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  • Filed under: Review
  • 09/03/2010

Wolfgang Voigt Freiland Klaviermusik

During the years when minimal techno was king, much was made of the genre's similarities to avant garde and minimalist classical movements from the previous century, but often, specific affinities between the musics were referred to in hazy terms. Yet as co-founder of Kompakt and one of the indubitable kings of the minimal genre, Wolfgang Voigt is well suited to begin the discussion of these sonic similarities, which he does quite breathtakingly on Freiland Klaviermusik. The 13-track album contains mostly synthetic piano sounds and percussion, and plays unlike any techno record released in recent memory—a track like "Schweres Wasser" shares more with experimental composer Conlon Nancarrow than Ricardo Villalobos, and album opener "Alleingang" takes cues from the brooding, discordant tone clusters of Henry Cowell's Dynamic Motion, a piece composed in 1916. While one is hard-pressed to imagine such pieces playing well to dancefloor crowds—tracks from the album's 2008 preview single have cleared floors in Europe—their harmonic complexities and deep throbs make for hypnotic listening, and keep the discerning ear coming back. Perhaps the most rewarding tracks on Freiland, though, are those that eschew synthetic pulses entirely and allow Voigt to address such varied precedents as Erik Satie's Vexations, as on "Dunkler Weg," or even the "Emerson" section of Charles Ives' Concord Sonata, as on album closer "Silberg." While the party circuit might not appreciate such compositional gems, there are innumerable music fiends and classical composers who are certain to find Voigt's latest outing to be a truly exciting aural experience.

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