Review of the Local Stop concert on May 30 2009: strøm + Flickr

For this Local Stop concert there seemed to be a unified theme: sonification of electricity. strøm (Gaudenz Badrutt & Christian Müller) did this with a massive amount of outboard gear, two laptops, a collection of Doepfer analog modules and a bassclarinet. Their playing was very much suspended like the crackling of electricity, only to explode towards the end of their set. As much as I enjoyed this climax, in a way it was breaking with their concept of constantly retracing steps, holding back, alternating short silences with small bursts. Beautiful also how Christian used very subtle playing on his bassclarinet to generate layered samples. All in all a great set, very focussed.

Flickr (Michael Vorfeld & Uli Böttcher) worked differently, with Vorfeld’s interactive lightbulbs being the focus of the performance. Aside from the visual aspect, the bulps also provided the sound material for the music. Hums being stretched digitally, fluorescent light starters multiplied by Böttcher’s live sampling setup to sound like a calimba, basslines triggered by alternating orange lights. Pulsating and very fascinating.

Another, more conceiled (as it should be) theme was the use of STEIM’s live sampling software LiSa, present in both sets, used subtly but surely.

From the concert mailing:

Flickr is an electronic duo based on Michael Vorfeld`s light bulb music, an audio-visual performance dealing with sounds, generated by the use of different light bulbs and actuating electric devices. Uli Böttcher connects his live-sampling machines to the bulbs using light-sensors, enabling the bulbs to control part of the electronic audio input. The Flickering of the various light bulbs is transformed into a rich world of noises, crackels and buzzing, into bits and pieces, reconstructed in new order. Once the setup runs the players interfere here and there, changing the direction of the ON and OFF. Performed in the dark Flickr establishes a pulsating ambience, a percussive texture of light and sound.

strøm are Gaudenz Badrutt, pianist and electronic musician and Christian Müller, clarinettist and electronic musician. Under the name of strøm the two artists from Biel (CH) blend various ingredients: free improvisation with conceptual music, contemporary music ideas with free jazz explosions, down to earth, drifty energy with spherical sound. The duo mixes electro acoustic chamber music skillfully with allusions to contemporary pop-aesthetics – strøm takes the fine swiss tradition of electro acoustic noise-improv further. Both musicians studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Berne/Biel but exposed themselves to manifold influences which they make use of in an experimental way. Under stage director Barbara-David Brüesch strøm produced a variety of theatre music (in Berne, Stuttgart, Dresden, Wien), played in rock cellars, at art openings, in the scope of installationary open-air concerts and with various musicians, such as Hans Koch, Martin Schütz, Urs Leimgruber, Jacques Demierre, Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller, Clayton Thomas, Burkhard Beins and Tomas Korber. Installations in different contexts (e.g. at Transmediale09 Berlin, Bieler Fototage, Passage Kunsthaus Zürich) are another field of work.

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