Josef Klammer :: BARCODE QUARTET


:: Alison Blunt - violin
:: Elisabeth Harnik - piano
:: Annette Giesriegl - vocals
:: Josef Klammer:
drums, electronics

youtube video - live at Soundout Festival,  Canberra 2013
youtube video - live at A L´ARM Festival,  Berlin 2013
youtube video - live at :: Stockwerk, Graz 2013
youtube video - live at :: All Ears Festival, Oslo 2015

Foto by Peter Purgar, :: Jazz im Bild

Barcode Quartet is a free-improvising quartet that features musicians with no or little background in jazz. Barcode Quartet matches three Graz-based Austrians – pianist Elisabeth Harnik (known from the DEK Trio with Ken Vandermark and her collaborations with another Chicagoan sax player Dave Rempis, and French double bass master Joëlle Léandre), vocalist Annette Giesriegl, and drummer and electronics musician Josef Klammer with London-based violinist Alison Blunt, who collaborates with Harnik in the interdisciplinary project “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose …”- Hommage á Gertrude Stein, and is a frequent collaborator with drummer Mark Sanders. Klammer suggested the title for this border-crossing quartet, thinking of it as an ironic protest by a group that defies any attempt to label or codify its music.

Blunt is a classically trained violinist who played in chamber ensemble and orchestras who took up improvisation following repeated wrist injuries. Harnik studied classical piano and composition and even performed as a jazz singer before shifting her focus to free improvisation. Giesriegl also studied jazz singing but focuses on free-improvisation and is known for her overtone and throat singing and Indian vocalizing techniques. Klammer is busy working with sound art, radio plays, and theater projects, expanding his drum drum-set with electronics and sound samples.

Live in Brasil is the sophomore album of the quartet, following You’re It (Slam Productions, 2012), which was also recorded live on August 2015 at Jazz na Fábrica Festival in São Paulo and the following day at Quintavant-Audio Rebel in Rio de Janeiro, distributed only in digital format. The live setting and the extended, improvised format enable the four musicians to operate freely on the spectrum between the spontaneous and intuitive, composition in real-time and what slowly blossoms as nuanced compositions. All while experimenting and incorporating the highly singular herstories/histories of the four musicians.

The opening, 35-minutes “Tranquilo”, present the quartet in its most eccentric, inventive and imaginative mode while maintaining a balanced and emphatic interplay. Harnik's percussive motifs on the piano keys and strings extend the subtle, colorful percussive work of Klammer, both cement the erratic atmosphere of this piece. Giesriegl's wordless vocalizations and suggestive phrasing offer a dadaist narrative, full of sudden dramatic twists, intensified and sometimes even contrasted by Blunt's playing. Somehow all the chaotic, dense playing is channeled into a powerful momentum, gravitating towards an ecstatic conclusion. The following “Gig Rec” begins with the fractured, rhythmic run of Klammer, soon abstracted with even faster rhythmic gestures of Giesriegl, Harnik and Blunt, all employ extended vocal, bowing and hammering techniques. But later this piece adopts a contemplative and abstract mode that highlight the evocative and passionate delivery of Giesriegl and the inventive, free-spirited playing of Blunt. The São Paulo performance concludes with a short, playful encore, “Our Toys”.

The last piece, “Audio Rebel’s Dog” deepens the wild, chaotic vein of opening piece. The distinct eccentric and unstable nature of this improvisation still makes some sense. Obviously, mysterious, unorthodox and non-linear kind of sense, but somehow all the weird-sounding ideas fit this unique puzzle. The violin of Blunt that quotes folk motifs, the operatic-theatrical delivery of Giesriegl and the percussive sparks and the sprints on the piano keys of Harnik and the sparse drumming and strange noises of Klammer all connect, collide, disperse and connect again, immediately and organically. All together suggest a rich, multifaceted sonic picture that never exhausts you from deciphering its myriad elements.

By Eyal Hareuveni

Annette Giesriegl is a dynamic, exciting and creative vocalist who is based in Graz/Austria and works in the field of jazz and improvised music. Her studies of overtone singing, throat singing, Indian music with an emphasis on Indian vocal techniques, the use of electronics and other extended vocal techniques give line to the textural play of piano, violin and drums.
London based musician Alison Blunt has consuming interests in making music in the moment and in interdisciplinary explorations. Elisabeth Harnik is an accomplished classical pianist and composer based in the County of Styria/Austria who´s consistently proved that academic training is no impediment to spontaneity.
Harnik and Blunt - both representing the generation of improvisers who didn´t come to the discipline via jazz - work within an electro-acoustic inspired sound-world, using unique preparations and extended techniques. Graz based musician and media artist Josef Klammer has worked continuously developing his instruments and sound since the middle of the 80´s. His drums and subtle electronics bring expressive punctuation and a huge range of colour, providing the musical glue to the ensemble.

