Saturday, 30 October 2010

Manuel Gottsching Live in Glasgow - Dec 2010

Manuel Gottsching Live in Glasgow - 11th December 2010 at Stereo:

Tickets available from:

Tickets Scotland

Rubadub (Glasgow)

Ripping Records (Edinburgh)

Grouchos (Dundee)

Manuel Göttsching & Zeitkratzer: E2-E4 Live in Berlin (2005)

In March 2005 Manuel Göttsching joined Zeitkratzer at the Volksbühne, one of Berlin’s most innovative and respected theatres, for a collaborative rendition of E2-E4. This version can be heard on a 21 minute maxi CD, released on Manuel’s own MG Art record label in December of that year.

Close your eyes for a few moments and allow yourself to imagine that modern technology as we know it had not progressed in quite the same way. Perhaps electricity has not even been discovered. Many of the components that make up our daily experiences do not exist or are radically different. If this sounds like something from the steampunk sub-genre of science fiction then so does the fascinating Göttsching/Zeitkratzer ensemble reinterpretation of E2-E4. This version could almost belong to MTV’s Unplugged series of recordings, with a few fragments and passages of electronic sound here and there providing the only tenuous link with the hoards of equipment used to deliver its totally wired ancestor.

Providing a blend of classical and assorted other instrumentation Zeitkratzer’s take on E2-E4 begins with the sound of an accordion, used to supply the pair of chords over which the other music flows. All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey, as long violin chords imbue this version with a sense of autumnal melancholy. Immediately, brooding John Constable skies and blustery, rustic scenes are evoked, a stark contrast alongside the sunny moods captured on tape 24 years earlier. The bassline, initially introduced on the trombone, is then doubled by trumpet whilst the traditional drums in this clever rearrangement serve to underscore that, putting aside its reputation as a classic of the proto-techno or trance genres, E2-E4 is quite simply a great piece of music. Enter Göttsching himself, returning to the roots of his musical education with a classical guitar performance as satisfyingly fresh as everything else offered thus far. A gently sawing violin hovers, and as the ensemble gathers pace all of the members pitch in, replicating the dense layers of electronic sounds found in the initial version. The pace slows for a lovely trumpet solo before Göttsching’s intricate Spanish guitar leads the arrangement towards a busy climax, after which most of the instruments masterfully bow out one by one. exactly as those familiar with E2-E4 might expect.

The only disappointment with this fabulous CD EP is that there isn’t more of it, as it amply serves to demonstrate what a fantastic piece of classical minimalism E2-E4 naturally makes. On this evidence a full-length recording with classical or semi-classical arrangement, featuring Mr. Göttsching playing the guitar would be an awesome prospect.