b°tong I EMERGE I If, Bwana I Gerald Fiebig: THING

With the first instalment of the THING series, attenuation circuit also celebrates the 10th anniversary of its very first vinyl release. In 2012, b°tong and EMERGE released their self-titled split LP on the label. In contrast to other split LPs, their pieces were composed specifically for this LP, with both artists sharing the same pool of sound materials to create their respective pieces. The 100 copies shared a common design created by visual artist Tine Klink, but as all sleeves were hand-painted, each copy had a recognisable, yet still unique cover. This concept earned the label a mention in recognised art director Stuart Tolley’s book “Collector’s Edition: Innovative Packaging and Graphics” (London: Thames & Hudson 2014).

In 2013, this album was followed up with another split LP by If,Bwana and Gerald Fiebig which followed the same musical and visual approach. Together, these two split albums formed attenuation circuit’s original Vinyl Series, which was soon replaced by individually conceived vinyl albums. To celebrate the anniversary of attenuation circuit’s first venture into vinyl territory, this THING collects all four sides of the two original LPs. To retain the “LP side” feel, the two pieces by If,Bwana have been transferred to the CD as only one track.

If, Bwana
Fie’s Big Organ / Recorders for Augsburg
original organ recording, Gerald Fiebig
recorders, Al Margolis
composed / assembled by Al Margolis
mixed and mastered by Tom Hamilton
ifbwana.com

Gerald Fiebig
Sustained Development
recorder (acoustic), Al Margolis
organ (acoustic), Gerald Fiebig
guitar (acoustic), Jesus Jackson
guitar (electric), Mathias Huber
organ (electric), Gerald Fiebig
recorder (electric), Gerald Fiebig
guitar (acoustic) processed by EMERGE
composed / assembled by Gerald Fiebig
Mathias Huber and Jesus Jackson appear courtesy of
Jesus Jackson und die grenzlandreiter.
The recorder (acoustic) and organ (acoustic) parts
are based on the same source recordings as track 1.

previously released on vinyl in 2013 

Fiebig / EMERGE / Bonafini

Gerald Fiebig: Far-end Crosstalk (Augsburg – Jinan) – Field recordings from Jinan (China) by Nicolai Volland.

This triple-split album presents electroacoustic compositions by attenuation circuit label head EMERGE, long-time associate Gerald Fiebig, and – for the first time ever on a physical release – the Italian, Bremen-based composer and sound artist Mattia Bonafini. The final track is a trio improvisation EMERGE, Fiebig and Bonafini played at Hulsberg Crowd in Bremen in June 2019, a temporary art location in a former nurses‘ home which has since been demolished.

Although the three pieces were composed independently, they seem to share a certain aesthetic feel: Sonic atmospheres stained by constant hiss (EMERGE), vinyl surface noise (Bonafini), and car traffic (Fiebig) pervade the album. Out of this grey sleet of acoustic debris, the composers try to salvage moments of clarity in the form of concrete sounds, melodic fragments or drone chords.

EMERGE works with a variety of field recordings that every once in a while quite literally emerge from the monochrome fog of background hiss that seems to be visualised in the colours of the cover artwork. The ‚betamorphoses‘ of the title could refer to the moments in which the static drone hiss of the piece morphs into more distinct acoustic scenes. One could think of it as moments when the static hum of ‚capitalist realism‘ (Mark Fisher) that muffles the whole of our reality is replaced by the sounds of something different – ‚betamorphoses‘ perhaps being beta tests for a metamorphosis of society at large that needs to take place.

Fiebig’s ‚Far-end Crosstalk (Augsburg – Jinan)‘, based on field recordings from his homebase Augsburg and the soundscape of the Chinese city of Jinan (recorded by Nicolai Volland in 1995) spells out this need for change along ecological lines. The piece maps Murray R. Schafer’s idea of the urban ‚lo-fi soundscape‘ onto the problem of climate change: With increasing car traffic, cities around the world not only sound increasingly the same, they also face the same problems with air pollution. The Jinan sounds are modulated with a filter based on frequencies of the note C (for China), the Augsburg sounds are filtered around the note G (for Germany).

