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efzeg "würm" charhizma 2003


amg review:

A third album and a third record label for Efzeg who, after giving birth to CDs on Durian and Grob, come to Christof Kurzmann 's Charhizma label to release Würm . Previously in charge of the group's live visuals, Billy Roisz is now credited for "electronic and acoustic instruments," just like Boris Hauf ,Martin Siewert ,Burkhard Stangl and Dieb13 . The music is slightly more dynamic than on Boogie ; it sounds like microsonics remain the prime focus of the group yet it has become less necessary to prove that point. And so some of the filtered folk influences found in some of Stangl 's solo projects and in Siewert 's trio Trapist occasionally worm their way into the music. And some of Dieb13 's turntable work escalates to noisy heights. But most of the music sticks to quiet pastures, where the distinction between acoustic and electronic instruments loses its meaning, where high-pitched tones slowly fading in are an endless source of poetry, where seemingly trivial sound gestures coalesce into abstract music of gripping beauty. "Günz Dus" is one of the group's best improvisations to date, enigmatic and fragmented. "Mindel Ena" features Steve Heather on drums, adding a rambunctious touch that forces the quintet out of its comfort zone. The six-minute finale, "Würm," is a wonderful soundscape of high-pitched tones, strummed guitars, and crackling electronics. An extra two-minute track, "Schicht" is included as a Quicktime video with visuals by Roisz .Würm may not be as striking as the previous two albums, but it remains a strong effort.

-- François Couture
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billmeyer review:

I think the new efzeg is probably the best one yet.


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dusted review:

With all the press that the Vienna electro-acoustic scene has (deservedly) received over the past couple years - thanks largely to the taste-making Thrill Jockey's decision to record both Trapist and Radian - one of the city's finest ensembles, Efzeg, has sort of slipped through the cracks. Though they have moved from Durian (Grain) to Grob (Boogie) and now to Christof Kurzmann's Charhizma imprint, Efzeg's lineup has remained consistent, including Martin Siewert (guitar, lapsteel, electronics), Burkhard Stangl (guitar), Boris Hauf (saxophones and electronics), Dieb 13 (turntables, electronics), and Billy Roisz (visuals and, for the first time on this release, 'electronic and acoustic instruments'). As on previous recordings, the heart of the band seems to be in the exchange between guitarists Stangl and Siewert. Stangl is one of those players who's almost immediately recognizable but who, in group-improvising contexts, nonetheless manages to surprise continually. Here he plucks out abstracted shapes, chooses exactly the right notes to ring querulously in the tone field, and does it all while displaying admirable restraint. Siewert, on the other hand, plays with a more laminal approach; that is, he uses drones and various electronic devices to spread his sound about, almost serving as a bridge to Hauf's and Dieb 13's more abstract electronics creations. And yet this group wouldn't be Efzeg without the strange interruptions - a percussive crash, a sudden irruption of feedback, or an eldritch vocal sample, many of which likely come from Dieb 13's turntables - that prevent lyrical stasis from settling in. The first two tracks, which blend together in suite-like fashion, are fine introductions to the group. 'Günz In' and 'Günz Dis' shimmer, the sonic equivalent of sunlight playing atop waves. For fans of the dark Viennese melancholy, go no further than the central track 'Riss,' which features an extremely somber progression that emerges from a chorus of noises which sound like metal plates being rubbed together forcefully (over time, this cedes brilliantly into a cool waterfall noise). On 'Mindel Ena' the group is joined by Steve Heather (who contributes one of the mini-discs to the fine Berlin Drums release on Absinth, a series that should be promptly investigated). And the title track finale ('Würm') is a bit odd, combining extremely high pitches (almost sine waves) with an almost Eno-like bed of electronics. If anything, Würm continues too consistently in the vein of previous Efzeg albums; it doesn't possess quite as much variety in itself as one might like. This might not be the best place to get started with Efzeg. But by all means, get started somewhere. By Jason Bivins
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»würm« ist eine Produktion, in der die breite Palette der Möglichkeiten, Instrumente live-elektronisch zu manipulieren, souverän auf die Klänge reduziert ist, die einer kollektiven Ästhetik zugute kommen. Und dabei wird der sonst so problematische Unterschied zwischen Instrumentalklang und Elektronik ganz bedeutungslos.
»Sich vorerst ungewissen Zusammenhängen auszuliefern, gehört mit zu den vornehmsten Aufgaben des selbstbestimmten Musikmachens. Das bewusste Aufsuchen von Differenzen, ihre gemeinsame Bearbeitung und die gewünschten, entstehenden Reibungen an der musikalischen Identität des jeweils anderen bewirken eine rationale wie emotionale Identität, die das einzelne, vereinzelte Subjekt in dieser Form nie erreicht.«

