Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label



Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

Why does it take over two years to release such a record? Starting a review with such a bold question may sound angry, but it is actually a solid form of puzzlement from my side. In 2004 the electroacoustic trio Perlonex celebrated its fifth birthday with two performances in Berlin to which they invited Keith Rowe and Charlemagne Palestine respectively. These sets have been recorded and now put out on a double CD without overdubs or any kind of editing. Does that mean the tapes from this show were sitting in a box somewhere for over two years? Or did it take that long to find a label willing to release them? The latter reason would puzzle me even more, because all the people involved are well known in the field of electroacoustic free improvisation, have toured and made connections globally and most importantly, the two long tracks are impressive and evolve dilligently and dynamically, in other words, they are great music. Maybe I just don’t know how some things have to work to be worked out and after all, Nexsound is a perfect place for this album and I should be happy that the album is out at all. Thinking too much about structures and the powers that lead to certain decisions and actions will get me into trouble sooner or later, or so it has been prophesized to me.  CD one contains three quartes of an hour of Perlonex with Keith Rowe playing tabletop guitar. Within a few minutes layers of distant sounds, rising hissing and noises getting denser and denser evolve from about nothing, opening spaces, building walls and rooms and halls and roofs. Staying away from building a monolithic brickwall of sound, the four musicians gradually grow a stream of sounds that swells, becomes bigger and bigger and starts to incorporate more and more space. At times a simple small bellsound forms the only constant rhythmical measure while the level of noise rises. Bitstreams of digital noise as well as looped cut impromptu recordings.  After some time the soundstream has reached its culmination and starts to ebb down again, just as slowly but also just as headstrong as it grew. While listening you think that this point has come over and over again, but when it actually has come you will only have noticed when it already has gone by. More often than not you’ll be wrong. You’ll be amazed at the power this track can form without going to the extreme and harsh attack of, for example, Merzbow. Suddenly all that is left is a humming, vibrating bass sound that seems to live inside the walls rather than inside the boxes. And from there it starts again. Ebb and flow, the most eternal structure of sound there is.  CD two seems more lively and diverse, but nobody would judge if there wasn’t the comparison to Keith Rowe on the first CD. Everything seems to be more on the surface as well, the movements and changes in the music not as hidden or subdued. Signified eloquently by the introductory speech of Palestine to the audience. Electroacoustics seems to live from dynamics as well as from the diversity and curiosity of and in sound. If the track with Keith Rowe is a prime example of controlling dynamics then the track with Charlemagne Palestine is a prime example of incorporating and discovering sounds from the subconscious. On the matter of dynamics on the other hand the second CD in this package suprisingly seems even more monosyllabic and woven along a singular line than the first. But since Palestine could do wonders on a piano that has only one key left, that just adds to the full vibrating drone-atmosphere of the event. A glistening, crackling fourty minutes of sound.  Tension indeed. The most basic examination of the dynamics of tension, analysed by strengthening the density over a long period of time and then releasing it just as slowly. The true fascination of this movement is impossible for me to describe, and maybe I shouldn’t so as not to kill the organism that sound can become if treated right by manipulation and the right way of listening. Probably just a modern form of zen-breathing? Well, breathtaking it is.  Caution: if you are aware of adverse organic reactions to high frequencies, better stay away from this record.


Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

A celebration calls for a party and then you invite friends. Perlonex, the German trio of Ignaz Schick on turntables, objects and electronics, Jörg Maria Zeger on electric guitar and Burkhard Beins on percussion and objects exist for five years (in 2004 that was, next celebration coming soon) and they invited Charlemagne Palestine and Keith Rowe to play with them. Perlonex is known for their careful improvisation built around their instruments, and with Keith Rowe, it is like having a fourth member. On the first disc we find the four in carefull mood, and no instrument is the boss. Each plays it’s own role and the only tension to be found is in the music itself. A free form play of sound, in which all of the possibilities is explored through their respective instruments. With Charlemagne it is a bit different. His keyboards lay down a brick work, the fundament over which the improvisation follows. Palestine strums his piano and Perlonex as a trio is in more sustaining mood than with Rowe. Perhaps lesser known to be an improviser, he guides Perlonex. However in both sets Perlonex show that they are capable of handling any situation. Two great concerts, a celebration to remember.

Bad Alchemy

Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

PERLONEX Tensions (Nexsound, ns54, 2 x CD): Ignaz Schick, Jörg Maria Zeger & Burkhard Beins hatten zur 5. Geburtstagsfeier ihres von BA hoch geschätzten Trios zwei illustre Gratulanten zu Gast im Berliner Podewil, Keith Rowe und Charlemagne Palestine. Beide Sets vom 11.9.2004, einmal als Clash der Trias aus Turntables & Electronics, E-Gitarre und Percussion mit dem Altmeister der Tabletop Guitar und das andermal mit dem Exzentriker des Minimalismus an Piano & Keyboards, sind etwas unverhofft nun zu hören bei einem Label im ukrainischen Kharkiv, das damit seiner Vorliebe für


Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

The lector-acoustic trio Perlonex celebrated their fifth anniversity concert with the release of a double live CD, featuring the different aspects of their musical works. Ignaz Schick, Jörg Maria Zeger and Burkhard Beins deliver an excellent set on CD1, featuring Keith Rowe. The CD heads off with a sinus wave that ends in a climax about twenty minutes, to continue with a calmness to be followed by a gradually building improvised soundscape full of tiny details. The music seems to explore it’s way, intensifying each minute. The introvert sound shifts slowly. Instruments such as turntables, electric guitars and objects can hardly be identified as such. Nevertheless there is enough room for details. CD2 features Charlemagne Palestine (piano, keyboards). The result is different from CD1. Clear piano accords can be heard on top of long drawn-out synths and peeps. Hammering accents have been set as to make the music even more dramatic. This small group of musicians deliver intensifying experience.


Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

Perlonex is an electro-acoustic trio founded in 1998 made up by Ignaz Schick, Jorg Maria Zeger and Burkhard Beins. On the occasion of the Perlonex’s fifth live concerts anniversary they have involved for a commemorative live two other interesting musicians: Keith Rowe and Charlemagne Palestine. They come from different areas rooted in the twentieth century avant-garde tradition. Rowe was in the improvisation ensemble AMM, and before in the fifties some seminal experiments with prepared guitar. Palestine, contemporary of Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich, is well known for his performances (and amongst them the one in Rome with Musica Elettronica Viva in 1966-1971), his pianistic experiments and especially his belonging to the minimal American movement. The latter induced him to use tapes, carillon and structuring entire compositions on drones and tonal variations, influenced by the Cage theories, so anticipating the most of the current researches in electronic music. Two cds, with all the tracks live recorded at the Berlin’s Podewil in September 2004 by Christian Malejka, without any editing or added overdub. A faithful, poetic and resonant account of how different generations of researchers can meet when the conceptual basis are then shared and established.

Aurelio Cianciotta


Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

Irgendwie komme ich mit der Musik von Perlonex nicht so wirklich klar. Hier gibt es zwei CDs von Livesets mit je einem Gast (Keith Rowe und Charlemagne Palestine), aber so sehr ich auch will, ich finde ein Testbild irgendwie spannender. Sorry, fand, Testbilder sind ja echt nur noch schwer aufzutreiben. Das ist auch nicht sonderlich despektierlich gemeint, denn ich kann schon mal etwas länger mit Rauschen und Fiepsen beschäftigt sein.

Signal To Noise

Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

Nexsound has a canny plan to get its small corner of the Ukrainian music scene before a receptive audience. The label, which is helmed by multi-instrumentalist and signal processor Andrey Kiritchenko, has released a series of compilations and collaborations that usually bring locals together with like-minded sound adventurers from around the globe. But for their three latest releases, Kiritchenko and the trio Moglass each get an album to themselves, while the German ensemble Perlonex shares both sets of its fifth birthday celebration.
Perlonex, which comprises guitarist Jorg Maria Zeger, percussionist Burkhard Beins, and Ignaz Schick on turntables and electronics, made sure their party went well by inviting two ringers to play with them. English guitarist Keith Rowe, who has previously recorded to great effect with Beins, manages to make this setting his own. It’s hard to tell when or exactly what he’s playing, but there’s no missing his presence; the music’s patient evolution, marked by the remorseless grind of adjacent but separate layers and a determined renunciation of vulgar display, is as recognizably his as the high quality of this effort. American minimalist composer, singer, and keyboardist Charlemagne Palestine likewise bends the music to his own will. As with Rowe, the performance is founded upon textured drones. But instead of Rowe’s ego-displacement, Palestine uses the continuous sounds as a backdrop upon which to project his identity. Nowadays his repetitive piano figures are like a sheer curtain compared to the voluminous draperies of sound found on records like Strumming Music. Perlonex’s metallic cries and electronic hums peak out behind Palestine’s flourishes, at once in the background yet much more solid and forceful than his ivory ruminations. Both sets are deeply rewarding.
Bill Meyer


Perlonex/Keith Rowe/Charlemage Palestine – Tensions

Three in-the-moment improvisations explore the variegated textures available from strings and percussion, aided and abetted by electronics. Connective tissue between the two discs is British table-top guitarist Keith Rowe, former and perhaps future member of AMM, who has been involved in this sot of non-idiomatic improvisation for almost four decades.

Each disc features him in a different, virtually hypnotic sound situation. Squire is a nearly 43-minute almost constant basso ostinato-shaped meeting between Rowe and one of his younger acolytes, Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi. Although sonically similar, additional timbres on Tensions add another layer of interpretation to the electro-acoustic mixture.

Recorded live in Berlin, the double Nexsound CD celebrates the fifth anniversary of Perlonex, a German trio made up of Jörg Maria Zeger on guitars, percussionist Burkhard Beins and Ignaz Schick on turntables, objects and live electronics. The sound of the first of the two CDs, which adds Rowe to the existing trio, is notable as slightly inflated version of the table-top guitarist