Stifters Dinge on ECM (CD Review)

Heiner Goebbels
Stifters Dinge
ECM Records New Series CD

Stifters Dinge is a “soundtrack album” for a 2007 theatrical installation by composer/director Heiner Goebbels.The work features five mechanical pianos that were reconfigured to produce all sorts of sounds, pianistic and otherwise. Spoken word excerpts by famous figures — Claude Levi-Strauss, William S. Burroughs, and Malcom X — along with Bill Patterson’s mellifluous reading of a text by the work’s titular figure, Romantic era writer Adelbert Stifter, are joined by field recordings from far flung destinations: Greece, Latin America, and Papua New Guinea .

Photo: © Mario del Curto. Used with kind permission.

Integral to the work’s staging are elemental components: water, ice, smoke, stones, etc. These supply still another layer of the recording’s sound world. Often, as one finds with the crackling ice recordings heard during Patterson’s narration, these natural sounds take on a role supportive of the piece’s narrative. Elsewhere they seem to be part of its abstract musical fabric. The music itself is of similarly varigated design. The mechanical pianos sometimes make utterances closer to the realm of found sound and experimental electronics. These are mixed with more identifiably pianistic scalar passages. Chromatic clusters and, contrastingly, a bit of Bach’s Italian Concerto, make appearances.

Photo © Mario del Curto. Used with kind permission.

Of course, questions of identity are inevitably posed when confronting any work by Goebbels: what does this accumulation of disparate stuff mean? Does it cohere? I can’t answer the first question, as I’m certain that there as many pathways into Stifters Dinge as there are elements contained within it. And the second question is elusive too. Goebbels allows his materials to share the same space without forcing them into congruity. Instead, the listener (and, in the case of a live performance, viewer) is invited to engage with a design built out of elements that are in a variety of relationships with one another: sometimes in tension or opposition and at others in accord. And, one finds that when these simpatico sonic meetings happen, like oases in the midst of flux, they are often quite moving. Thus, Goebbels treats both the sounds with which he composes and the listeners who attend to them with a great deal of respect. Stifters Dinge may require much, even from a thoughtful listener, but it rewards them with an imaginative labyrinth of appealing sounds to explore.

Paul Banks: “Young Again” (YouTube)

Interpol’s Paul Banks has released a solo album, titled Banks, via Matador. Today the official video for album track “Young Again” was released. It points out that, when one puts aside the selective amnesia and nostalgia, some aspects of feeling “young again” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Tour Dates
November
Saturday 03 – Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest
Friday 09 - Washington, DC – The Howard Theater
Saturday 10 – Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero
Tuesday 13 – New York, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall
Thursday 29 – Las Vegas, NV – House Of Blues (Las Vegas)
Friday 30 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory

December
Saturday 01 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
Monday 03 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues San Diego
Wednesday 05 – Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda Theater

Thursday: Harvey Uptown and Fairouz in Brooklyn

Among Thursday’s offerings, two composer portrait concerts compete for the attention of New York audiences.

Photo by Maurice Foxall.

I’m writing about the Jonathan Harvey concert for Musical America. Performed by Ensemble Signal at Miller Theatre, it features two of his large scale, spiritually inspired ensemble pieces, Death of Light/Light of Death (1998) and Bhakti (1982) (event details here).

Bird Concerto with Plainsong, Jonathan Harvey’s recent CD on NMC, is one of my favorite discs thus far in 2012.

Mohammed Fairouz is having his portrait concert  at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn. It is being produced by the folks at Issue Project Room. The program includes three world premieres and features the Borromeo String Quartet, Cygnus Ensemble, Elizabeth Farnum, pianists Kathleen SupovéBlair McMillen, and Taka Kigawa, and mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert. (event details here).  


Hot off the presses is Fairouz’s debut on the Bridge imprint, Sumeida’s Song, an opera about peacemaking and tolerance, written when the precocious composer was only twenty-two years old.

Ty Segall: “The Hill” (Video)

Ty Segall’s recorded output has been so prolific that even fans might be having trouble keeping up.Today Drag City releases Twins, his latest LP. Check out a video for the album’s lead off single, “The Hill.” We’ve also included his touring schedule below.

