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La Double Absence . Thilges


staubgold 76
2007. cd . dl

After "Die offene Gesellschaft" (staubgold 33 cd/lp, 2002), "La Double Absence" is Thilges' second fulltime release for Staubgold: Western experimental music meets oriental art music.

The ensemble emerged in 2003, when Thilges was commissioned by the renowned music promoter "Jeunesse" to make a composition. Among others, the track "Izdiucz" is characteristic for this release: In Arabic, this term describes the fusion of two different materials, and stands for breaking up cultural barriers.

Thilges has been one of Austria's standard bands for sophisticated experimental and electronic music for a long time. The Persian vocalist Zohreh Jooya is a widely known interpreter of Persian and Afghan music, and Asim Al-Chalabi who composed the tracks with thilges is regarded as grandmaster of the oud in the Arabic world. Since 2004, Thilges have realised a number of performances with the American viola player Eyvind Kang; a.o. Kang has released his music on Tzadik, and he has performed with John Zorn and Mike Patton.

For "La double Absence" a specific, new way of playing had to be developed; some pieces are completely notated, others are improvised. The music is based on magams, traditional Arabic scales, that were assigned to particular musicians. For this, Thilges invited some of Austria's most approved musicians for guest performances: Franz Hautzinger (Zeitkratzer, Comforts of Madness) and Peter Rosmanith (Otto Lechner Ensemble) contribute trumpet and percussion parts. Patrick Pulsinger is responsible for the mastering of the record.

"La Double Absence" offers everything a good pop record asks for: catchy melodies, complex rhythms, and a downright atmospheric density. The music is about bacchanal, melancholic, and difficult situations, thus simply about life. This is international music; timeless, beautiful, meditative, and complex.


Thilges has long been one of Austria's oustanding bands for sophisticated experimental and electronic music. Thilges measure geographical spaces. Their music is the occupation of a space and its transformation for a certain moment. Thilges operate on complex projects in the area of sound art and social acoustics.

Based in Vienna, Austria, where at the turn of the millennium experimental electronica went through a multiplication process, Thilges focuses on two elements to stir its music away from the countless producers active in the city. First, its members rely solely on analog modular synthesizers to produce their sounds, emphasizing the unstable, almost-impossible-to-reproduce nature of their performances. Second, they embed the music in alternative settings, contextualizing their actions in various forms of installation and performance art.

In September 1996, Nik Hummer, Armin Steiner and "Gammon" decided to form Thilges 3 after an adhoc improvisational encounter. The outlines of the group's philosophy were gradually implemented and soon they began to perform in art spaces around Austria and a few years later Germany and The Netherlands. Each performance is conceived for the space where it is hosted, taking into account the architecture of the room. The trio used a quadrophonic PA system and usually perform in an inconspicuous location instead of an elevated stage, encouraging the audience to investigate the space. The sine waves and rhythmic loops of the analog synthesizers appear to change as one moves in different directions. Noteworthy performances have included Mak, where a military orchestra performed in one room as the trio transformed and polluted the sounds in another, and Rosner, where an ice sculpture was left to melt during the concert.

The uniqueness of these happenings called for documentation and in late 1999 Thilges 3 inaugurated with Hackerbrücke a series of ten live 3" CD EPs. The first full-length album, Die offene Gesellschaft, came out on Staubgold in October 2002. The trio has appeared at the Ars Electronica festival in 2001 and at Phonotaktik 2002.