Boris Hauf hat in Österreich »efzeg« gegründet, um vier unterschiedliche Persönlichkeiten im Kontext der gelenkten Improvisation zu einem artifiziellen Ich zu formen: mit Martin Siewert (guitar, Electronics), Burkhard Stangl (guitars, devices) und dieb13 (turntables).

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jazzlive review:

boris haufs im lauf der jahre mehrfach personell umbesetztes, strukturell verändertes, sohin mobiles ensemble setzt trotz aller wechsel weiterhin auf die reduktion der ausdrucksmittel. umso mehr, als neben den bekennenden/bekannten minimalisten dieb 13 und burkhard stangl nun auch billy roisz an den schaltknöpfen dreht. gut gespurte bahnen der abstraktion verlässt die band ungern, weniger will praktisch immer mehr sein, bleibt allerdings mehr und mehr weniger. oder sagen wir so: es geht vielleicht etwas ab in efzegs musik, ohne das die post nicht recht abgeht. felix jazzlive
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jazzweekly review:


Less than five years after the appearance of its first CD, the sort of scraped and staticy tones promulgated by the Vienna-based efzeg quintet have become more common at free music sessions than walking bass lines or drum press rolls.

Today, in fact, the crackling whooshes and intermittent instrumental prongs that characterize this CD seem almost as commonplace as hard bop licks. Expansion and repetition has made listeners more familiar with the genre. But at the same time it's evident that cohesion and natural adaptation have also affected efzeg's sound. The formerly frosty outlay has become warmer and more accepting, even as new influences have been introduced.

There may even be a hint of harmonic détente in the disc's title. "Würm" means "worm" in German, which suggests that the efzgers are prepared to dig even further below the surface to come up with more distinctive sonic tones.

Not that the band members aren't being as enigmatic as ever. The instrumentation below was pieced together from other sources, the sleeve merely lists the performers names, followed by "electronic and acoustic instruments". Of the group, Billy Roisz is a video artist responsible for the QuickTime movie that's the final track. The others spread their talents around. Guitarist Martin Siewert, for instance, is also a member of the Trapist trio and plays with everyone from flugelhornist Franz Koglmann to electronics whiz Josef Novotny. Burkhard Stangl, the other guitarist is in SSSD with Siewert, and was part of Polwechsel. Saxophonist/electronic manipulator Boris Hauf has strong links with Chicago players; while turntablist Dieb13 has worked with percussionist Günter Müller.

Snatches of pre-recorded voices and sounds are one of the modifications to the efzeg sound, most obvious on "günz dus". Here the usual hissing static and motor turning timbres are interrupted by what seem to be p.a. system announcements and conversation snippets, as well as chiming guitar runs and smearing sax lines. Beginning with what could be rolling thunderclouds, the sound is soon rent with a metal on metal pitches, produced by the scratch of a wire brush handle on top of a ride cymbal. Later in between waveform oscillations and grainy static is the sound of a deep-voiced announcer who could be working from Mission Control. As high and low fluttering fan belt spins, toilet bowl draining sounds and what is probably chains ruffled against the cymbals are heard, one of the guitarists strums a disconnected acoustic line.

