nörz: (Also Known As) Acker Velvet

Par for the Schraum course, (Also Known As) Acker Velvet is another uncompromising exercise in explorative electroacoustic music-making, in this case by nörz partners Andreas Trobollowitsch (tape, electric guitar, bass, melodica, radio, etc.) and Johannes Tröndle (cello, prepared cello, live electronics). The duo's debut album under the nörz name burrows deeply into thirty-two minutes of granular textures, fuzzy drones, and crystalline swirls. Though indexed on paper as eight separate tracks, the material unfolds as an uninterrupted flow of shape-shifting material. Because it's the most identifiable and natural sound present, the bow and pluck of the cello occupies a central though hardly a singularly dominant role.

That the two began their collaboration by producing experimental soundworks for radio stations is evident in the disc's material, not simply due to the presence of radio static and interference but because of the abrupt shifts from one flickering episode to another. Trobollowitsch and Tröndle initially spent a day in May 2009 laying down solo live improvisations at Amann Studios, which they subsequently developed into the album's pieces by editing, manipulating, and re-composing the original recordings. The result is material that doesn't alternate between acoustic and electronic sound worlds but instead melds them into one, such that the listener feels as if he/she is wandering through a forest of alien sounds. Bass tones and cello traces may be audible in “ka,” for example, but the piece more resembles six obsessive minutes of amplified micro-insectoid activity than anything resembling conventional musical form.

January 2010