FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 2009

FMP CD 135

Wolf Kampmann


The limits of perception very rarely comply with the limits of expression. It is easy to get involved in a musical context where the demarcation lines between these two concepts run at least parallel. Then in this case we know what the artists are trying to provoke in us. On “Too Much Is Not Enough” this is not the case.

Olaf Rupp, Marino Pliakas and Michael Wertmüller go beyond what any ear could possibly pick up. Listening is a complex bundle, a multiple transmission of acoustic signals into more or less conscious impressions. But what happens if our filters are far too permeable to even detect the signals? Or if the frequency of the signals is not synchronized with the wavelength of the antennae right from the beginning? Looking at it from this perspective it seems that this music does not even want to be heard at all, but to avoid the ear in order to find other ways of transmission.

The three signal sources of this recording initiate sound states and movements which are not simply put together of three acoustic components but which function as a collective molecular Action painting. It plays no roll at all in this process which impulse emanates from the drums, from the bass or the guitar. It would also be too simple to reduce this process to pure energy which radiates out and is reconstituted by the listener. Sure, the processes sound energetic and unleash forces at their projected targets. And yet this sound genesis is so infinitesimally fragmented, that the energy aspect is entirely dispersed, the smaller the sector chosen, which can then be enlarged expeditiously. What sounds here is like the leaf of a fern which systematically and reliably reproduces the image of itself. Irrespective of the selected magnification one always discovers the same structure. Macro and micro presuppose and neutralize each other. This allows it to be explained but not understood.

The question as to how much sense it makes to analyse inexact phenomena such as clouds, tops of trees, running water or a traffic jam on a motorway, to disassemble them into their micro components and to make them tangible as a formula, does not really pose itself. What makes sense is what is doable. What can be done will be done, no matter whether it makes sense, is permitted or ethically justifiable. No, the question has to be formulated in a completely different way. Is it even possible to get to the bottom of a piece like “Too Much Is Not Enough” from an intellectual and sensual point of view? How far does one get in this respect with musical or aesthetic categories?

Rupp, Pliakas and Wertmüller trigger discomfort because they do not abide by the thousand year old agreement between the artist and the audience to represent that which may be experienced. Here, the intuitive creational power of the artist reaches its limits. The states represented on this CD exist outside conceivability. They are as threatening as all the other phenomena which cannot be handled by mere reason. And how easy it is to immediately try and seek refuge in the irrational or metaphysics when faced with rationally imponderable matters. Reason - and from the artistic creative point of view we can confidently locate the sensual in the area of reason, because perception is the basis of cognition – in the end only describes our own very individual and collective limitations. The ultimate, which does not have a name, exists in the no man’s land between intuition and reception. Where music is no longer conceived and not yet perceived. Our receptors are far too slow to do justice to this morphological state between larva and cadaver of sound.

This is where expression comes into play. True expression can neither be directed nor controlled. At best it can be activated. Concepts such as abstraction or emotionality fall short in this case. Michael Wertmüller, Marino Pliakas and Olaf Rupp know exactly what they are doing. They leave nothing to chance. And still they make allowances for the fact that despite all their knowledge and skills, their rich experience in playing and their visionary talents, in the end only act as triggers for a network of processes and situations which they indeed activate but can hardy influence, let alone control in their final unfathomable consequence. We may be able to determine the Gestalt and direction of a piece of art but their dimension beneath the formal defies our control. Where expressions overrides intention and, finally, form, the dictatorship of dimension in art is overcome. “Too Much Is Not Enough” – it could hardly be put more poignantly.

Translation: Isabel Seeberg & Paul Lytton

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