In this terrific record, Reinhold Friedl’s Zeitkratzer tackle six works created at Polish Radio Experimental Studio by Eugeniusz Rudnik, Elżbieta Sikora, Krzysztof Knittel, Denis Eberhard and Bohdan Mazurek. Bôłt has also published a double CD, PRES Revisited, where other materials coming from the same artistic pool – presented in the original version on the first disc – are “covered” by a nucleus of renowned improvisers on the second. The surnames might not be famous, but the interpretation by the German ensemble in this circumstance leaves no room for doubt. Friedl had studied and worked with important Polish composer Witold Szalonek in the past: a period that enhanced his familiarity with the sonic matter, transpiring from the persuasive class with which the music is translated.
The term “electroacoustic” brings to mind variable impetuosity and comparisons with realities that, on a superficial guess, may be thought of as rather distant from what’s found herein. Having not heard the originals, we note that the milieus characterizing these pieces are mainly situated in the barely contoured regions between continuous drone and dim-lighted rarefaction, touches of piano innards and remnants of declining melody building a sorrowful seclusion (selected parts of Mazurek’s “Episodes” help in getting the picture right). At one point in Sikora’s “View From The Window”, a repetitive pulse punctuated by indeterminate noises gradually increases its intensity, only to flow into a motionless pond of moaning resonance spotted with sparse plucks and scrapings; perhaps this stands as the lone episode authorizing a vague remembrance of the vestiges of musique concrete. Yet the large part of the program, besides satisfying whoever owns a minimum of discernment about the power of internal tremor, will also appeal to followers of Phill Niblock circa Touch Strings and – why not – David Jackman’s Organum (Knittel’s “Low Sounds” is the best exemplification of this assumption). Leaving names and titles aside, Zeitkratzer Plays PRES must above all be acknowledged for the severe solemnity that places it in the sphere of contemporary classics.