‚Turning Pages‘ of musical history, or rather turning music around to see its other side, is what Mattia Bonafini did for his piece: He recorded surface noise from vinyl records in the library of Bremen’s Hochschule für Künste where he studied electroacoustic music, and thus created the piece by manipulating this background noise of the officially documented history of music. Like the other pieces, ‚Turning Pages‘ is an act of musical upcycling in which apparently non-musical sounds are used to create an aesthetic structure and, through sound, make us think about the world.

The live cut from Hulsberg Crowd – the venue itself being a sort of creative, if temporary, repurposing of an urban ‚left-over‘ – continues this by using ’sub-musical‘ elements such as no-input mixer and vocal noises rather than speech or song. But the tension felt in the three previous pieces, the feel of a present wedged uneasily between an untenable past and an uncertain future, is exploded in the energetic interaction of the trio, into a ‚lightbulb moment‘ (Lester Bangs) of whatever the listener may perceive in it – utopian or dystopian?

Voiceworks

„Zwischen Ambient und Wort-Loop-Zungenbrecher-Punk“ (Alexander Möckl aka Poembeat)

„A short, fun, and profound release“ (Vital Weekly)

After 30 years in poetry and 15 years in sound art, Gerald Fiebig’s »voiceworks« fuse the two strands of his artistic practice in one single release. In addition to electroacoustic compositions based on both his own voice and that of long-time collaborator Michael Herbst, Fiebig presents, for the first time ever, a collection of sound poems.

These run the gamut from nonsensical, rhythmic, yet still rather semantic spoken-word pieces to exercises in voice-based performance art in which speech is impeded by stones of increasing size being inserted into the speaker’s mouth (»Rolling the Stone of Demosthenes up the Fucking Hill«) or a fragment of speech is repeated up to the point of physical exhaustion (»echokammer vs. schreizimmer«). The track »nothing essential happens in the absence of noise« playfully references the book Noise by Jacques Attali, an important early text for the theorisation of noise. Thus, »voiceworks« also continues Gerald Fiebig’s research into the intersections of meaning and noise as well as music and noise that has informed his artistic and theoretical work at least since the release of »Pferseer Klangtrilogie« and »Phonographies« in 2013.

Interview with Gerald Fiebig

+++

Gerald Fiebig schreibt seit 30 Jahren Lyrik und macht seit 15 Jahren Klangkunst. Mit »voiceworks« führt er nun diese beiden Stränge seiner künstlerischen Praxis in einer einzigen Veröffentlichung zusammen.

Darauf finden sich elektroakustische Kompositionen, die auf der Stimme von Fiebig und der seines langjährigen Kooperationspartners Michael Herbst basieren. Darüber hinaus gibt es hier aber zum allerersten Mal auch eine Sammlung von Lautgedichten zu hören. Diese spannen den Bogen von rhythmischen, aber immer noch recht semantischen Spoken-Word-Nonsenstexten bis zu stimmbasierten Performances. So wird bei »Rolling the Stone of Demosthenes up the Fucking Hill« das Sprechen erschwert, indem der Sprechende immer größere Steine in den Mund nimmt; »echokammer vs. schreizimmer« wiederholt ein Textfragment bis zur körperlichen Erschöpfung der Sprechwerkzeuge.

Das Stück »nothing essential happens in the absence of noise« ist eine humorvolle Anspielung auf das Buch Noise von Jacques Attali, das ein einflussreicher Vorläufer der heutigen Theoriebildung zum Thema Noise ist. Das Konzept Noise – als Rauschen (im Unterschied zur Bedeutung) bzw. als Geräusch oder Lärm (im Unterschied zur Musik) – spielt in Gerald Fiebigs künstlerischer und theoretischer Arbeit (u.a. der Aufsatz Nichts (als) Noise unter der Sonne? – Utopien und Aporien des Noise für Testcard # 26) spätestens seit den beiden 2013 erschienenen Alben »Pferseer Klangtrilogie« und »Phonographies« eine zentrale Rolle. Mit »voiceworks« knüpft Fiebig auch an diesen Aspekt seiner künstlerischen Forschung an.

