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Thursday, March 24, 2022

ZIMT - Ganz (Beso de Ángel, 2022) ****

The Viennese ZIMT ensemble - sound artist Angélica Castelló, who plays the Paetzold flute, tapes and electronics, her partner, guitarist Burkhard Stangl, who plays on the contraguitar and electric guitars (the two also collaborate under the moniker Chesterfield), and the couple of Gunter Schneider who plays the contra-guitars, and Barbara Romen, who plays on prepared dulcimer - was formed in 2007. The ensemble has performed before iconoclast artist Marcel Duchamp's „Erratum Musical“ (1913), the first-ever created random composition, arranged for ZIMT by Schneider as "Duchamp Default“, and was deeply inspired by John Cage’s ideas about chance controlled music (Cage was using the oracle coins of the Chinese Book of Changes, I Ching).

Surprisingly, Ganz is the first released document of ZIMT music but distills beautifully the unique essence of this ensemble. It is also the debut album of Castelló’s newly-founded label Beso de Ángel. The album was recorded live at Klangspuren Festival in Schwaz, Tyrol in September 2020. ZIMT is augmented by German clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski (half of The International Nothing duo). The 47-minute Ganz, like all ZIMT’s live performances, offers a profound and immersive listening experience. It is a delicate and detailed electro-acoustic, dreamlike soundscape that manages to weave disparate elements from distant spheres. You can hear echoes of timeless, still archaic folk music from the West and the Far East (Schneider and Romen called one of their albums Traditional Alpine Music from the 22nd Century, Extraplatte, 2009), minimalism and the contemporary music of the last century, free improvisation, field recordings, raw noises and subtle electronics.

The music, despite its disparate elements, flows organically according to its own enigmatic and unpredictable inner logic, with an impressive sense of poetic and lyrical articulation, sharp sense of humor and irony, obviously, deep listening and great attention to every timbral nuance, but also an intense need for risk-taking and keeping an intoxicating tension. You can easily lose your way within this mysterious garden of forking sonic paths, and repeated listening is needed in order to fully appreciate its rich wonders. Castelló’s frequent collaborator, French sound artist Jérôme Noetinger, described the listening experience to ZIMT as a discovery of a “musical garden inhabited by webs of strings, populated by extensive textures, entangled in an irradiated jumble of resonant frequencies… Five musicians who know how to listen, who know how to listen to each other and who master their sound gestures like the painter facing their canvas, avoiding any unnecessary chatter or filling”.