Die österreichische Band Radian pflegt seit zwei Jahrzehnten einen sehr eigenen Stil. Auf ihr fünftes Album haben sich einige eher gewöhnliche Stücke geschlichen.
VON NIKLAS DOMMASCHEK
Der »Abhub der Erscheinungswelt« – das sei es, womit die Psychoanalyse es zu tun habe, berichtet Sigmund Freud seinen Hörerinnen und Hörern in den Vorlesungen zur Einführung in die Psychoanalyse. Gemeint ist damit das Unscheinbare; Nichtigkeiten und kleine Vorkommnisse, die von anderen Wissenschaften beiseitegelassen werden, da sie als zu unwichtig und nebensächlich erscheinen. Das Kleine, Nichtige steht auch in der Musik der Gruppe Radian im Vordergrund. Hier geht es um Klänge, die sonst eher als Beiprodukte oder unerwünschte Nebengeräusche gesehen, gehört oder eher überhört werden. Oft klingt es, als hätte das Wiener Trio sich aufgemacht, die Rückseite der Musik zu erkunden. Hier werden Rauschen und Knistern an die Oberfläche gekehrt, das leise Rascheln eines Schlagzeugfells oder das Klick-Geräusch, das der Schalter zum Wählen der Tonabnehmer einer Gitarre macht, werden prominent eingesetzt. Die Stücke von Radian klingen weniger wie Rocksongs und mehr wie die mikroskopische Vergrößerung der Details, aus denen diese bestehen…
© jungle-world, Nr. 39, 29. September 2016
Text zur CD die im November erscheint:
Vienna is the home of Radian, Martin Brandlmayr (drums, electronics), John Norman (bass), andMartin Siewert (guitars, electronics), who have been influenced by and shaped the city’s vivid scene of electronica in the early 2000s. Vienna is currently a wide open creative home to many new music composers and innovators. Today, the members of Radian are pillars of that community.
The title of the album, On Dark Silent Off, is a nod to Ad Reinhardt, whose art and theory has been influential on the trio.
The juxtaposition of extremes (on/off) is present in Radian’s work: the contrast between light and darkness; and in musical terms, sound and silence and brightness/darkness of timbre.
Radian creates a field of tension between extreme dynamics, freely improvised parts and meticulous construction, an inherent contrast between soft sounds and sharp edits. Radian’s recording/creative process takes a central role in shaping the pieces. It is a two-fold process of creating material through improvisation, sound experiments and processing on the one hand, and a routine of carefully selecting and editing this material on the other. It is often the case that mere snippets are used out of hours of sound material. The contrast between the magic of the moment, spontaneous live performance and its subsequent careful construction shape the quality of the pieces.
Radian likes to deal with sound that could be seen as byproducts of a musical process and incorporate them into its pieces — the sound of a cable entering the socket of a guitar, the sound of a switch, hums, sound of the fingers tapping on the string of a bass or the sound of the hand gliding between two chords of a guitar. These sounds are not deleted, or hidden, they are often transformed into central elements of the pieces. The track “Blue Noise Black Lake” was built around a sample Radian recorded of Mats Gustafsson playing the pads of his saxophone. Radian uses the method of “microscopic“ recording to zoom into sounds that would more typically be overlooked: the rattling of a marble on Brandlmayr’s crotale placed on a snare like in “Codes and Sounds,” the beauty and richness of cymbals, acoustic guitars played quietly and recorded closely.
The title piece “On Dark Silent Off” was inspired by Austrian filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky’s Outer Space, masterful black and white collage created of found footage of a horror film. Radian premiered an early incarnation of On Dark Silent Off alongside the 35mm live film projection, at the Vienna international film festival, in the beautiful, historic theatre Gartenbau. Although the album version transformed from the debut, the atmosphere, the flickering of light and the mystery of Outer Space is still present in the piece.
