Ercklentz / Neumann Oberflächenspannung

Like many artists dedicated to extending the range of acoustic instruments, Sabine Ercklentz and Andrea Neumann bring trumpet and piano into a hall of mirrors that all but erases the expected sounds. Ercklentz’s breath rasps back and forth through a mouthpiece-less horn, the sound of which is sampled, cut, pasted and layered into a rhythmic cacophony of aspiration. Neumann’s piano consists only of the soundboard stripped and mounted to a tabletop then prepared and played with sundry objects. The opening piece is the most rhythmically kinetic and organised of the lot, resembling a pared-down Squarepusher composition more than an acoustic duo. Elsewhere, the sound becomes less in check and more animalistic, the trumpet taking on guttural or droning voices and the strings snapping like tendons pushed beyond tolerance, only to key into a gentle music box theme moments later. The players’ anticipation of direction is exquisite, though they also appear to rely on post-production editing to tighten up the less improvised compositions. Oberflächenspannung proves the limitless possibilities of expression existing within seemingly limited instrumentation. (Charhizma)