AMN Reviews: Stefan Schmidt: můra; arc/hive b-[classical guitar] [Bandcamp]

Stefan Schmidt, guitarist, composer and sound artist from Baden Baden, Germany, is a musician of many different sides. Although his primary instrument is classical guitar, which he studied in music schools in both Germany and Argentina, he also played electric guitar in punk bands and more recently has broadened out to play other string instruments and to work with electronics, which he often uses to create gradually developing, industrial- and noise-informed soundscapes. The latter is on display in můra, a set of nine pieces for cello and electronics. Throughout the album, Schmidt applies different types of electronic processing to his cello work. The title track and opening piece, for example, uses granular synthesis to transform bowed strings into skittering waves of abstract sound while still retaining something of the cello’s native sound. As on můra so on other tracks the acoustic instrument is recognizable even as its sound undergoes metamorphoses. On zoufalství a single bowed tone surfaces and descends relative to a deep bass foundation; on hřbitor the instrument’s sound is stretched and slowed to the point where one can imagine each individual hair of the bow pulling on the string. On rubáš the cello takes on a motoric sound, revving on a slow trill.

Several months before he released můra, Schmidt released arc/hive b [classical guitar], a collection of previously unissued performances for classical guitar spanning fifteen years. The fourteen tracks ably demonstrate the broad extent of Schmidt’s engagement with the instrument and its sonic potential. The playing ranges from conventional, as in juuichigatsu, to largely conventional with a judicious application of extended technique (gesrah), to almost entirely unconventional (eraly dren and maqtred, the latter a delicately beautiful piece constructed almost completely from harmonics). Prominent are pieces featuring electronic processing of the guitar, whether with granular synthesizer, loops or other forms of sonic augmentation. The final track, the nearly fifteen-minute-long muara, is a heavily treated performance that points forward to Schmidt’s recent work with sounds drawn from a dark ambient palette.

Daniel Barbiero

The Dream of the Ants at the Issue Project Room

On Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, a performance by The Dream of the Ants, a new chamber ensemble led by guitarist Terrence McManus will take place at New York’s Issue Project Room.

They will performing a new multi-sectional, through-composed work entitled, The Machine. The piece is divided into seven overlapping sections, and is highly influenced by the work of Morton Feldman, Gyorgy Ligeti, and Bela Bartok.

The Dream of the Ants
Thursday, February 5, 2009
8pm
Issue Project Room
The (OA) Can Factory
232 3rd Street, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215

The Dream of the Ants
Terrence McManus-classical guitar
Ellery Eskelin-saxophone
Gerry Hemingway-drums

website:
http://weirdtones.com

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