"Mindel ena" and "mindel dwa", which run right into one another, have a tougher rhythmic thrust, most likely related to the addition of second drummer Steve Heather on the former. Here oscillating and pulsating drones face layered vibraharp peals, rattling percussion and bubbling electric piano glissandos. Eventually the textures of the first tune begin to resemble that of a jalopy on a gravel road and give way to the trembling, intermittent sine wave pulses of the second track. Hisses crackle and pop, wood blocks are hammered and it appears as if plastic flaps are hitting a rotating wheel until the sound vanishes into an occasional whistle and machine-like sine waves.

With elongated strumming and intricate finger picking, Stangl, Siewert or perhaps both, define "riss", the more than CD's 131/2-minute tour de force. You can even hear the beginning of a melody among oscillating reverberations, vinyl hiss and crackle and what sounds like the electric pulse of a motor being turned on and off. Soon sharp strokes that could be a match being struck, light rim shots and fingertip taps on lower-pitched guitar strings introduce a different tempo. But these ratcheting and bolt-loosening tones are submerged under an organ-like swab of watery, fluttering oscillations. Stentorian, rocket ship launching textures move the piece to a finale, with sporadic guitar plinks piercing the thunder. Coda is one pressured bass note.

Static ruffles of air and the hissing of surface noises may still be omnipresent on this CD. But it's apparent that with experience, the band has added anthropomorphic humanity to its formerly robotic sound.

-- Ken Waxman

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Liveelektronik Österreich Saxophone, Gitarren, Vibraphone und Synthesizer, Computer, Turntables, eine Feedbackcam und ein Videomixer gehören zum Inventar, wenn Efzeg auf die Bühne geht, um ihre minimalistischen Liveelektronik-Performances zu zelebrieren. Efzeg, das sind Boris Hauf, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl und dieb13 und sie verstehen sich als ein gemeinsames Wesen, welches von Billy Roisz visuell in Szene gesetzt wird. "Die Objektivierung unserer vier Ichs - als musikalisch-fiktionales, gemeinsam errungenes artifizielles Ich - bedeutet ihre Vergesellschaftung und legt so Multiples, Vielfältiges frei, welches im Verlauf des musikalischen Aktes zu einer 'Einheit von mehreren Ichs' sich verdichtet. Diese so neu gewonnene Einheit repräsentiert die Verortung des Persönlichen: den Stil." Die Musik Efzegs kribbelt im Bauch, krabbelt über den Rücken und kitzelt im Ohr. In leisen Improvisationen erzeugen Efzeg ein fiebrig phantasierendes Wesen voller Verstörtheit und Unsicherheit. Es ist klangmalerische Musik für mentale Metamorphosen, Musik, die ebenso organisch wie künstlich, ebenso emotional wie gefühlskalt ist; eines aber ganz sicher: irgendwie spannend.
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muisc_extreme review:

Efzeg are a group of talented musicians playing in a really spontaneous way their electronic and acoustic instruments creating passages of notorious exploration. This guys are really good musicians and you can feel it while listening the way in which they interact delivering phrases and sounds with their instruments in order to develope this amazing compositions. Each composition here is a conglomerate of sounds that give the listener a strange feeling of being in some sort of trance while listening to them. The sounds go from wave-like noises to electronics sounds that have a distinct quality in them. This is pure experimentation with interesting ideas and the result is a really positive one.

Favorite tracks: "Günz Dus", "Riss" and "Mindel Ena"