Interview mit Gerald Fiebig

Gerald Fiebig: Chords of Shame

Am 5. Februar 2020 ließ sich der FDP-Politiker Thomas Kemmerich mit Stimmen der AfD zum Ministerpräsidenten von Thüringen wählen. Während Georg Katzer in seiner Radiokomposition „Mein 1989“ (1990) des demokratischen Aufbruchs in der DDR musikalisch gedenkt, gemahnt mein Stück an einen Tiefpunkt der Demokratie im wiedervereinigten Deutschland. Die im Titel benannten „Akkorde der Schande“ (der Titel ist eine Anleihe bei dem Song „Chords of Fame“ von Phil Ochs) bestehen aus einem beim Umbau meines Studios versehentlich entstandenen Störgeräusch, das mit Resonatoren auf Basis der Töne A, F, D sowie auf Basis der Töne F und D in einer anderen Tonlage gefiltert wurde. Das „P“ von „FDP“ wird durch einen anderen Teil des Noise-Artefakts repräsentiert. Ursprünglich sollten die Akkorde mit besonders geschmacklosen Synthesizer-Presets eingespielt werden, doch der elektroakustische Glitch erwies sich dann als konzeptionell noch besser geeignet, um einen sogenannten „Betriebsunfall“ des Parlamentarismus musikalisch zu thematisieren. Die kompositorische Kernidee des Vertonens von Parteinamen verdanke ich dem Stück „fck a f d“ von elektrojudas (https://elektrojudas.bandcamp.com/track/fck-a-f-d). Die Anregung zu der für viele meiner Arbeiten grundlegenden Methode, Bedeutung tragende Buchstaben und abstrakte Notenwerte in symbolische Bezüge zu setzen, verdanke ich dem Essay „Schrift und Klang in experimenteller Musik und Literatur“ (Zeitschrift für experimentelle Musik, Heft 2, März 1985) von Hans Rudolf Zeller, der wie Georg Katzer 2019 verstorben ist.

Thomas Kemmerich, a politician of the German Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), was elected prime minister of Thuringia with the help of votes from the right-wing populist AfD party. While Georg Katzer remembers the democratic departure of the GDR in his radio composition „Mein 1989“ (1990), my piece is a memorial for the rock bottom of democracy in reunited Germany. The „Chords of Shame“ mentioned in its title (borrowed from the song „Chords of Fame“ by Phil Ochs) consist of a disturbing noise, generated by mistake while renovating my studio, and filtered with resonators based on the tones A, F, D and F and D as well at a different register. The P of FDP is represented by a different part of the noise artefact. Originally, the chords were to be played with synthesizer presets of rather bad taste, but the electroacoustic glitch proved to be better suited to focus on an „operational accident“ of parlamentarianism. The compositional core idea of scoring the names of political parties I owe ro the piece „fck a f d“ by elektrojudas (https://elektrojudas.bandcamp.com/track/fck-a-f-d). The motivation for constructing symbolic connections between abstract note values and letters full of meaning I owe to the essay „Schrift und Klang in experimenteller Musik und Literatur“ (in: Zeitschrift für experimentelle Musik, vol. 2, March 1985) by Hans Rudolf Zeller, who died in 2019, like Georg Katzer.

title: DEGEM CD 18: 20_20
release date: 30.09.2020
artist: various artists
order no.: ed09
time: 76:01 min
full colour digipak with 6-panel fold out booklet in german and english. Curated by Stefan Fricke, produced and designed by Marc Behrens. 1000 copies.

