Sound Sculptures (Wergo Records, 1985)

1. Siegfried Fink 'Metallophonie' (9:15)
2. Hans-Karsten Raecke 'Das Mecklenburger Pferd' (9:50)
3. Wolfgang Roscher 'Phonetische Etüde' (7:40)
4. Klaus Hinrich Stahmer 'Soundscape' (16:05)
5. Wilfried Jentzsch 'Lithophonie' (10:40)
6. Klaus Ager 'Alinkonie II' (13:25)
7. Herbert Försch-Tenge 'Tri-Cello II' (9:18)
8. Anestis Logothetis 'Klangagglomeration' (10:40)
9. Christoph Wünsch 'Kaleidoskop' (9:50)
10. Peter Vogel 'Kleines Fünfstimmiges Minimal Music Object' (6:30)

Total time: 1h44
Double-LP released 1985, Wergo Schallplatten Gmbh.

Published by Wergo in 1985, Sound Sculptures is a gorgeous, state-of-the-art overview of Austria and West Germany's instrument builders and sculptors curated by composer and music critic Klaus Hinrich Stahmer. A German equivalent to Bart Hopkins' Experimental Musical Instruments compilation CDs, though the concept here being that composers/interprets will use someone else's sculpture or sound construction to create their soundwork. The title's double-entendre is perfectly maintained throughout the album: sound producing actual sculptures and soundcrafting as an artform. Particularly striking is the variety of sonorities emited, from angklung-like metallophones to interactive electronic sensors, from industrial bleak soundscapes to subtle microtonal nuances, from improvised free music to drone-a-thon. This is rather un-classifiable music only occasionaly sounding like Stockhausen or Boulez solo percussion pieces. Apart from the sculptures, additionnal instruments include: strings, bowed metals, metal chimes, saxophone, sea shells, wood, processed vocals, voice, electronic effetcs, etc. While some composers/improvisors are instrument builders themselves, like Hans-Karsten Raecke (cf website), others are avantgarde music composers, like Greek-born Austrian Anestis Logothetis (1921-1994), whose enchanting and nuanced minimal music – one of the highlights of the set – blends electronic and acoustic sounds, and have a visual dimension often based on graphic scores (see Dmtls Merzbau's post). Wilfried Jentzsch studied with Xenakis in Paris (1976-1981) and is now an electroacoustic music composer living in Dresden. His piece Lithophonie is based on electronically processed sounds from a stone sculpture, with a decidedly stochastic touch in its clouds of high pitched notes. Herbert Försch-Tenge'sTri-Cello II sounds like a Zoviet-France live recording, complete with bass string instrument hit with mallet, ethnic flute and long reverb effect. Too many good tracks here to mention, but this is a major addition to the sound art pantheon that can even help widen the definition of it.
- Continuo