live: schnitt!, untertagemusik nr.1  

Frank Niehusmann
live: schnitt!, untertagemusik nr.1

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Listen to a 30 second soundfile of this release (~80kB).

All Music Guide

  The new CD "live" by Frank Niehusmann contains two works:
1 = "Schnitt!" (8 movements)
2 = "Untertagemusik Nr.1"

"SCHNITT!" (German word for "cut!")

  • - it's a real-time live-performance with open-reel analogue tape machines,
  • - it's a live-loop-scratch-concert, a noise- and sound-composition, a sound-play,
  • - it's a composition with sounds of nature, everyday-life sounds, machine sounds, heart beats and sine tones.

Frank Niehusmann's instruments for the live-performance of "Schnitt!" are two tape recorders:

  • - a conventional analogue open-reel stereo-machine with the prepared sounds, tones and noises on conventional analogue open-reel stereo-tapes,
  • - an analogue open-reel 8-track recorder, on which a tape-loop is spinning round.

Like a DJ Frank Niehusmann mixes samples, cuts, fragments and passages from his prepared stereo-tapes into the circular course of the 8-track loop, thereby creating a dense, rhythmic network of sound-cuts and noise-combinations.
The original sound of drummers on the Marrakech market stands equally to the bass tone of industrial machines in Germany, synthetic frequency-modulation, scottish bagpipers, dolphins, laughing children, rain drops, Diesel engines and much more.
On stage one sees Frank Niehusmann playing with the buttons and knobs of the machines: forward, rewind, start, stop, play, changing the loops, play again, scratch, dacapo ...

More pictures:

  "Untertagemusik Nr.1"
(Underground mining music no.1)

Frank Niehusmann's composition "Untertagemusik Nr.1" was honoured in June 2002 at the 29th International Competition of Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art in Bourges (France) in the category "works for Electroacoustic and sonic art".
International Competition of Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art: Documentation of the 29th International Competition 2002:

The sounds of "Untertagemusik Nr.1" are recorded underground in the depth of 1000 meters. Frank Niehusmann was there with a very special recording-equipment. His interest in this sound-world comes from his place of birth: the Ruhr area in Germany (in German: "Ruhrgebiet") is an old industrial area which is rapidly changing into newer economies. But some of these underground mining places are still working: the very last of them. In a few years there will be absolute silence in the "holes" 1000 meters under the streets.

"Untertagemusik Nr.1" was composed and performed using the same analogue tape technology like for the work "Schnitt!". The special point in "Untertagemusik Nr.1" is the special collection of sounds. The method of composing and performing with this sounds: 1) digital preparation of the sounds with audio-software and computer; 2) organizing a set of special sounds into one line on an analogue stereo tape; 3) playing these sounds from the analogue 2-track-tape "live" into selected tracks of the rotating 8-track tape-loop.
There are single moments in "Untertagemusik Nr.1" when you hear additional sounds programmed by Frank Niehusmann himself on a synthesizer: his personal waving "good-bye" to this underground sound world.

In his live-performances on stage Frank Niehusmann very often played "Schnitt!" and "Untertagemusik Nr.1" together: "Untertagemusik Nr.1" was always the end of his performance. So: on the CD "live" it's like in his concerts in Munic, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Sheffield/UK, Portland/Oregon, Kansas City, New York, Buenos Aires ...

  Reviews on Frank Niehusmann's concerts with "Schnitt! and "Unteragemusik Nr.1":

The stage set-up is as minimal as it is thought out: sound material from Niehusmann's extensive archives is played from a 2-track tape machine onto 8 tape loops, one at a time, on an 8-track tape machine in which the 8 tape loops of varying lengths are threaded. The system itself – a loop in which you can watch the sound material moving, so to speak; the manipulation stations are open for everyone to see. This transparency is the basis for Niehusmann's concept, which he presents strictly as a ritual. Carefully threads the tape, starts, bends to the right towards the 8-track machine to record, mix and delete with a precision that can be read in the language of his body, turning the sounds into 8 noise scenarios whose basic rhythms are determined by the length of the tape loop, broken and compressed innumerable times through his DJ-like treatment. The shaman appears in the music, while the presentation does not drop the ritual even in the intervals between the pieces: each of the looped tapes is handed over to a guest – a highly abstract object of devotion, as he had pointed out that the loop is empty both before and after the piece. Niehusmann himself is a component of his system, forces himself onto the audience – and that is a rarity in the world of noise music where the artists tend more and more to disappear, together with their laboratories, behind white fluorescent apples, compensating for a lack of stage presence, if at all, in multimedial form. A video does not sweat – he does, a little, and later, in the lobby, he snorts in satisfaction about the performance, which impressed even the most cunning of the Experimental veterans: even they! had never used a tape machine like that; ... Musique concrète for the knowledgeable and for the neophyte ...
(Sonia Roelke about the "Schnitt!"-concert at "Hoerbar" (Hamburg/Germany), 26 April 2002, in: "tba fanzine",

...was Frank Niehusmann's performance of "Schnitt!" He used two tape decks (you read right -- Tape Decks). One contained a reel of carefully indexed and marked samples. The other played a loop onto which Frank carefully and rhythmically recorded samples from the reel, creating an evolving texture that was exhilerating --and wonderful to watch ...
(David Mooney about the "Electronic Music Midwest Festival" 2002 in Kansas City, in: CECDISCUSS, March 2002; CECDISCUSS is a forum created for the Canadian Electroacoustic Community CEC)

... Frank Niehusmann started a strange ceremony ... the feeding of the big tape recorder with an empty tape loop ... - Dextereously and masterly Niehusmann transferred noises, snatches of voices and other components of his sound material from prepared stereo tapes to various tracks of the eternal loop. All this intensified swiftly to both poetic and amusing structures. The result you could listen to was a highly complex playing with addition and subtraction, intensity and decomposition ... - How he arranges these sounds ... is highly artistic. And this fascinating sound-magician has definitely complete command of his art ...
(Sven Thielmann, in: Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 28.10.1999, Essen/Germany)


Frans de Waard at Vital Weekly 378


Noisegate 6/03


My Way 55