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Neuerscheinungen aus dem Rock- und Pop-Bereich
Efzeg: würm; Boris Hauf, Martin Sie- wert, Burkhard Stangl, dieb 13, Billy Roisz : Electronic and acoustic instruments
Reduzierte Musik, Knacksen, leises Rauschen, Sirren, ab und zu Geräusche von Plattenendrillen. Die fünf Musiker der elektroakustischen Gruppe efzeg wie man sie kennt. Doch plötzlich hört man einen Gitarrenklang, unverzerrt, unbearbeitet, eine gezupfte Saite, einfach so. Später treten ganze angeschlagene Akkorde hinzu, im weiteren Verlauf der CD sind gar Klänge von Vibraphon , verhaltenes, aber prägnantes Schlagzeug und liegende Saxophontöne zu hören, die die Klang- und Rausch-bänder der Elektronik bereichern. Die binnendifferenzierte Ruhe wird irritiert durch reale Instrumentalklänge, durch einzelne, zuweilen strukturierende, im Geschehen interagierende zuweilen abwesend erscheinende Gitarrenakkorde , die in ihrer Simplizität nicht kitschig , sondern vor allem skuril anmuten . Zusammen mit distinkten Geräuschen eines anfahrenden Automotors wirken diese wie ein Einbruch der realen Welt in den Elfenbeinturm der sich inzwischen zu einer breiteren Szene entwickelten reduzierten Elektronik- und Geräuschkultur. Die Musiker von efzeg gehen einen Schritt weiter, beziehen Ausgegrenztes, Historienbeladenes wieder mit ein, zaghaft, als außenstehende Irritation, eingeflochten in die sechs ineinander fließenden Tracks. Zu den Geräuschbändern gesellt sich hochfrequentes Flirren, Loops schleichen sich ein, die entfernt an Pierre Schaeffers frü-he musique concrète erinnern . Das Soundspektrum hat sich ebenso erweitert wie die in einzelnen Passagen zugestandene Klangdichte. Verwiesen sei noch auf die Webseite von efzeg, die einen Einblick bietet in die Visuals von Billy Roisz, die bei Live- performances zu sehen sind. Als kleine Spielerei lassen sich Klänge und Computergraphiken interaktiv zusammenstellen.

Nina Polaschegg

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Following their eponymous debut on Durian in 2000 and the excellent Boogie on Grob in 2002, Würm is the third album by Efzeg, a quartet consisting of Boris Hauf (electronics and occasional saxophone), guitarists / electronicians Siewert and Burkhard Stangl and turntablist (amongst other things) dieb13. Quintet, actually, as the work of computer graphics whiz Billy Roisz, who accompanies the group in their live appearances, is also featured here in a Quicktime movie, "Schicht". The group's sound palette has broadened considerably since their first album, and there's more room than there was before in Efzeg's music for non-abstract sound sources. A cymbal crash - heard both forwards and backwards - and a car engine stuttering into life are all seamlessly integrated into the music, and as sonic metaphors of motion they're significant. Towards the end of "Günz dus", while a gently thudding heartbeat marks the passing time, the guitarists' melancholy pitches alternate with bursts of crackling static, both hanging in the air like question marks, as if the music is questioning which way to look - over its shoulder, to a time where pitch was the key parameter of music, or forward into new territory. Without the guitars the music would sound chilly and unprepossessing (rather like Cremaster, one imagines); without the electronics the guitars would wander and noodle aimlessly (like they did on the SSSD Grob outing Home a while back). Efzeg's music reminds us that the present moment - for this music as well as for us listening to it - sits squarely and eternally between the past and the future, between nostalgia and anticipation, between the memory of desire long gone and the desire of memory to come. It's a moment to savour.
Dan Warburton

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Efzeg - Würm (Charhizma)
Terzo album in carriera per Efzeg, collettivo che raduna alcuni dei più celebrati esponenti della nuova improvvisazione viennese (Boris Hauf, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl e Dieb13 più l'artista grafico Billy Roisz, suo il quicktime movie Schicht della sezione video aggiuntiva). Asciutte metafore soniche per strumenti acustici ed elettronici, come genericamente annotato in copertina, una fervida tavolozza di elettricità statica, ritmi lenti e blandi, scricchiolii pacati e diradati tocchi di chitarra acustica, con meno astrattezza e più pronunciata attitudine strutturale e compositiva che in passato. Bello come sognare ad occhi aperti.
Nicola Catalano

--------english translation:

Efzeg - Würm (Charhizma)
Third album by Efzeg, a collective gathering some of the most renowned representatives of the Viennese new improvisation (Boris Hauf, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl and Dieb13 with the graphic artist Billy Roisz, hers is the quicktime movie Schicht in the enhanced video section). Dry sonic metaphors for acoustic and electronic instruments as generically specified in the liner notes, a fervid palette of static electricity, slow and bland rhythms, quiet creakings and thin touches of acoustic guitar, with less abstractness and a more pronounced structural and compositive attitude than in the past. Beautiful as daydreaming.
Nicola Catalano

