the ratio of Austria's geographical size to the number, quality and
ideas of its contemporary musicians?
To put it in other words: does a centuries-old, globally lasting musical tradition promote just a potential for instead real innovation? And is this innovation merely a reaction to a musical Americanism that found its parameters in - rebellious - jazz and Afro-American music on the one hand, and - on the other hand - set the standard for technique and perfection? Can we compare ourselves with the latest trends and developments of the American music scene?
That's what we wanted to find out when in the autumn of 1993 we set up the small music festival "Austrian Soundcheck" and attempted to do a first screening of the Austrian innovative jazz scene ranging from improvisation, all sorts of cross-overs to electro-acoustic music. At the end of the three days we had realized that presenting the originality of this Austrian musical cross-section had been overdue. The result of the festival was our determination not to let the finest of its projects stew in their own juice any longer - but to have them put up to comparison.
Where else but in New York's "Knitting Factory" - the standard-setting disreputable domicile of the avant-garde of jazz and rock, from where some years before bands had started to tour Europe's relevant clubs and festivals - should "Austrian Soundcheck" be put to the test for international qualification?
The "Klammer & Gründler Duo" from Graz were among the three unconventional duos to be presented at the first "Austrian Soundcheck" in the Knitting Factory on May 8th and 9th 1994. Without doubt the couple were the most innovative and substantial band on the program. After 12 years of consequent work and musical practice with sampling techniques, electronic environment and electro-acoustic happening they surely are among the world's best in this genre. Finding their own concept of music in the almost non-verifiable modern scenario of computer music, sound manipulation and electro-acoustic improvisation between experiment and new musical insight, makes them outright unique.
The formal components of their highly dynamic improvisations are sounds produced by themselves and reflections on these sounds, electronic reflections on natural bodies of sound and environment-scans for potential sound sources, together with a questioning and rejecting of structures. Their approach is viewing the computer as a tool of making worlds perceptible.
The CD does not just reproduce a live performance. What is more, "Klammer & Gründler" used the recordings of their two concerts as raw material, separated, collected and re-shifted the parts to produce a paradoxical live event.
A paraphrase as another reflection. Perhaps a calmer one.
Otmar Klammer (translated into English by Lucia Waldhör)