Available from aufabwegen mailorder.
Price: 13,00 euro

DEGEM CD 18: 20_20
2020 is (was) a dramatic year. This is (was) evident already in its first few weeks. Fears, worries, hardships everywhere, even panic, utter helplessness, but also disgraceful ignorance and arrogance towards the perceiveable dangers around us, which continue to increase and diversify steadily, having already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. This number, which increases daily, this number, which cannot describe the suffering and death of each single human being, this alarming number draws perpetually closer. Much has been (is being) consumed by this, been (is being) laid idle, much (leads) has lead to great existential afflictions. 20_20 – subject and title of the DEGEM CD 18 – records, documents, abstracts (and intervenes against) this situation, these situations, this network of situations, which is, of course, far more extensive and detailed than music could ever encompass. Nevertheless: The CD collects a many-voiced selection of aesthetic statements as hindsights, as previsions, dystopian / utopian / resigning / courageous / protesting / alarming / optimistic / comforting /… /… that react to incidents, experiences, and the severe events in the still ongoing calendar year 2020: Beethoven 250, the continuous destruction of environment and democratic values, the pandemic. This CD is dedicated to the memory of Georg Katzer, pioneer of electroacoustic music in the German Democratic Republic and long-time honorary member of DEGEM, who died on 7 May 2019 at the age of 84 years. In his radio pieces Mon 1789 (1989) and Mein 1989 (1990), the illumination and scrutiny of two important revolutionary years in contemporary history is both impressive and riveting.
With contributions from Marc Behrens, Gerald Fiebig, KedArY, Jörg Lindenmaier, Nicola L. Hein/Joshua Weitzel, Clemens von Reusner, Maximilian Marcoll, Wolfgang Motz, Monika Golla, Peter Kiefer, Klarenz Barlow, Julia Mihály, Ralf Hoyer and Johannes S. Sistermanns.

Glitchworks

The album could be considered an exercise in musical upcycling (or a punk version of the Oval approach). Different glitches from various defective CDs were recorded onto the tracks of a four-track cassette recorder. All pieces on this album were created by mixing down the tracks in different ways. The only sound effects used (in real-time during the mix) were the pan, treble, mid, and bass controls of the tape recorder.

Cover art: Tine Klink

Pulsar

The fascination for drone phenomena and the wish to actively examine them were important incentives for my path into Electroacoustic Music. „Pulsar“ is the attempt to make a repetitively pulsating noise loop function like a drone texture by treating it tonally. / Ein wichtiger Impuls für meinen Weg in die elektroakustische Musik war die Faszination durch Drone-Phänomene und der Wunsch nach aktiver Auseinandersetzung mit ihnen. „Pulsar“ ist der Versuch, einen repetitiv pulsierenden Geräusch-Loop durch klangliche Bearbeitung wie eine Drone-Textur wirken zu lassen.

Gerald Fiebig: Pferseer Klangtrilogie

The ’sound trilogy‘ was created for three successive performances in the studios of the artists Anda Manea, Gabi Fischer & Günther Posch, and Gerti Papesch. It moves from Word to Noise to Tone, confronting Fiebig’s poetry and fragments thereof with the sound of Günther Posch’s sculptures and an acoustic interpretation of paintings by Gerti Papesch, who also painted the cover.

Die Klangtrilogie wurde für drei aufeinanderfolgende Performances in den Ateliers der Künstler*innen Anda Manea, Gabi Fischer & Günther Posch und Gerti Papesch entwickelt. Sie bewegt sich vom Wort über das Geräusch zum Ton, indem Fiebigs Lyrik (und Fragmente davon) konfrontiert wird mit dem Klang von Günther Poschs Skulpturen und einer akustischen Interpretation der Bilder von Gerti Papesch, die auch das Cover gemalt hat.

Sustained Development / EMERGE: Hörbar in Farbe live

„Im Mittelteil geben sich die Herren Gerald Fiebig (SUSTAINED DEVELOPMENT) & Sascha Stadlmeier (EMERGE) die Ehre, die gemeinsam am 19.02.2011 ein Konzert in der Galerie am Graben in Augsburg performten, das unter dem Banner “Hoerbar in Farbe” lief. Unvorhersehbare Wolke von Experimenten, beschreibt das Ergebnis von SUSTAINED DEVELOPMENT & EMERGE trefflichst, dessen “chaotische” Strukturen aus Rhythmik & Atmosphären gleichermaßen bestehen. Bestimmt nicht im ersten Hördurchlauf komplett zu erfassen, aber für Kenner improvisierter Inhalte ein Muss!“
RaF, Kulturterrorismus