:: review: Andreas Fellinger, FreiStil #54, Mai/Juni 2014 (only German)
:: HP of Alison Blunt
:: Gallery - JAZZ im Bild (thanks to Peter Purgar)

CD "You´re it"

New release: BARCODE QUARTET - Live in Brazil
review on freejazzblog:

Track 1 - 3:
Recorded at Jazz na Fábrica Festival, São Paulo, August 28th, 2015
Bruno Correa - Technical director/ sound engineer - PA
Leonardo Marques - sound engineer - monitor
Lirinha Morini - roadie
Produced by Jazz na Fábrica Festival / SESC and Barcode Quartet
recording engineers: Hélio Pisca
recording assistant: Renan Perobelli

Track 4:
Recorded at Quintavant-Audio Rebel, Rio de Janeiro, August, 29th, 2015
Alex Chichoski: sound engineer
Pedro Azevedo: PA and recording assistent
Yago Franco: PA
Produced by Bernardo Oliveira, Pedro Azevedo and Barcode Quartet.

Thanks to: Austrian Embassy Brazil, Isabella Tomás, Ricarda Kato, Ralf Dick, Kato Booking, Bernardo Oliveira, Manoela Wright, Paola Gatto


From deep down below
The barcode quartet presented itself at the Grazer Stockwerk bar some usual cast members, radical noise clouds and free improvisation around the vocalist Annette Giesriegl. Especially violinist Alison Blunt showed off her multifaceted mastery of the material, which downright made you afraid. It begins with formless whirring: coloured dots scurry lolloped across keys, threads of violins hang in the air like warm, sticky air currents. If you let yourself take part in this Avantgarde Expedition inside the gloomy heart of the Stockwerk you needed hardwearing ears. This is where Annette Giesriegl squats, stares and smirks with the Barcode Quartet. Annette Giesriegl isn't a vocalist but a dark cultist who chews up syllables bleating goat style, spitting them out again, accompanied by unholy monks chants...making you feel blissfully warm and at the same time sending shivers down your spine with foreboding. Next to her stands Alison Blunt, who drives her bow across moaning strings, rummaging deep inside her violin's body for the warm flesh of the sound, while all above trembles with hypervibrato. What a relief, when Elisabeth Harnik reverses the sound towards 'major' with her rasping glass harp playing on her piano, Josef Klammer uses his electric controllers to play air drum samples and one narrowly escaped from deep down below.
F. Juracek / Kronen Zeitung / May 6th 2018 / translated from German: Natasha Tauber

Kommen wir zu guter Letzt zu den zwei unumschränkten Festivalhöhepunkten, die insofern über eine interessante Schnittmenge verfügen, als an beiden die Klavierspielerin Elisabeth Harnik maßgeblich beteiligt ist. So imponiert der kräftige Einsatz ihrer Mittel bei frappanter Beweglichkeit ihres Spiels am und im Instrument sowohl im Barcode Quartet mit Alison Blunt, Annette Giesriegl & Josef Klammer als auch im Zusammenwirken mit Dave Rempis, Tim Daisy & Gigi Gratt – der nebenbei noch einen hinreißenden Kinderworkshop mit dem lokalen Nachwuchs zu verantworten hat, auf den er die reiche Erfahrung seines monatlich im Alten Schl8hof Wels Gruppen - improvisation praktizierenden GIS Orchestra ummünzt. Es ist die kaum fassbare Homogenität, resultierend aus dem oftmaligen Zusammenspiel, die das Barcode Quartet kennzeichnet. Extrem elastisch gestaltet man die Organisation der Klänge zwischen Elisabeth Harnik, der Sängerin Annette Giesriegl, der Bratschistin Alison Blunt und der federnd-tänzerischen Perkussion von Josef Klammer, der zudem originelle Elektronikgimmicks ins Spiel bringt.
Andreas Fellinger / :: FreiStil #54, Mai/Juni 2014

The Barcode Quartet’s You’re It is a meeting of musical minds from the Graz and London new music scenes, Alison Blunt (violin) and Elisabeth Harnik (piano) representing the latter, Annette Giesriegl (vocals) and Josef Klammer (drums) the former. Recorded live in Frohnleiten near Graz, the foursome’s interplay is intricately balanced, inherently exciting without overt melodrama, often ending in sudden hushes. So imbricated are the improvisations that it can be difficult to distinguish individual instruments. Ranging in mood from quiet ‘chamber jazz’ to extroverted power-rock pulsing, tracks like “Oxford Street”, “Alpenglow”, “Driver”, “Aaahdrenalin” and “Wondering” all realize an immensely satisfying musical gestalt.
:: New York Jazz Record

