R E C E N Z J E
R E V I E W S
Le son du grisli, 9.09.2016
Je suis reconnaissant á Kasper T. Toeplitz (basse électrique, ordi) et Anna Zaradny (saxophone, ordi) de m'avoir épargné un passage par Google Trad (c'est toujours ça de gagné) puisqu'ils ont pris soin de traduire ce titre en polonais par « station jamais de la Vie ». Ce qui, vous imaginez, m'aide bien pour décrire ce travail enregistré (en concert?) á Varsovie il y un an de cela (septembre 2015).
Notons que les duos, ça les connaît : je pourrais revenir sur les expériences de KT avec Akerlund ou Buess et pourrais citer pour AZ un ouvrage avec Burkhard Stangl et un remix de Fennesz (après tout, le remix c'est un duo d'un autre genre...). Maintenant, puisque je connais mieux son travail que celui de sa collègue, je dirais que c'est Toeplitz qui pose le débat avec une basse qui monte lentement, qui pulse et qui vrombit. Et si c'est toujours un peu pareil avec lui (pas étonnant mais toujours détonant), je comptais sur l'apport de Zaradny.
Et c'est bien elle qui a l'air de siffler et de grésiller sur les drones, de charger en électricité aigue cette nouvelle expérience de basses aux frontières qui ne l'obligent pas á la station (puisque station jamais de la Vie !) mais á un complotage concrètement enchanteur. A Toeplitz de s'en apercevoir et de redoubler d'imagination pour la garder dans ses filets de cordes grésillantes et bing c'est l'interférence de ces deux mouvements contraires qui fait mouche (plus que bourdon).
(–) Pierre Cécile
A Closer Listen, 18.06.2016
How to best translate the live experience to the vinyl experience? Play it loud. Having been (pleasantly) deafened by Anna Zaradny at the Unsound Festival a few years back, I was heartened to hear two new LPs from the artist this season: the current collaboration with Kasper T. Toeplitz on Aussenraum and a solo set on Musica Genera / Bocian Records.
Zaradny has always played well with others, and the combination of her saxophone, Toeplitz’ bass and the electronics of both produce a mesmerizing effect. As indicated by the title (Station Never in Life), this is a station that doesn’t exist, a template that isn’t written, two performers passing each other on two trains during a thunderstorm, spewing static that melts the metal rails. The beauty of such collaborations is that they seem to come out of nowhere. Any resulting squall is normally heard once – improvised live – and disappears into the memories of listeners, who struggle to recreate the specifics of the non-compositions, eventually recalling only the feeling and tone.
“Jamais” just grows and grows, like a silent protest that becomes an exclamation (exploding here at 13:22 in a deep rush of bass). The press release implies that the piece reflects a soul-felt “NO!”, as in “No, I won’t accept your point of view, whatever you may say or do.” Yet it also implies morality, a reaction to the mainstream, to the teeming masses eager to listen to dictators and demagogues. This same reaction trickles down to the personal regions of religions and relationships, but it means the same thing: the loudest voice is not always correct, and the most popular movement may be wrong. It’s ironic then that this music is so loud, and invites volume; a further irony is that in its own avant-garde fashion it manages to imitate the classic ‘Til Tuesday track Voices Carry, a rare instance of Top 40 getting it right, Aimee Mann singing he said, Shut up louder than the voice of the original bully.
So no, Zaradny and Toeplitz will not shut up, not now, never, jamais. The flip side, “Never”, is even more ominous, more insistent, deeper still. Zaradny’s saxophone now sounds like a power drill, the electronics like misfiring circuits. This is the music of reaction that causes its own reaction, feedback that produces feedback, an insistence on protecting one’s own soul at any (irrelevant) expense. Yes, one needs to turn this up in order to appreciate it, but in the same way, one needs to turn up one’s own inner voice in order to break through to a purer, more honest life. If Stacja Nigdy w Zyciu serves as a lens for empowerment, the artists will likely be proud; this is their statement, but it need not remain exclusive.
(–) Richard Allen
The Sound Projector, 31.05.2016
Pretty intense slab of vinyl ominous doom-noise produced by an eminent and talented duo... Kasper T. Toeplitz and Anna Zaradny get their gloom-suckling nozzles together for a feast of grim heavy-set droning on Stacja Nigdy w Zyciu (AUSSENRAUM AR-LP-005), a title which is helpfully translated into French as Station Jamais De La Vie, and (less successfully) into English as Station Never In Life. Grammatical infelicities aside, the word that's relevant here is "Never", and to bring home the point "Never" is printed on both labels in full capitals, underlining the sheer, brooding negativity of this humming and suffocating noise that passes between the duo like waves of pure hate.
