Lehn/Schmickler

Neue Bilder
Mikroton Recordings CD 60

Applying facility and judgment to an aural panorama of textures constructed from the output of two characteristic electronic instruments are German noise-appraisers Marcus Schmickler, with a specially programmed computer and Thomas Lehn with a singular analogue synthesizer. Over the course of two lengthy improvisations they combine to wrench seemingly infinite unique sounds from their instruments, while suggesting logical timbral dissertations. That disruptions as well as discourses occur is a function of the uncharted paths followed. But immersion in the journey is more than rewarded.

A specialist in Jazz-like improvisation, Lehn has over the years played with stylists involved in the same quest as Roger Turner and Urs Leimgruber. Working in film, theatre, radio plays and so-called post-rock record production, Schmickler was a member of ensemble MIMEO with Lehn, but now devotes his time to teaching.

Academics and Rockers will probably be dismayed by Neue Bilder since it is neither precisely measured nor studded with repetative beats. Instead among the fluid upwards and downwards flowing oscillations and currents are buzzes, pauses, surges, instantaneous stop-starts, wavers, clinks and klaxons which collectively add up to bonded sound architecture that synthesizes both players cooperation. Given an over 20 minute time frame, the date stamped “9112013” provides ample territory to fully experience this dual achievement. Beginning by blending backwards-running tape-like flanges and pseudo-percussion slaps, an alarm-clock ringing shifts the looping distortions into more mechanized distortions that shudder for an extended period before resolving themselves with shits in velocity, pitch and tempo. As the whistling textures move, reflecting split-second vibrations, the exposition expands its parameters as it rolls into the penultimate interface. Before dissolving into sound wisps, stentorian gargle- equivalents highlight the upsurge in pitch-shifting distortions and electronic echoes that up the passionate wallop of the performance.

Who knows, the depth of this presentation may even make believers of listeners who previously shied away from such electronic displays.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. 12022016 2. 9112013

Personnel: Thomas Lehn (analogue synthesizer) and Marcus Schmickler (computer)