Ein ähnlich dichtes Zusammenspiel wie auf dem Opener „You’re it!“ erlebt man in der improvisierten Musik nur selten. Auf den ersten Blick überrascht daher die knappe Beschreibung auf der CD-Hülle: Das Barcode Quartet lebe von der Vielfalt der musikalischen Herangehensweisen, von dem Aufeinanderprallen unterschiedlicher Charaktere auf der Bühne. Nach eingehender Beschäftigung werden jedoch tatsächlich zahlreiche Gegensätze hörbar, die dem Album seine Spannung verleihen. So streben auf „Oxford Street“ zwar alle Musiker in dieselbe Richtung, doch die Geschwindigkeiten, die gewählten Abzweigungen variieren. Elisabeth Harniks Piano klammert sich an kleinste motivische Zellen, Alison Blunts Violine schneidet sich den Weg frei und Josef Klammer sprintet, stolpert, trommelt hinterher. Über all dem schwebt Annette Giesriegls beschwörend experimenteller Gesang. Hier wird musikalische Individualität gelebt, ohne das Gesamtergebnis aus den Augen zu verlieren. Zwar sind nicht alle Stücke dieses Live-Mitschnitts ähnlich intensiv, und vor allem die kurzen Verschnaufpausen lassen zündende Ideen vermissen. Doch das vermag den Gesamteindruck nur unwesentlich zu trüben, zumal das Quartet am Schluss des Albums doch noch beweist, dass es auch die Kunst der ruhigen Töne beherrscht: Das knapp zehnminütige „Wonder“ klingt wie ein Konzertabstecher auf den Meeresgrund, wie ein Freejazz-Konzert in Zeitlupe. Das Konzept des Openers wird ad absurdum geführt, das straff gespannte Korsett gelockert und die Töne in die Weiten des Ozeans entlassen.
:: freiStil

Barcode Quartet is of Alison Blunt on violin, Elisabeth Harnik on piano, Annette Giesriegl on voice and Josef Klammer on drums & electronics. This quartet features two Brits (Alison & Elisabeth) and two musicians from Austria (Annette & Josef) and was recorded live in Austria in July of 2011. We know of Ms. Blunt from discs on the Emanem and PSI
labels that she is on while Mr. Klammer has recorded with Martin Philadelphy. International free improv has a way of reaching across borders so that musicians who can't understand the same vocal or written language can still communicate ideas via music. It would no doubt be nearly impossible to figure where exactly where any of these
musicians came from by listening to what they do here. Not that it really matters. What does matter is the end results which are spirited, creative and focused into a group sound. For those of you who have a problem with improvised vocals (I don't), Ms. Giesriegl is integral to the quartet's sound, blends strongly and never takes over. Ms. Blunt plays acoustic violin and like Szilard Mezei is a gifted improviser who consistently adds sparks and flourishes to quartet. There are some sections on this disc where the quartet really take off and soar, swirling around one another to an ecstatic conclusion. Truly strong medicine for the tough times present and ahead.
Bruce Lee Gallanter, :: Downtown Music Gallery

BARCODE QUARTET / You're It (SLAM Productions)
Improvisation libre avec Alison Blunt (violon), Elisabeth Harnik (piano), Annette Giesriegl (voix) et Josef Klammer (batterie, électroniques). Un quatuor à trois femmes, c'est rare en impro! EtYou're Itest un fort joli disque. Enregistrement en concert. Des pièces courtes qui combinent le caractère abstrait de l'improvisation libre britannique et une légère tendance jazz aux racines suisso-autrichiennes (dans "Wondering", en particulier). Les interactions entre violon et piano sont particulièrement intéressantes.