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sands-zine review:

Terzo capitolo per gli Efzeg: lavoro incentrato decisamente sulle possibilità manipolatorie e di elaborazione offerte da uno studio vero e proprio. Altro segnale di crescita; nei due precedenti lavori ogni interprete appariva segnalato accanto al proprio strumento, ora invece troviamo tutti assorbiti in una più generica indicazione strumenti elettronici ed acustici, che lascia intuire una coralità d'azione e d'intenti, forse, prima non riscontrabile. Gli elementi tipici del suono Efzeg ci sono sempre tutti, ma come dire, forse maggiormente focalizzati dalle possibilità sovrappositorie offerte da un'adeguata sala di registrazione ben attrezzata. Le forme sonore ondivaghe si arricchiscono in quanto a respiro e dinamiche, l'incedere alieno e screpolato della ritmica, ora, emerge appieno, le corde rilasciano creazioni sublimi che sfiorano estasi blues e folk, se non addirittura ripetizioni in odor di Feldman, fruscii e ronzanti amplificatori quasi in panne ricordano qualcosa di un palco senza gruppo che prende vita.
L'elettronica tenue e disastrata si stende armonica sullo sfondo, serrando ancor di più le fila di un suono mai cosi elegante e compatto in precedenza. Tutto ora sembra perfettamente calibrato in una formula che diviene a essere reale composizione e non più soltanto manifesto delle notevoli capacità improvvisatorie dei singoli. L'insieme ne guadagna sicuramente in leggibilità sfornando un'opera dai contenuti adulti che potrebbe stupire più d'uno per la forza comunicativa calda e suadente che emana. Concreto ora diviene il termine che maggiormente sintetizza l'operato di questo notevole gruppo di ottimi musicisti.
Lavoro centrato e consigliato oltre ogni dire.

Drittes Kapitel für Efzeg: Möglichkeiten der Bearbeitung und Verfremdung, die sich aus der Auseinandersetzung mit dem Material ergeben, werden entschieden in den Mittelpunkt der Arbeit gestellt; in Vergleich zu den beiden vorangehenden Werken, wo jeder Interpret durch das eigene Instrument charakterisiert blieb, ein weiteres Zeichen von Entwicklung. Sie alle, elektronische und akustische Instrumente gehen nunmehr auf in einem Gesamtkonzept, das ein Zusammenfinden von Absicht und Ausführung erahnen lässt, das früher -vielleicht- nicht vorhanden war. Die typischen Klangelemente von Efzeg sind alle präsent, doch - wie soll man sagen - vielleicht besser fokalisiert, nicht zuletzt durch die zusätzlichen Möglichkeiten, die sich aus einem gut ausgestatteten Aufnahmestudio ergeben. Wellen sonorer Klangfiguren breiten sich aus, an Atem und Dynamik bereichert; das Fremdartige und Zerrissene im Einherschreiten der Rhythmik, die, sich voll entfaltend, den Saiten sublime Kreationen ! entlockt, ekstatische Anklänge an Blues und Volk, wenn nicht sogar Wiederholungen, die etwas von Feldman haben, ein sich verstärkendes Rauschen und Summen quasi an der Zerreißprobe, wie eine Bühne ohne Spieler, die ein Eigenleben entwickelt. Die zugliech zarte und schroffe Elektronik bereitet den harmonischen Grund, der die Tonfolgen eines Klangs, der in der Vergangenheit noch nie so elegant und kompakt war, noch stärker zusammenschweißt. Alles scheint nun perfekt ausgewogen, in einer Formel, die zur wirklichen Komposition und nicht nur zum Manifest der beachtenswerten improvisatorischen Fähigkeiten der einzelnen Mitglieder wird. In seiner Gesamtheit gewinnt das Werk dadurch sicherlich an Lesbarkeit und bietet gereifte Inhalte, die durch die warmblütige schmiegsame kommunikative Kraft, die es verströmt so manchen in Erstaunen versetzen könnte. Konkret ist hier wohl der Ausdruck, der das Werk dieser beachtenswerten Gruppe von Musikern am besten erfasst.
Eine gelungene und überaus empfehlenswerte Arbeit

