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Politik braucht keinen Feind . Ekkehard Ehlers

 

staubgold 41
2003. cd . dl

With this album following the highly acclaimed "Plays" series in 2002, pop musician and sound artist Ekkehard Ehlers presents his first fully composed works. "Mäander" and "Blind" are based on manipulated bass clarinet and cello recordings which Ehlers arranges like an orchestra in his laptop. Opposed to the pop music he produces with Albrecht Kunze in März, this is avantgarde music put into dreamlike states and finally looping in endless circles of magic fragile sound. Presented in a foldout digipak with accompanying poster, "Politik braucht keinen Feind" is both musically and visually Ehlers' most advanced artistic statement to date.

“Contributing to the enigmatic character of the release are the notes which are entirely in German. Translated, they express Ehlers' concern for musical tenderness, respectful humility in the face of musical freedom, and, evoking Proust, his aspiration to create music capable of reawakening lost moments. (…) Ehlers is less interested in adhering to conventions of classical composition but in conjuring fascinating sonic worlds that hardly fit the category of 'easy listening’. ‘Mäander’ is an incredible, multi-layered sound world of four or five layers of clarinets that is atonal, arrhythmic, ominous, and funereal (…) Mention must be made of the recording quality itself, which manages to capture the remarkably rich range of sounds with utmost clarity, giving the listener the opportunity to immerse him/herself fully into these remarkable sonic arrays. (…) Not a recording that you'll play first thing each morning, but in rarer moments the demands of its deep listening proves rewarding.” (Textura)

“While the laptop is still the center of Ehlers' world, the ephemeral drones which previously amassed from dense layering of tiny sounds have subsided within ‘Politik Braucht Keinen Feind.’ Here, he has culled strident samples from cello and bass clarinet performances and manipulated them into looped details. In turn, he has exaggerated many of those textures, such as through his increase of the bass frequencies from the bass clarinet into psycho-acoustically potent tones and through his emphasis of the micro-abrasions between the bow and the cello's strings. These little events and gestures flutter into atonal orchestrations and psychically tense atmospheres which come across as something of a hybrid of Tony Conrad and Pierre Henry. Beautiful but uneasy listening.” (Aquarius Records)

Ekkehard Ehlers

In addition to his solo career, Ekkehard Ehlers has recorded under the monikers Auch, Betrieb and Ferdinand Fehlers and as a member of the duo Autopoesies and his band März. In 2001, Ehlers began recording 'Plays', a series of singles to serve as tributes to some of his aesthetic heroes. These releases brought Ehlers notoriety outside of experimental electronic music circles and led to collaborations with the Red Hot Chili Peppers among others.

He followed 'Plays' with the far more abstract 'Politik Braucht Keinen Feind' in 2003, and then with 'A Life Without Fear', which incorporated blues in a typically oblique way, in 2006. Since 2000, he has been working on ballet scores for choreographers William Forsythe and later Christoph Winkler and theatre music for Ulrich Rasche. As a curator Ehlers has been responsible for the 'Lux Aeterna' festival at Berlin's Berghain and 'Audio Poverty' at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.