Free improvisation with Alison Blunt (violin), Elisabeth Harnik (piano), Annette Giesriegl (voice) and Josef Klammer (drums, electronics). That's a quartet with three women, a rarity in free improvisation. And You're Itis a very fine disc. A live recording. Short pieces that blend the abstract nature of Biritish free improvisation and a certain Swiss/Austrian jazz feel (especially in "Wondering"). The interactions between violin and piano are particularly interesting.
:: François Couture

BARCODE QUARTET / You're It (SLAM Productions)
Il live, registrato al festival Kunsthaltestelle Streckhammerhaus in Austria, vede all´opera un quartetto austro-inglese che fa dell´improvvisazione totale radicale la sua bandiera. Nonostante l´apparente osticità della proposta la musica ha un che di caloroso e vibrante, dato dall´esperienza dei musicisti in questo settore. Provengono tutti da esperienze di musica contemporanea, non necessariamente di matrice jazzistica ma conoscono l´arte dell´improvvisazione e dell´interazione. La pianista Elisabeth Harnik lancia dei suoni presi dall´interno del suo strumento e subito la voce di Annette Giesriegl ed il violino di Alison Blunt trovano un punto di accordo, un dialogo serrato con quelle note, entrambe al di fuori di quella che è l´ortodossia dei loro strumenti. Ed il batterista Josef Klammer, anche agli effetti elettonici, aggiunge la sua parte alla bolgia di suoni, a volte sottili ed invitanti, come il lungo dialogo tra voce e violino di Fractured. Ci sono i polifonismi di Oxford Street, insomma non mancano le sorprese ad ogni passo, frutto di idee comuni con precise tracce per svolgerle. Ad ogni brano arriva quella sorpresa che solo l´avanguardia sa dare. A volte scomposta, emozionante, radicale, appassionata. Ma sempre avanguardia, in grado di smuovere l´ascoltatore, di creargli dei dubbi sulle sue certezze musicali. Sull´ultimo brano Wondering c´è Denovaire, musicista che ha studiato in India gli strumenti di quella tradizione, ad aggiungere un tocco di esotico con il suo esraj al già stimolante collage di suoni del quartetto.

The live recording at the festival Kunsthaltestelle Streckhammerhaus in Austria, sees the work an Austro-English quartet that makes total radical improvisation its flag. Despite the apparent osticità the proposal that the music has a warm and vibrant, as the experience of musicians in this area all come from experiences of contemporary music, not necessarily die but know the art of jazz improvisation and of 'interaction. The pianist Elisabeth Harnik launches sounds taken from her instrument and immediately the voice of Annette Giesriegl and violin of Alison Blunt find a point of agreement, a close dialogue with those notes, both outside of what is the orthodoxy of their instruments. And the drummer Josef Klammer, including the electronic effects, adds his part in the bedlam of sounds, at times subtle and inviting, like the long dialogue between voice and violin Fractured. There are polifonismi of Oxford Street, in short, no shortage of surprises at every turn, the result of shared ideas with precise traces to perform them. Each song comes as no surprise that only the vanguard can give. Sometimes broken, exciting, radical, passionate. But more advanced, able to move the listener, to cause him any doubts about his musical certainties. On the last song Wondering there Denovaire, a musician who has studied in India, the tools of that tradition, adds a touch of exotic esraj to the already exciting collage of sounds of the quartet.
:: MUSICZOOM / Vittorio lo Conte

Annette Giesriegl è una vocalist di origine austriaca che nel corso della sua carriera ha esplorato ogni possibile declinazione della voce, compresi studi sui sovracuti e tecniche vocali utilizzate nella musica indiana. Attorno alla figura di questa spericolata improvvisatrice ruota il Barcode Quartet completato dalla violinista inglese Alison Blunt, studi accademici alle spalle musica sperimentale come filosofia di vita, dalla notevole pianista Elisabeth Harnik e dal batterista Josef Klammer, profondo conoscitore e studioso delle applicazioni elettroniche allo strumento.
Con quattro personalità del genere, riunite in concerto nel luglio 2011 in Austria, il risultato non poteva che essere perlomeno sorprendente. You're It è improvvisazione radicale allo stato puro, esasperazione timbrica, corde di violino che vengono (mal)trattate per provocare straordinarie sonorità, il piano percosso non solo sui tasti ma anche nella sua pancia, la batteria improbabile metronomo dal timing impazzito. E quella voce, che ringhia, sussurra, si accende improvvisa, diventa incandescente, per virare successivamente verso tonalità impossibili, acide e gutturali, ataviche e futuriste.

Ma ci sono un'anima ed un cuore in questo vortice di suoni e di gesti disarticolati, in apparenza frammentati e frammentari, senza logica manifesta eppure così a proprio agio nella loro aleatorietà. Anima e cuore che, dapprima sotterranei, esplodono definitivamente nel conclusivo "Wondering," brano nel quale l'amata "India" irrompe grazie alla presenza dell'esraj (arpa indiana), e dove la voce di Griesriegl diventa ambrata come miele, con un retrogusto speziato che sa di incenso.
:: All About Jazz / Italia / di Vincenzo Roggero

order under: :: SLAM Productions