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Efzeg / Würm / Charizma 028

Wenn die Wiener-Improvisations-Szene aufspielt, dann ist in ihrer musikalischen Textur alles einander angeglichen, so dass du beinahe nicht mehr sagen kannst, was elektronisch, was elektroakustisch ist oder was analog und was digital, so dass du nicht mehr weisst, was leise und laut ist, nicht wie viele Instrumente, wie viele Klangquellen du hörst. Stat um Lautstärke geht es hier um die Dichte des komplexen Sounds. Die Individuen treten weder als Musiker noch als Klänge in den Vordergrund, sonden weben sich in einen Klangteppich mit ein, der ein grösseres Ganzes darstellt, als es jeder einezelne Klang je sein könnte (Ja, das ist unbedingt ein soziales bzw. politisches Modell). Was an die Oberfläche tritt, muss in der nächsten masche wieder hinabtauchen, um einem anderen Klang-Strang Platz zu machen. Efzeg sind Boris Hauf, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl, Dieb 13, Billy Roisz. Die CD ist nach einem der Improvisationen Würm benannt. Alle Titel heissen nach Eiszeiten: Günz, Riss, Mindel und Würm - bzw. nach den geologischen Schichten, die sie hinterlassen haben: allesamt über weite Strecken transportiertes Gestein, von da und dort, von dieser und jener Art, alles bunt gemischt.
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touching-extremes review:

An electroacoustic quintet formed by Boris Hauf, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl, Dieb 13 and Billy Roisz. Music full of enigmatic qualities and gentle curiosity, creeping around almost unnoticeably but manifesting itself very clearly. Sounds loaded with character, imposing themselves through softly radical contrasts - the gentle touch of guitars against sub-rumbling lows comes to mind. The musicians' commitment appears as strong as ever; sharing common knowledge and aims, the companions raise a freezing humidity that reveal feeble sunrays leading the path to awakened memories. Potentially, this album is a milestone and its excellence is ready to be enjoyed at first listen; surely it's one of the overall best Charhizma releases, mixing rigour and deliciousness.
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vitalweekly review:

EFZEG - WÜRM (CD by Charhizma) Efzeg is a five piece group from Austria, who a wide combination of acoustic and electronic instruments, including guitars, laptops and turntables. Much of their work, if not all, is generated during live concerts, in which they also use live generated visuals. The six pieces on this CD were recorded during two concerts, but mixed later on. As noted on their previous CDs, aswell as on some of the solo work by some of the members (Boris Hauf, Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl) they move along a fine line of delicate crackle, in combination with acoustic guitar strumming and digitally processed streams of sound. In "Riss" it takes quite some time to built it up, but towards the end things collapse in a big way. This is music that needs time to unfold itself, from the point of musicians aswell as from the point of the listener. Each time you hear this, you will discover new, small particles and that's where the excitement of this CD lies: it works well on both a superficial level, but also on the small scale. The enclosed quicktime movie is alright, but a bit too short, certainly concerning the music of it. Here Efzeg is a bit more noiser and the development is less, but it gives a good impression of the concert situation. (FdW)
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westzeit review:

Die üblichen Verdächtigen aus Wien unter neuer Flagge: Boris Hauf, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl, Dieb 13 und Billy Roiz bedienen "electronic and acoustic instruments". Das geht vom sinnstiftenden Anlasserstottern über Freejazz aus'm Laptop, Akustische Gitarren, einen heftigen Tusch bis zum beruhigenden Pfeifen der Rückkopplung. Neue Improvisationsmusik, manchmal ein wenig um der Improvisation willen, aber durchaus hilfreich im Kampf gegen den sonst allgegenwärtigen Berieselungsterror. Ein feines Video gibt's obendrein.

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