This is one aspect. The album also finds Radian playing more direct and more physical than they ever have. This might derive from the fact that that pieces like „Pickup Pickout“, „Rusty Machines“, and „Dusty Carpets“ have been centerpieces of their recent live shows. On Dark Silent Off has a totally unique groove and is a remarkably individual musical statement.
Martin Siewert, who joined Radian in 2011, is a guitarist with range. Besides working in bands likeTrapist (with Brandlmayr and Joe Williamson), the trio Fake the Facts (with Mats Gustafsson, anddieb13), and with quartet The Peeled Eye (Steve Heather, Boris Hauf, and Christian Weber), he recently has been busy with playing a lot in New Music contexts, performing with the likes of Uli Fussenegger (Klangforum Wien), Ernesto Molinari, and Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, amongst others. In April 2016 he released a duo record with pianist and composer Katharina Klement (Hoverload), and in July 2016 will release Also, a duo with drummer Katharina Ernst.
Martin Brandlmayr works in the field between improvised music and composition. He has performed and recorded with Otomo Yoshihide, John Tilbury, Christian Fennesz, David Sylvian and many more. He has recently focused on composition and writing for various ensembles. He currently plays as a duo with ErikM called Ecotone and has performed with and released several albums as part of Polwechsel and Trapist (with Siewert and Joe Williamson).
John Norman was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, and has lived in Northern Italy, Glasgow (Scotland) and Innsbruck (Austria) before moving to Vienna in the mid 90s. He played bass in metal, punk and indie rock bands before joining Radian. Currently, he is also playing guitar and singing in a shoegaze band called Snoww Crystal.
Hier Ihre vorherige CD
It had been four years since „Juxtaposition“, our last record and one year of a self-chosen absence from the stage, that we met again to work on „Chimeric“. This break was a necessary step to leave any routine behind us, to restructure the working process, to rethink the concept of this band and its music. It was always a driving force within the band´s history to enter new territories, like it happened with the transition from the self-titled EP to the abstract minimalism of „TG11“ and finally in the more colourful rhythms of the „Rec.Extern“ and „Juxtaposition“ period. But this was done and we needed to go further, exploring forms and sounds we had not been dealing with so far – and adapting them to our system.
„Chimeric“ is not a polished album. Within our context it is raw, broken, even dark sometimes. Steady, multiple rhythms, layered on top of each other disappear into chaos and turn back into discreet structures in the next moment. References of rock music, executed with the precision of a sequencer; mutated, restructured. A lot on this album is about control and the loss of control. The risk of failure. This was probably always in our music, but kept in a very stable form, sometimes even hidden.
But „Chimeric“ is much more free. Some of the longer pieces are composed of very different parts and different colours along a continuous timeline. They tend to evolve in a narrative form and are moving through various scenes and surroundings, which is also present in the spacial relationship between the instruments. One could see the album as one continuous story, where some elements are passed from one piece to the next and then serve as the base for a completely new scenario. The result was something unpredictable and unstable, even for us.
The connection to electronic music is relatively loose. Short passages of drums, guitar and bass have been recorded live in our rehearsal space and re-organized on a computer. Like on our previous two albums, the editing process is comparable to extensive work with a tape machine. Cutting the recordings into small snippets or longer sequences, twisting and turning them around and putting them together in a new context. Pieces like „Git Cut Noise“ benefit from this method. On the other hand we played whole sequences almost entirely with just our acoustic instruments like in the second part of „Feedback Mikro/City Lights“. It’s two quite different methods but most of the time we used a mixture of them. In addition, a few electronic manipulations have been made to the sound, both through Stefan’s synthesizers and Martin´s computer. A synthesizer sound has been placed on top here and there, but over all we tried to preserve the raw energy of the recorded acoustic/amplified instruments. It depicts much more the individual musicians and their energy within a moment. We left it like that, if only to keep this polarity among three very different persons.
– Martin Brandlmayr, Stefan Nemeth, John Norman (Radian)