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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

echtzeit@30: Q&A with Sabine Vogel

Sabine Vogel. (c) Cristina Marx/Photomusix

Explore Sabine Vogel’s site here . Recent releases include BOGONG DAM and the ending of isolated . connected .

FJB: What is echtzeitmusik to you? Is what might be considered echtzeitmusik connected through any approach, process, or sound result?

Sabine Vogel: Difficult question as there is so much going on under the “label” Echtzeitmusik and I am not really a fan of putting music into boxes and label it. I’d say Echtzeitmusik means to experiment with sound in different kind of genre, it can be noise, songs, tunings etc.

Is there something material - like demographics, affordability, or cultural practices - about Berlin that you think makes such a scene possible?

Berlin was for years much cheaper than other cities and it was possible to find places to rent. There were a lot of small clubs to play. This attracted musicians from all over the world, which then made Berlin even more attractive.

You couldn’t make much money, but life was not so expensive. This changed quite a while ago.

In what ways do you think the scene has changed since your involvement and what might have caused these changes?

I came to Berlin in 1999/2000 and the city was so vivid and exciting for me. As I wrote above - all these clubs, the people from all over the world and so on. You could go every night to a concert and get a lot of input. And you could meet every day somebody and play and experiment with ideas.

In what ways has the scene changed you and your musical practice?

When I came to Berlin I was very fascinated by the now so called Berlin Reductionism and how silence and quietness can open a huge space. My playing then was definitive influenced by this. Although I studied Jazz, I never really fell “at home” improvising over changes, I preferred playing more free and experimenting with sounds. When I came to Berlin - I grew up in the Munich area and studied in Linz, Austria - it felt like that there is finally the music I was searching for. I then played for a while in a duo with Tony Buck and worked with Michael Thieke, Alessandro [Bosetti] and Michael Griener in the quartet SCHWIMMER and with this group I had my first CD release (creative sources). I worked a lot with field recordings (which was also a logical step for me after working as a sound designer in a video production company in Munich, where I often recorded my own sounds instead of using their sound library). I then just followed this path with music and nature and now do a lot of work outside or work which is inspired by working outside in the fields. Besides this I became, from the very beginning, a member of the Splitter Orchester, which was founded in 2010 by Clare Cooper, Clayton Thomas and Gregor Hotz. We had intense working periods with exercises and worked with composers such as Matthias Spahlinger and George Lewis. It is hard to answer if “the scene changed me and my musical practice” as I feel like I followed my path and yes, this is always influenced or - better said - inspired through the projects and encounters I have. I wouldn’t say that this is necessarily just the “scene.”

Are there any recordings, labels, venues, musicians, or other participants you would like to shout out for cultivating the scene, or that you feel are essential to it? And is there a recording of you or your work that you feel is particularly representative of the scene?

There are so many: Andrea Neumann, Magda Mayas, Annette Krebs, Tony Buck, Robin Hayward, Burkhard Beins, Axel Dörner, Ute Wassermann…. You know all these names and again hard to pick some, there are so many, it’s everybody who is engaged and playing.

Just mentioning two Berlin labels, which sadly does not exist anymore: Schaum and Absinth records.

An important recording for me back in the early 2000 were - as already mentioned - SCHWIMMER on creative sources, but also my release with kopfüberwelle (a duo with Chris Abrahams on pipe organ) on Absinth records in 2012 and for sure my release ‘luv’ and ‘kopfüberwelle’ live in Sydney on the label Another Timbre of the Berlin Split series. As I do a lot of outside work, also often connected with video, my work lately is often published as online releases.

There were many venues, which popped up and disappeared, but some still exist like AUSLAND and KuLe, that still hosts the concert series Labor Sonor since many many years. 

- Interview conducted by Keith Prosk