Published Dec 01, 2004Just a couple of rivers over from Fennesz's "idyltronic" take on Venice there's a landscape rife with robots that have human hands and feet. This is where Efzeg hail and play from. The improvising quintet stirs together acoustic and electronic sources until a third, transformed sound springs forth. A constant yet quietly spacious threnody of hums, crackles and radiator hiss is the shifting backdrop upon which guitarist Martin Siewert describes melodic and fleeting shapes. Elsewhere, voices and car sounds imported by turntablist Dieb13 provide occasional path markers along the darkened and dreamlike trail. Where the group succeeds is in giving each piece a shape and arc the listener can move along with. Rhythms are inconstant but appear fleetingly to propel the higher frequencies along. The overall effect is akin to figures obscured but visible with the colourful wash of an abstract painting. Some listeners can concentrate on revealing what is obfuscated while others will let the colour field engulf them.
What is it about the juxtaposition of acoustic and electronic instruments that you find appealing? Guitarist Siewert: Well, I just think it's a natural thing to do, and the worst thing that can happen to the computer or electronic instruments in general, is being separated from or treated different than other instruments. When it comes to Efzeg, the most interesting thing to me is the pretty wide variety of different backgrounds of the members, so there's quite interesting relationships between voices within the overall sound.
What are your feelings on studio improvisation versus live improvisation? When it comes to group improvisation, I dont think it can only be done live onstage. With certain projects I do a lot of post-production work as an afterthought, but a lot of this is done in an improvised way, having the machines running and doing real-time processing.
You seem unafraid to allow chords and melody to infiltrate otherwise more abstract works. Is this a conscious choice? It's definitely a conscious choice, sneaking harmonies and melodies into an aesthetic surrounding that pretty often reduces itself to so-called abstract sounds and sound sources. I'm not interested in purity at all; sometimes I have the feeling that certain tendencies in contemporary improvised music are about 40 (if not 50) years late (compared) to similar tendencies in other fields of art. (Charhizma)