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In an interview published on the excellent “Extract” book on his Nonvisualobjects label, Heribert Friedl states that, when creating his music, he’s mainly interested in the “soul of the sound”. One would think to a form of purity, to some sort of unadulterated timbral research; but the sounds contained by this disc will rather convince you that the acceptation of the term “soul” differs pretty much, depending on who uses it. “Trac[k]_t” is the final chapter in Friedl’s exploration of the cymbalom, an instrument that he started playing as a young kid then abandoned for a while, only to return to it in recent years in an obviously more radical fashion. Friedl uses every nuance of his stringed machine as food for a complex apparatus of digital processing that transforms the original voice into a series of electronic outbursts, percussive throbs, electro-static activities and ill-conceived Morse-coded messages. Just every once in a while, the original source makes itself heard in one or a few hit-and-pluck peek-a-boos, just to remind us about the cymbalom’s real (?) character. I can’t help but think to the buskers playing it on Rome’s subway trains; sure enough, they won’t go beyond Beethoven’s “Für Elise” and I wonder if they’d have a nervous wreck if hearing what can be made with that box instead. Like his previous explorations of the same area in albums like “Bradycard” and “Back_forward” (both on Nonvisualobjects), Friedl’s music is glacially austere, almost uninviting, yet gifted with the disciplined intelligence of a multi-talented artist for whom a scent, a shape or a sound are only means to a creative end, or to a new definition of “tone”.

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