wie Perlonex ihn exerziert, wirkt Dröhnminimalismus alles andere als esoterisch und meditativ, vielmehr rau und unbändig, sublim allemal, aber eben 'indocile'. Im Energielevel nahe bei Thurston Moores Trio mit Surgal & Winant oder Lee Ranaldos Text Of Light, geben die konzeptionelle, dabei nie schmalspurige Disziplin, die arhythmische Perkussivität von Beins, die fräsenden Noiseimpulse von Schick und das inständige Klangbeben von Zegers Gitarrenloops dem Berliner Trio sein eigenartiges Gepräge.
- Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy -
Perlonex is the Berlin-based trio of Ignaz Schick (turntables, live electronics),
Jorg Maria Zeger (electric guitars) and Burkhard Beins (percussion, objects). For their
fifth anniversary concert, held at Podewil in 2004, they invited Keith Rowe and
Charlemagne Palestine to join them, and the results, heard in Tensions, are exactly
what one would expect from these musicians. The first disc features Rowe, who
seems completely absorbed in the group's music, in a slow, if uneasy mantra that
inches forward to become unbearably strained and edgy at midpoint, with its necessary
frictions and ruptures, but with all the players involved showing an accomplished sense
of sound placement and interaction. The set with Palestine has its moments, too, but
while the American's synthesized waves mesh well with Perlonex's dynamics, his piano
is completely out of context at times: the tolling chords he hits with all his might struggle
to get heard (at least in this particular mix), often seeming more superfluous than
complementary. Still, there are enough transcendental, mesmerizing sections where
the four instruments fuse into one to make it worth keeping.
- Massimo Ricci, ParisTransatlantic -
Why does it take over two years to release such a record? Starting a review with such
a bold question may sound angry, but it is actually a solid form of puzzlement from my side.
In 2004 the electroacoustic trio Perlonex celebrated its fifth birthday with two performances
in Berlin to which they invited Keith Rowe and Charlemagne Palestine respectively. These sets
have been recorded and now put out on a double CD without overdubs or any kind of editing.
Does that mean the tapes from this show were sitting in a box somewhere for over two years?
Or did it take that long to find a label willing to release them? The latter reason would puzzle
me even more, because all the people involved are well known in the field of electroacoustic
free improvisation, have toured and made connections globally and most importantly, the
two long tracks are impressive and evolve dilligently and dynamically, in other words,
they are great music. Maybe I just don¹t know how some things have to work to be worked
out and after all, Nexsound is a perfect place for this album and I should be happy that the
album is out at all. Thinking too much about structures and the powers that lead to certain
decisions and actions will get me into trouble sooner or later, or so it has been prophesized
CD one contains three quartes of an hour of Perlonex with Keith Rowe playing tabletop guitar. Within a few minutes layers of distant sounds, rising hissing and noises getting denser and denser evolve from about nothing, opening spaces, building walls and rooms and halls and roofs. Staying away from building a monolithic brickwall of sound, the four musicians gradually grow a stream of sounds that swells, becomes bigger and bigger and starts to incorporate more and more space. At times a simple small bellsound forms the only constant rhythmical measure while the level of noise rises. Bitstreams of digital noise as well as looped cut impromptu recordings. After some time the soundstream has reached its culmination and starts to ebb down again, just as slowly but also just as headstrong as it grew. While listening you think that this point has come over and over again, but when it actually has come you will only have noticed when it already has gone by. More often than not you¹ll be wrong. You¹ll be amazed at the power this track can form without going to the extreme and harsh attack of, for example, Merzbow. Suddenly all that is left is a humming, vibrating bass sound that seems to live inside the walls rather than inside the boxes. And from there it starts again. Ebb and flow, the most eternal structure of sound there is.
CD two seems more lively and diverse, but nobody would judge if there wasn¹t the comparison to Keith Rowe on the first CD. Everything seems to be more on the surface as well, the movements and changes in the music not as hidden or subdued. Signified eloquently by the introductory speech of Palestine to the audience. Electroacoustics seems to live from dynamics as well as from the diversity and curiosity of and in sound. If the track with Keith Rowe is a prime example of controlling dynamics then the track with Charlemagne Palestine is a prime example of incorporating and discovering sounds from the subconscious. On the matter of dynamics on the other hand the second CD in this package suprisingly seems even more monosyllabic and woven along a singular line than the first. But since Palestine could do wonders on a piano that has only one key left, that just adds to the full vibrating drone-atmosphere of the event. A glistening, crackling fourty minutes of sound. Tension indeed. The most basic examination of the dynamics of tension, analysed by strengthening the density over a long period of time and then releasing it just as slowly. The true fascination of this movement is impossible for me to describe, and maybe I shouldn¹t so as not to kill the organism that sound can become if treated right by manipulation and the right way of listening. Probably just a modern form of zen-breathing? Well, breathtaking it is. Caution: if you are aware of adverse organic reactions to high frequencies, better stay away from this record.
- Georg Cracked, Monochrom.at -
Perlonex is an electro-acoustic trio founded in 1998 made up by Ignaz Schick, Jorg Maria
Zeger and Burkhard Beins. On the occasion of the Perlonex's fifth live concerts anniversary they
have involved for a commemorative live two other interesting musicians: Keith Rowe and
Charlemagne Palestine. They come from different areas rooted in the twentieth century
avant-garde tradition. Rowe was in the improvisation ensemble AMM, and before in the
fifties some seminal experiments with prepared guitar. Palestine, contemporary of Philip
Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich, is well known for his performances (and amongst them
the one in Rome with Musica Elettronica Viva in 1966-1971), his pianistic experiments and
especially his belonging to the minimal American movement. The latter induced him to use
tapes, carillon and structuring entire compositions on drones and tonal variations,
influenced by the Cage theories, so anticipating the most of the current researches in
electronic music. Two cds, with all the tracks live recorded at the Berlin's Podewil in
September 2004 by Christian Malejka, without any editing or added overdub. A faithful,
poetic and resonant account of how different generations of researchers can meet when
the conceptual basis are then shared and established.
- Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural.it -