TY SEGALL TOUR DATES

Sun. Oct. 14 – San Francisco, CA @ Treasure Island Festival

Wed. Nov. 7 – London, UK @ The Garage

Thu. Nov. 8 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institut

Fri. Nov. 9 – Glasgow, UK @ Art School

Sat. Nov. 10 – Athens, GR @ An Club

Mon. Nov. 12 – Lyon, FR @ Clacson

Tue. Nov. 13 – Amiens, FR @ La Lune des Pirates + K-Holes

Wed. Nov. 14 – Rennes, FR @ L’Antipote

Thu. Nov. 15 – Rouen, FR @ Le 106

Fri. Nov. 16 – Metz, FR @ Les Trinitaires

Sat. Nov. 17 – Besancon, FR @ La Rodia

Sun. Nov. 18 – Bourg en Bresse, FR @ La Tannerie

Mon. Nov. 19 – Milano, IT @ Low File

Tue. Nov. 20 – Lausanne, CH @ Le Romandie

Wed. Nov. 21 – Nïmes, FR @ La Paloma

Thu. Nov. 22 – San Sebastian, ES @ Gazteszena

Fri. Nov. 23 – La Roche Sur Yon, FR @ Le Fuzz’Yon

Sat. Nov. 24 – Paris, FR @ BB Mix Fest

Mon. Nov. 26 – Luxembourg City, LU @ Exit 07

Tue. Nov. 27 – Kortrijk, BE @ DE Kreun

Wed. Nov. 28 – Groningen, NL @ Vera Club

Thu. Nov. 29 – Leipzig, DE @ UT Connewitz

Fri. Nov. 30 – Brussels, BE @ Atelier 210

Sat. Dec. 1 – Koln, DE @ Mini Fest

Sun. Dec. 2 – Utrecht, NL @ Guess Who Festival

Tue. Dec. 11 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos w/ Night Beats

Wed. Dec. 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Waldorf w/ Night Beats

Thu. Dec. 13 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater w/ Night Beats

Sat. Dec. 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey w/ Night Beats, Pangea

Wed. Jan. 23 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress w/ Ex Cult

Thu. Jan. 24 – Marfa, TX @ Padre’s w/ Ex Cult

Fri. Jan. 25 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk w/ Ex Cult

Sat. Jan. 26 – Dallas, TX @ Sons of Hermann Hall w/ Ex Cult

Sun. Jan. 27 – Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone w/ Ex Cult

Mon. Jan. 28 – Nashville, TN @ The End w/ Ex Cult

Tue. Jan. 29 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West w/ Ex Cult

Wed. Jan. 30 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade w/ Ex Cult

Thu. Jan. 31 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Ex Cult

Fri. Feb. 1 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall w/ Ex Cult

Tue. Feb. 5 – Montreal, QC @ Cabaret Du Mile End w/ Ex Cult

Wed. Feb. 6 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Club w/ Ex Cult

Sat. Feb. 9 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle w/ Ex Cult

Sun. Feb. 10 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol Underground w/ Ex Cult

Mon. Feb. 11 – Denver, CO @ Hi Dive w/ Ex Cult

Hurray for Haas

The scuttlebutt around Columbia University’s new senior composer hire seems to be true. As Alex Ross reported on The Rest is Noise yesterday, Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas will be joining Columbia’s faculty sometime during the 2012-’13 academic year, replacing Tristan Murail, One revels in the possibilities, not only for graduate students in composition, but for the rest of us too; we’ll likely get to hear some terrific programs during his time stateside!

The Wellesz Theatre is streaming Haas’s 2011 opera Bluthaus in its entirety via YouTube (embed below).

Our friend Thomas Bjørnseth has some terrific musical selections by Haas on his Atonality.Net website.

Flying Lotus: “Putty Boy Strut” (Video)

An animated video from Flying Lotus doesn’t accomodate cute plush creatures. Instead, it is a robot filled allegorical tale featuring the destructive tendencies of population explosion, amoral technological innovation, and rampant consumerism. But there’s a silver lining amid the metallic trash: a cyborg butterfly rises from the detritus.



Warp releases the band’s new full length, Until the Quiet Comes, on 10/2.