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Die offene Gesellschaft . Thilges


staubgold 33
2002. cd . dl . lp

“Die Offene Gesellschaft” (or "The Open Society") is Thilges 3’s first full-length album. It came out toward the end of the release schedule of the group's self-released series of ten 3" cd’s which created their reputation in the world of electronic music.

As with their previous releases, the basis of this project is a series of live performances, this time held in the small Austrian city of Feldkirch in the summer of 2001. Thilges 3 performed with children in a nursery home, played in front of Buddhist monks, criminals and old people. Field recordings captured at the various locations, live material and studio work were combined and condensed to eight diverse pieces that found their way on this album.

“Gammon, Nik Hummer, and Armin Steiner compiled field recordings; quirky, upbeat electronic tunes; and abstract pieces into a continuous document of fake audio-verite. The trio's music consists mostly of analog synthesizers, but it never sounds even remotely close to vintage electronic music (…) Rhythmic synth patterns, modulating drones, and snatches of melody are combined to create retro-futuristic songs that recall Sack und Blumm with a sharper edge and added trips into the outer left field of sound art.(…) A good debut, albeit slightly hectic, ‘Die Offene Gesellschaft’ makes an effort to reach for the common man (…) without trampling over artistic integrity.” (François Couture, All Music Guide)


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.