Actually it's not that bad; the job is fairly manageable from the listener's point of view, the sound adopting the same caste of grim forebodingness for both sides, and adhering to a simple structure of gathering intensity and evil-ness as the work progresses. Matter of the fact the vinyl seems to reach the same high point of insufferability at around the same notch, where the ghastly and unpleasant effects hit their crescendo and seal your fate. It's rather like being read a lecture about the imminent end of the world, or at least receiving unwelcome news from the utility board about your next bill. "A perpetual reconstruction of a crushed architecture," is how the press release would have it. Also on each side, when the pain is at its most agonising and the nettles of torture have woven into a thicket, there instantly follows moments of blessed relief where the music audibly drops its temperature and enters a more acceptable form of numbed, rhythmic droning. This may be intended as a balm; the effect for us is like inhaling a mouthful of ether.
Toeplitz continues his aural assault against mankind using his bass guitar and a computer, although the latter can probably be discounted to some degree as just about everything has a chip installed in it somewhere these days, even the doormat to the local newsagents. The main connection here is Poland, a surreal country renowned for its plumbing fixtures which release black ink instead of water, and where the clouds bring fish to all who wait under that fearful canopy of hardened sky which offers no possibility of release or escape. Toeplitz may live and work in Paris, and indeed owes his compositional credibility to some of the foremost musical institutions of France, but his origins are Polish. The same goes for Zaradny, who uses the saxophone (and computer; see previous remark) to make her music, and the record was recorded in Warsaw. I do seem to recall seeing Toeplitz perform at the famed Meltdown of Noise event in London, where he made a lasting impression with his bass, and ever since then I've tended to think of him as a bludgeoning man, using sound as a weapon. How handy it would be to have him next to me in a fight. He could open up his instrument case like Django opening his coffin, and bring out two heavy ball-peen hammers. With one of these babies clutched in each fist, he'd make short work of my opponents.
Stacja Nigdy w Zyciu is probably much more nuanced than this fanciful account might suggest, and the subtle variations in textures, timbres, and range will make this a rewarding listen, and it manages to pull off quite a balancing act between the heavier dub-like bottom end and the more delicate surface effects, which are unusual. As to Anna Zaradny, she's a formidable creator who runs Musica Genera (a label, a festival, a home brew) and is renowned as composer, improviser, and visual artist. And the "nihilism" I may perceive in use of the word "never" is very far from the actual intent; it’s more to do with a "cry for freedom" and an absolute position of no compromise... "you can torture me, don’t feel the pain, don’t even care" is probably meant to be heard as the resolute howl of the political prisoner or defender of belief whose defiant words are etched in blood on the handout.
(–) Ed Pinsent
Vital Weekly, 31.05.2016
(...) At the same time I also received a collaborative between Zaradny and Kasper T. Toeplitz, and from
the enclosed information I learned that Zaradny plays here saxophone and computer, while Toeplitz
plays bass and computer. The music was recorded in Warsaw last year, and mixed in Paris; I assume
the latter by Toeplitz. The title translates as 'station never in life' and one side is called 'Jamais', which
means 'Never', which happens to be the title of the other side. They have played together before, but
this is their first release of a collaborative effort. If you know both of these artists and their solo work
than you might know it can contain something that is very heavy. Not just some mindless noise
onslaught, but something that is heavy on a dynamic level. Always heavy on the bass end — that's
what for me the word 'heavy' means, and not 'noise', per se, but on top of that they wave together
some more mid/high frequency noise thing, from time to time. Especially Zaradny's work on saxophone
sounds great; it is hardly to be recognized as a saxophone, but also not like anything else really.
Having said all of this, the record is not about being all very loud and heavy, on the contrary it has
it's great moments of carefully chosen quietness also, in which the two of them play surprisingly 'quiet'
drone music. The division between the 'loud' and the 'quiet' is one that works quite well on this record.
It means one has to turn up the volume quite a bit to enjoy the most out of the softer passages but it
also means that the bass-heavy drones come to you in a very sonically present way. This is music
that doesn't allow you to escape from it; it is a full on demanding work but I love it. (FdW)
(–) Frans de Waard