A new direction for Viennese electronica kingpin Patrick Pulsinger | Bleader

Friday, February 3, 2012

A new direction for Viennese electronica kingpin Patrick Pulsinger

Posted By on 02.03.12 at 01:59 PM

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Patrick Pulsinger
  • Patrick Pulsinger
In the 90s Patrick Pulsinger was a kingpin of the Austrian electronic-music scene, both as a producer (Sluts 'n' Strings & 909) and a label owner (Cheap), so I was surprised late last year to see his name on a new recording from contemporary classical label Col Legno. Besides Feldman captures a live performance during the Wien Modern 2010, a cutting-edge multi-arts festival in Vienna. The concert was part of a series called Feld(man) Forschung that Pulsinger curated. He assembled an unusual quartet to perform a piece that considers brilliant American composer Morton Feldman as a thinker and composer, without touching his actual music.

Joined on the 53-minute performance by Berlin-based American theremin virtuoso Pamelia Kurstin (who plays in Barbez), Dutch trombonist Hillary Jeffery, and Dutch bassist Rozemarie Heggen (who famously spent some time in the Ex during one of the band's most fertile periods), Pulsinger creates rubbery but abstract modular synthesizer tones and squiggles. Jeffery made what he calls "Score-Maps" for the piece, which combine text with graphic and traditional notation, but they provided only loose common reference points—and the performance was otherwise fully improvised.

The CD divides those 53 minutes into seven tracks, with titles reflecting some of Feldman's composerly concerns, like "Patterns Not Loops" and "Repeat Same Chord in Different Ways." Anyone familiar with Feldman's music will certainly hear echoes of it in Besides Feldman, but it's not beholden to his work—you can easily appreciate its beauty even if you know nothing about Feldman. The recording is gorgeous, bringing a luxurious physicality to each sound, from the most frictive to the most bulbous. Some of that rich definition is destroyed by MP3 compression, but you can certainly get a fair sense of the album from the track below.

Pulsinger/Kurstin/Jeffery/Heggen, "Persian Carpets"

Today's playlist:

Oscar Toney Jr., Loving You Too Long: The Contempo Sessions (Shout!)
Jana Winderen, Energy Field (Touch)
Peggy Lee, Black Coffee (Decca/Verve)
Merle Travis & Joe Maphis, Country Music's Two Guitar Greats (Sundazed/Capitol)
Reed Trio, Last Train to the First Station (Kilogram)

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