int018 | Stefan Thut | un/even and one

Stefan Thut
un/even and one


digisleeve, insert | edition of 200
16 February 2016

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На Intonema продолжается публикация работ композиторов сообщества Wandelweiser в исполнении российских музыкантов! Швейцарский композитор и виолончелист Стефан Тут посетил Санкт-Петербург в июне 2015-го и представил новую композицию "un/even and one", которую вместе с ним исполнили Юрий Акбалькан, Анна Антипова, Илья Белоруков, Андрей Поповский и Денис Сорокин. В этой композиции Тут сочетает звуки языка-шифра, сыгранные через поверхность движущихся картонных коробок, с акустическими и электронными инструментами. Паузы и звуки отражают пересечения партитуры, пространства, исполнителя и инструменталистов.

Intonema continues to produce works by Wandelweiser composers performed by Russian musicians. Stefan Thut, a Swiss composer and cello player, came to Saint Petersburg in June 2015 to present his new score "un/even and one" which Yuri Akbalkan, Anna Antipova, Ilia Belorukov, Andrey Popovskiy and Denis Sorokin performed with him. In this score Thut joined the sounds from transcribed language played through the surface of a moving cardboard box with acoustic and electronic instruments. Silence and sound mirror the interleaving of score, space, performer and instrumentalists.

Yuri Akbalkan: electronics 
Anna Antipova: box, playback, movement
Ilia Belorukov: alto saxophone, objects
Andrey Popovskiy: violin, objects
Denis Sorokin: acoustic guitar, ebow
Stefan Thut: cello, composition

Интервью Стефана Тута для портала ReMusik (на русском)
Stefan Thut's interview on ReMusik (english)

Video from the concert on 22 June 2015 at Experimental Sound Gallery:

Рецензии / Reviews:
"Swiss cellist Stefan Thut debuted his score Un/Even and One in St Petersburg in 2015 with a bevy of (somewhat more) local musicians who do a top job of sounding like they aren’t there. A short Youtube clip reveals much to this theory: for the 5-strong assembly, virtue is expressed in restraint from virtually any physical movement at all; just a young lady pushing a box around in the foreground while five instruments receive attention only spasmodically. I sense that the concept behind Thut’s scoring is one of meticulous refinement; that of distilling full bars and phrases into the merest of gestures, upon the blank canvas of near-silence. We should not be surprised to learn therefore of Thut’s affiliation with the Wandelweiser group, for whom such matters are a preoccupation.

Silence is, in fact, is one of two canvases common to Thut’s work. The other is ‘the box’. There’s one drawn on on the cover, with semi-explanatory text describing how Thut ‘joined the sounds from transcribed language played through the surface of a moving cardboard box’ to add to the enigma. As I understand it, the musicians’ fingers were prerecorded rubbing words into the surface of cardboard boxes, which recordings were played back during the performance, effectively encompassing the space in conceptual cardboard. The value of the symbol of the empty-box-as-pure-potential is appended by the actual movement of the box throughout the performance, its location at any given point conferring on each musician the right to play.

Over 40 minutes, silence intersperses with sounds barely identifiable: low-volume cello massage and rummaging beneath a layer of tape hiss; a mass of slippery shadows, exhaling emphysemically and pierced by sine waves in a dark basement that yawns with an ancient hunger. What the recording may lacks in terms of immediatism, it at least makes up for by stirring the imagination."

(Gunter Heidegger, The Sound Projector)
"STEFAN THUT ist ein wesentlicher Vertreter der Wandelweiser... wie soll ich sagen...Ideen? Ästhetik? Der 1968 geborene Schweizer hat Stücke von Ähnlichgesinnten wie Jürg Frey, Radu Malfatti, Tim Parkinson, James Saunders, Taku Sugimoto, Taku Unami und Manfred Werder performt und seit 2007 seinerseits Stücke entworfen, die in ihrer Titulierung auf die Number Pieces von John Cage zu reflektieren scheinen (eine/r, drei, vier, zwei, sechs, sieben, some, many ...). Selten spezifisch (eight strings, keys ...), kommt allemal dem Raum eine große Rolle zu (aussen raum, an ort, innen raum ...) und 2012-13 wurden Kartons [cardboard boxes] zur besonderen Klangquelle (five and three boxes; reeds, strings, boxes; one and two boxes ...). un/even and one (int018) entstand 2015 for one performer and 4, 5, or 6 players. Als Spieler wirkten bei der Darbietung am 23.6.2015 in St. Petersburg mit: Yuri Akbalkan (sine waves, white noise), Ilia Belorukov (alto sax, objects), Andrey Popovskiy (violin, objects), Denis Sorokin (acoustic guitar, ebow) und Thut selbst am Cello. Als Performer durch 'movements' zu erkennen ist Anna Antipova, die dabei auch wieder einen Karton verwendet. Sie als Bewegung in der Zeit, die Box als Raum im Raum und, über den Boden gezogen, als die arme Verwandte eines Streichinstrumentes, die Thut die High-Low-Kluft zwischen Klang und Geräusch nivellieren hilft. Offenbar sind auch Boxen mit den Namen der Spieler beschriftet. Thut verbindet mit dem Geräusch des Schreibstiftes (laut seinem Interview mit vom 5.2.2016) etwas 'Singendes' und 'Atmendes', mit Bezug auch auf Andrej Belyj, der neben seinem großen Roman über die Stadt, in der wir da sind, 1922 mit "Glossolalia" auch ein 'Poem über den Laut' geschrieben hat. Was erklingt, ist eine Schmauchspur im Grundrauschen, ein wie mit einem Griffel oder Stichel gezogenes chchch (was bei Belyj Rauch bedeutete). Nicht durchgezogen, sondern immer wieder mit Beinahestille wechselnd, mit dem einen oder anderen Strich der Streicher und undurchsichtigen Machenschaften im Zwielicht zwischen Schall und 'Rauch', Alto und Cello, Krims und Krams (den Schaben der Geräuschwelt). Das Ganze gipfelt im Phosphor-Duktus mit schabendem Stichelkreisen à la B. Beins, Sinuswelle, Dröhnblase und Tuttitumult, der einer Küchenschabe kaum bis ans Knie reicht und ausläuft in schäbigem chchch."
(Rigo Dittmann, Bad Alchemy)

