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Dörner / Kelley / Neumann / Rainey
Houston TX, 21 September 2001

These four ethereal players from two continents had the patience and empathetic understanding of their mission statement to construct a session built solely on the careful search for undiluted sound. Axel Dörner, Greg Kelley, and Bhob Rainey began with conventional articulation but soon switched gears and began taking apart their brass and woodwind instruments. They produced sensitive, gushing sounds from the various separated components, albeit the sounds were at times nearly inaudible. Breath gasps, scraping and grating abrasions, tonguing movements, and sheer wind generation all come together in a portrait of non-music that was driven by the cautious, introspective selection of electronic stimulation by Andrea Neumann.

Neumann manipulated a wired string assemblage that resembled the inside body of a piano. She used household utensils and various other objects that were massaged or struck against the strings to create sounds ranging from ringing buzzes to nerve-shattering static. Neumann’s movements caused the hardware to emit either sensitive nuances or overt forms of electronic noise, and by carefully selecting the right implement, she controlled the pace of the session.

Dörner was also a controlling factor, punching at his powerbook computer to augment the tonal output. Inputting commands through his keyboard was an exercise he did more than actually play his trumpet. Kelley and Rainey continually experimented with the disassembled parts of their horns, seeking to find the right complementary tonal fragment that would fit the complex puzzle they all were assembling.

This type of performance required the audience to be absolutely still and attentive, and in fact it was so quiet that on several occasions, the remote sound of a distant train whistle could be heard above the music of the players. Their performance was an overly serious event where the creation of all forms of sound contributed to a total sonic portrait lacking any semblance of musical flow. They never varied from this track, and the result was stark, desolate music requiring great perseverance to understand, let alone enjoy.