East Contemporary

Spektrum, “Sound Anatomy XI”: Axel Dörner, Richard Scott & Michael Vorfeld

Berlin, 8pm, February 4, 2017, http://spektrumberlin.de

Spektrum is a space specializing in the intersection of art, science and community as its tagline says. At street level, one enters through a laid back and comfortably designed lounge area with sofas, chairs, a bar and dim lighting. At the back side is a medium-sized room with a high ceiling and a door that looks like an entrance into a bunker or a walk-in freezer in a supermarket warehouse. Yet the event room is not cold, but warm and cozy, with partially bare brick walls and a large X shape from neon tubes connecting the four corners of the room at ceiling level.

The first performers were Richard Scott (analog synthesizer) & Axel Dörner (trumpet with electronics). The sound was not easy, but its complexity was engaging and it drew me in. Scott’s synth in itself produced a wide range of sonic events that were both plentiful and stark. The cooperation with Dörner worked very well. I was surprised at the spectrum of sounds that came from his modifies trumpet. Without watching him, I could hardly attribute those sounds to the instrument. But not all sounds were alien, and sometimes, sparingly, the trumpet sound emerged as well. Even in its stripped-down techno-sound, the trumpet added an element of human warmth, complementing the analogue warmth of the synth. There was a constant dialogue between the instruments.

The second performance was a solo by Michael Vorfeld and his lightbulbs. In the beginning when he was gearing up, the lightbulb ensemble produced a very seductive sound that could be placed somewhere between wind chimes and water drops falling into a container. Maybe also the crackling of ice recorded at close distance. This sonic experience was rather unique and new, especially when accompanied by a visual counterpart. After some time Vorfeld added a monotonous 4/4 beat and this destroyed some of the prior lightbulb magic for me. Over the time of the performance, the limitations of the lightbulb setup appeared, and I would say it was the 4/4 rhythm that did not allow the individual microsounds unfold completely. The visual complement to the sound made up for this. The blinking lightbulbs produced a different kind of engagement and a very homey, warm feeling.

In the end, all three musicians played together. The already complex sound of Scott and Dörner now gained a further level of complexity with the addition of Vorfeld. However after being slightly exhausted by the end of Vorfeld’s performance, my excitement could not be completely restored. Scott & Dörner’s initial performance remained the highlight of the evening for me.


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