"I’m getting Wandelweiser from all over. First Sheffield, then Bilbao and now St Petersburg. Intonema sent me a nice little package and it’s taken me too long to write about it. There’s a Michael Pisaro disc I want to discuss a bit later, but my attention was first taken by a new release of Stefan Thut’s music.
Again, pretty much everything I’ve heard by Thut is from the Wandelweiser und so weiter box set Another Timbre released a few years back. un/even and one is a work Thut first performed and recorded with an ensemble in St Petersburg last June. At first, it seems a type of performance art, a theatrical activity whose fugitive sounds have been caught on tape as with the recent recording of Manfred Werder’s 2015/3. Cardboard boxes are being shifted, manipulated. The effect is reminiscent of some of James Saunders’ scores which call for scripted activities with sheets of paper or found objects, a sonic arte povera. The plot thickens as these sounds are coloured with musical instruments: saxophone, violin, cello, bowed guitar. With no visual cues to reveal the theatrical elements, sounds emerge, accumulate and fade as though produced by a slow but powerful force of nature. This sense of organic process, and the feeling of sourcelessness given to the sounds, evoke a feeling reminiscent of John Cage’s last works.
Thut’s piece takes this musical idea into a weird, ambiguous realm with his use of electronics. The cardboard and other sounds are recorded and played back through a small speaker attached to the largest box. The sounds blur between live and recorded, instrument and object, with an attenuated rumble. Any clear sense of activity, cause and effect is lost, leaving us with a mysterious, unknowable music. It’s one of the richer, dirtier examples I’ve heard from the Wandelweiser school and recommended for those who worry about this music getting too precious and ethereal."

(Ben Harper, Boring Like A Drill)

"Glancing through the titles of Thut's scores, one reaches a point where the titles seem to become obsessed with "boxes"—"two strings and boxes," "one and three boxes," "five and three boxes..." and so on. No, Thut hadn't lost his marbles; he had become interested in the different ways, in which a cardboard box could be employed—as table, as vehicle, as resonator, as amplifier, as percussion... While Un/even and One does not make specific mention of a box in its title, boxes do play a pivotal role in the piece, as can be seen on the YouTube clip, below, shot the day before the actual performance and recording of this CD. In the clip. Thut himself can be seen on cello, alongside Intonema proprietor and saxophonist Ilia Belorukov.

Thut's score specifies that, as preparation, the musicians should "on cardboard boxes of various sizes rub with one finger onto the surface of each box as if writing (longhand or print letters) and record each player writing his or her name from inside the box." At the performance, "the recordings are played back by an iPod and contact speaker attached to a large cardboard box." In the YouTube clip, this large box is out of shot but is being pushed right and left by Anna Antipova who is also playing back the recordings on iPod—hence, the sound that can be heard when no-one is obviously playing their instrument. In addition, the position of the box that Antipova is moving also determines which musicians play at particular times i.e. moving the box is a form of conducting; notice how the movement of the box stimulates the musicians to play...

Compared to "One and Seven," "Un/even and One" is a very different work—far more experimental, at times seeming to have some of the formal precision of a Beckett play. From the YouTube clip, it may seem that it is better seen live than heard on disc, as the silences and the sense of expectation they engender are as important as the sounds themselves. However, as an entity in its own right, away from the performance or recording of it, the CD recording does eloquently capture the experimental nature of Thut's score, with its sounds—and silences—conveying the piece's sense of ritual and mystery.

Taken together, these two recordings provide a fascinating snapshot of Thut's work and whet the appetite for far more."

(John Eyles, All About Jazz)

"The score for this, so says the cover, is published by Edition Wandelweiser, so
you may have an idea where to find this, music wise; or rather, volume-wise.
Stefan Thut composed the work, and he plays cello, but there is also Yuri Akbalkan
(sine waves, white noise), Anna Antipova (box, playback, movement), Ilia Belorukov
(alto saxophone, objects), Andrey Popvskiy (violin, objects) and Denis Sorokin
(acoustic guitar, ebow). These close to forty minutes of musicpromise everything
you expect from a recording connected to the Wandelweiser group; there is lots of
silence, which makes you crank up the volume quite a bit so you can hear whatever
music there is in here for you. The music is cut down to maybe (!) twelve parts
with quite some silence in between. This is not the kind of music you stick on and
do the dishes: you will be totally annoyed by the lack of sound. One either sits
down and listen with full concentration, with a clear open ear for every detail
it contains, or one closes their eyes and listen as a piece of meditation to this.
I simply see no other option for this kind of music. I played this with great
interest, almost with full-on concentration which is never easy for this kind of
music of a longer period of time, and it's surely all most rewarding, but afterward
I needed some hard stomping techno to cool off. I wonder if other listeners have
the same feeling? If quiet music is your cup, then this is a small bowl."

(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly)