LIMPE FUCHS – Pianobody 2002

(Seven Legged Spiders & Co.)

German sound artist Limpe Fuchs is not the kind of name that one sees popping out in trendy festivals and hip “avant” magazines. This is confirmed by the wholly spartan black and white cover lodging this CD: no modernist graphics, no liner or biographical notes (her website, as far as I could see, doesn’t feature an English version), no explanations whatsoever. But, once the disc starts, it dawns on us that no words are necessary when music speaks for itself; and speak it does, with Fuchs using the few means at her disposal to translate them into first-rate instant compositions and impromptu (or less) installations. “Odessa” pairs the instrument with a ring modulator and “metal discs rolling in a tube” to stretch the sounds until different kinds of resonance moisten the furrows of our old listening habits. “Pavolding” exploits the overtones deriving from the uncertain tunings and the preparations of an old piano, filling the air with infinite dissonances that sound celestial to these ears. “Erlangen” is a curious duet between an escalator and Fuchs’ harmonium, a “machine-rhythm versus airy clusters” tolerance that Pierre Schaeffer would have applauded and early Kraftwerk could have been willing to steal. “Orplid” sees Fuchs accompanying herself with dissonant touches while vocalizing in a style not too distant from early Meredith Monk’s, while “Karpathos” juxtaposes more prepared piano with the ambience of a sea cave, water sounds enhancing the artist’s expressive freedom. But my soft spot is for the two versions of “Berlin”, ironically the only piano-less tracks of the album, being performed on an harpsichord which sounds more like a koto or a harp; Fuchs reaches for perfect chords and gentle arpeggios managing to level any residual thorn in our spirit, which receives this timeless music like some sort of gift from a delicate-looking, sad-smiled creature. It’s almost like a soundtrack for a fairy tale, the most evident example of sensitiveness by an often overlooked artist who, in this particular instance, has given birth to what’s likely to become an obscure masterpiece.


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