© 2017

Burkhard Beins / Lucio Capece / Martin Küchen / Paul Vogel
Fracture Mechanics
MIKROTON CD 56 | 2017

Edition of 300

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1. Transubstantiation
2. Pebble Snatch
3. Pendentive
4. Transmogrification

Burkhard Beins hand oscillator, monotron, e-bowed zither, snare drum and objects
Lucio Capece soprano saxophone, soprano saxophone samples, wireless speakers
Martin Küchen tenor saxophone, flute, radios, ipod, speakers
Paul Vogel air from another planet contained in terrestrial glassware

In October of 2014 Fracture Mechanics traveled to Ljubljana to play and record. The recording at Radio Student involved the transubstantiation of base liquids into nectar and thence by an alchemical process into music.

Fracture Mechanics, the scientific study of cracks in any form of material, is a well-chosen metaphor for the examination of music, sounds, shapes and their breaking points. The fact that this has given the word "fracture" a slight semantic degrading is of particular importance. Even more unorthodox expressions - such as "brötzmann-esque arousal" or "the buzzing valves à la Dörner"- will inevitably wear thin over time, so too the mechanics of sound - that is, the basic ideas about music and its performance must be subject to critical review and alteration. This quartet is particularly suited for such a task: Lucio Capece, Argentinian-Berliner perception worker (featuring on Echtzeitmusik Berlin and duo album with Chris Abrahams), Burkhard Beins, legendary echtzeitdrummer and Post-Punk fan (featuring on Echtzeitmusik Berlin, Glück's album, and Future Perfect with Serge Baghdassarians and Boris Baltschun), Martin Küchen, Lund based saxophonist and baguette baker (featuring on The Bakery, a duo with Keith Rowe), and last but not least, Swiss/Irish clarinetist and domestic glassware operator Paul Vogel (a new artist in our roster). Do not miss this excellent opportunity to become acquainted with some of Europe's most influential profiles when it comes to the treatment of drum-head friction, precise gurgling, conceptually static noises, analog synth putter, ultra minimalism, radio distortion aesthetics, and disassembled wind instruments.

Reviews

Chain D.L.K., Stuart Bruce:
The four-piece behind “Fracture Mechanics” compare their musical processes to an alchemy where base elements are woven into sonic gold. With a mixture of conventional instruments- saxophone, zither, flute- alongside more ambiguous credited instrumentation including iPod, “objects” and “air from another planet contained in terrestrial glassware”, it’s clearly a unique blend of elements, does it achieve chrysopoeia?

After the brief conversational ambience of “Transubstantion”, proceedings start in earnest with 25-minute-long “Pebble Snatch”. Soft electronic interference, buzzes and hums meander in and out. Slowly bowed harsh string tones and gentler bell-like notes plink away with a rhythm that’s extremely slow but definitely present. Metallic scratches become slowly more apparent, as does Paul Vogel’s glassware contributions which give things an extremely faint, strangely Aboriginal-sounding distant blown percussive flavour.

“Pendentive” is a touch more abrasive, with high-pitched squeals and tinnitus-like modulations more sharply juxtaposed with the guttural tubular elements sourced from deep sax notes and single drum hits. Throughout all the pieces there’s a respectful abundance of space and the whole thing is fundamentally quiet, drawing your attention into the sonic details and allowing an interaction with any other sounds that may be present with the user.

This arrangement continues into final, half-hour-long piece “Transmogrification”, which pushes back drops the lower register tones in favour of just the difficult squeals, at times leaving just the high resonance that’s so close to the edge of perception that you begin to question your own ears.

This is a work that’s on the difficult side of avantgarde, lengthy, awkward, and revelling in frequencies that can’t be described as comfortable. It’s a bold work, and while I don’t think the result has an atomic number of 79, fans of extremely fractured, nails-gently-down-a-blackboard-style experimental music will definitely appreciate it.

Bad Alchemy, Rigobert Dittmann:
'Transsubstantiation' und 'Transmogrification' sind mit ziemlichem Anspruch belastete Vorstellungen, 'Pendentive' klingt als deutscher Hängezwickel zwar albern, ist aber als Quadratur des Kreises große Baukunst. Und 'Pebble Snatch' meint ebenfalls etwas Meisterliches, nämlich sich die Murmel zu schnappen und damit zu zeigen, dass man kein Grashüpfer im Kung Fu mehr ist. Somit richtet Fracture Mechanics (mikroton cd 56) den Sinn auf Höheres, verortet sich und uns aber noch unverwandelt und diesseits. LUCIO CAPECE (soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, wireless speakers, sound selfies), BURKHARD BEINS (percussions), PAUL VOGEL (electronics, vase, clarinet - wobei 'Luft von anderem Planeten, enthalten in irdischen Gläsern' vielversprechender klingt) und MARTIN KÜCHEN (saxophones & speaker) bereiten erstmal nur rumorend und bruitistisch sprühend das Feld. Die Luftsäulen sind als potentielle Vertikale nur ganz verhuscht und gedämpft, schnarrend und röchelnd oder viehisch schnaubend erkennbar. Beins Monotron und E-Bow, oszillatorisches Ticken oder metallisches Schleifen, auch ein gläsern feiner Klingklang, haben allerdings einen thaumaturgischen Anstrich, vor allem das gepaukte Pochen. Dazu erklingt auch mal ein beschwörender orientalischer Gesang. Wobei letztlich diese AMM'sche/Keith Rowe'sche 'Mystik' doch akusmatisch verborgen bleibt, die Absicht ebenso wie das undurchsichtige Procedere. Hinter der weihevollen Aura könnte sich ebensogut die Zubereitung von Rührei und Tee abspielen.

freiStil, Felix:
Elektroakustik par excellence produzieren Beins/Capece/Küchen/Vogel auf fracture mechanics. Burkhard Beins (oszillator, monotron, zither, dr, objekte), Lucio Capece (ss, samp, lautsprecher, präparationen), Martin Küchen (ts, fl, radio, ipod, lautsprecher) und Paul Vogel (glasobjekte) verknüpfen Intensität mit Witz und Radikalität mit Spieltrieb. Das Musiziermaterial erfährt hier die Transformation in brisante Klangwelten, wahlweise auch, wie zwei von vier Tracks verheißen, Transsubstantiation und Transmogrification, was immer damit gemeint sein soll. Den Vogel schießt Paul Vogel ab, der gleich Luft von einem anderen Planeten in Glas gefüllt halluziniert. Outer space ist das, fesch bis faszinierend.

Vital Weekly, Frans de Waard:
Following forty minutes of wall of sound approach it is perhaps good to step back, sit down and relax and the quartet that offers 'Fracture Mechanics' provide exactly the right soundtrack for that. We have here four veterans of the improvisation scene; Burkhard Beins (hand oscillator, monotron, e-bowed zither, snare drum and objects), Lucio Capece (soprano saxophone, soprano saxophone samples, wireless speakers and preparations), Martin Küchen (tenor saxophone, flute, radios, iPod, speakers) and Paul Vogel, who gets the most curious instrument credit in some time; 'air from another planet contained in terrestrial glassware', whatever that is. There is a short, introduction opening piece of people speaking (maybe the musicians), but the main portion are three very long pieces, with a total length of seventy minutes, of some very careful improvised music. Lots of very remote sine wave sounds from whatever sources and the saxophone of Capece sometimes being the only instrument that can be recognized for playing small waves above the abstract mass of sound that meanders below. There is a wealth of sound events happening, and sometimes it is way below the threshold of hearing, and sometimes quite a lot above that.