Austrian Music Highlights #7

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This spring, the weather has been much like the music scene. One minute sunny, the next rainy. Hot, then cold. Events planned, events cancelled. When will the surprises end? While no one is holding their breath, the rising temperatures and doses of vitamin D just around the corner, do give reason for hope. In the meantime, here are some rainbows, from us to you.


DIETER KAUFMANN turned the big 8-0 on April 22nd and Alte Schmiede, the historical music and cultural center in the heart of Vienna, as well as something of a second home to to the artist, celebrated accordingly, presenting excerpts from his 24-part work Music and Movement for Dancers, Performers, Instruments, and Sounds in Space, composed between 1966 and 2017, along with two purely acoustic works. Shaped by modernity and classical brilliance, Kaufmann has always stood firmly on the sliver of the cutting edge. In 1975, he co-founded the K & K Experimental studio in Vienna, which had the goal of implementing a wide and unconventional variety of alternative forms of performance. As a pioneer of electroacoustic music, he has always cared a great deal about passing on his knowledge and experience to younger generations. From 1983-1990 he held a composition class at the Carinthian State Conservatory and from 1991-2006 a professorship for composition at the Vienna University of Music, where he was also head of the Institute for Electroacoustics and Experimental Music (“Elak”). Kaufmann does not see electroacoustics as a way to compete with other existing means of instrumental music, but rather as an art form all its own. Although the pandemic has hindered the ability for friends and fans to celebrate Dieter Kaufmann’s birthday, we raise our virtual glasses and tip our hats to this legendary figure in music, art and sociopolitical activism.

Groove and gloom

The single “Deep” by the duo DON’T GO seems to have a literal effect: music goes on, listener’s captured – with little chance of escape. No, there’s no subliminal mind control interweaved in the sound waves, but, nevertheless, it’s hypnotic. The duo Nina Jukić and Alexander Forstner infuse desperately melancholic lyrics into soft and driving grooves. Critical questions and gloomy commentary trickle through the track. Nothing is answered, nothing explained. But, like a diary of poetry, it’s abstractly relatable nevertheless. “Deep” was released on Seayou Records earlier this month and is part of the full album, produced by Sophie Lindinger, which has just been released. As the hard lockdown just got lifted (who knows how long), the duo has squeezed in a pop-up event, May 4-5, where they will be meeting and greeting fans (carefully and hygenically), selling their albums, and exhibiting the art of the artist who covers their album, Olena Newkryta.

Want to know exactly what’s behind LUCA MALINA’S single, “Rain”? As if a spy entered her unconscious and jotted it down furiously in the middle of the night, here’s the answer:

In one of Luca Malina’s many daydreams, she asked herself: How sad can you actually get? And when you reach the maximum of sadness, what happens then? Are you still sad then? Or does the feeling change into something else? Maybe into a pleasant or even relieving, liberating feeling? So she sees a terribly sad girl walking along a rainy city street. The girl is ready to die. But this story is not sad. She knows now is the time, now she wants to go, she is ready. So she lies down curled up on the wet asphalt, like a little wolf, cozy and safe. Because no matter where she is, and where she is going, she is home as long as she is there. So she goes, somewhere else, hand in hand with herself. Whenever you go, you are there waiting for yourself. Home is where you are. (Excerpt from the artist’s Youtube channel.)

Speaking of wet

The latest single from TENTS is inspired by the extra-fancy, extra-pricy bottled water company – Fiji Water. It’s not abundantly apparent why. But it’s not abundantly important either. What we do know is that we haven’t seen a Fiji water commercial with their song on it yet. And that’s probably a good thing. What we also know is that “Fiji Falls” is the first single from the self-produced album “Limbo” coming out on Siluh Records in July. The music combines synth textures from 80’s pop with throbbing synth arpeggio and a mechanic drum beat, generating a monotonous repetition. It gives the impression of being caught in a loop, intensified by the recitative vocals that tell about treading water and false progress.

After a year’s postponement, MANU DELAGO has finally set off on his monumental Recycling Tour, a musical, ecological, cycling experiment. Rain or shine, this team of 6 musicians and crew will be on the road via bicycle for 35 days straight. Currently on day 5, you can keep track of them on the tour’s website, as they update us with daily musical, eco-educational and tour-newsworthy videos. In honor of this adventurous undertaking, he has released a new single, aptly named “ReCycling” which is effectively the anthem for the tour, but will also be part of his upcoming album to be released in fall 2021. Full of bicycle references and Austrian countryside homages, Manu combines his roots, passions and interests into one very danceable track. If you’re feeling low-energy, hit play. You might even be inspired to grab your eco-friendly vehicle of choice and go for a spin.

Manu Delago’s Recycling Tour 2021 (c) Simon Rainer

Window hopping

“Museum en Passant”: Pop Up STOREFRONT WINDOW

Over a long weekend in March, there was a happening. In the void that is covid, while cultural life was sleeping, Viennese in the 4th district were wide awake, standing together (distanced and masked) outdoors, about to witness a scandalous event (even if they didn’t yet know it). Together with Basis.Kultur.Wien // Kultur.Vor.Ort, Stefan Sterzinger unveiled a Schaufenster (storefront window) from which renowned local artists were to perform for the open air community. The short sets occurred, 2 in a night, including ANNA ANDERLUH, RAPHAEL SAS, MILLYCENT, KNALL, EDI KÖHLDORFER, and Vincent Pongracz a.ka. SYNESTHETIC IVO (solo project). The scene was set. It was already a spectacle, as it was. However, just as Synesthetic IVO’s set was getting going, the bright red and blue lights flashed and the police were on the scene. (Far too many given the circumstances, especially given the low volume and officially registered concert. But this is just the author’s opinion.) Alas, the party was pooped. But the story was good. And the spectators and musicians alike, will remember the evening far more, than had there been no drama at all. Let’s see what awaits us at the next events in May, which are still a “secret” and not yet ready for public knowledge. However we got a sneak peak, and the line up of literary figures and musicians in unique combinations is, in a word, top. Keep your eyes and ears perked, your covid regulations tight, and your photo IDs ready, just in case.

(c) Stefan Sterzinger Museum en Passant

extra crispy

If anything will get you in the mood for spring, it’s the new single and video by ECHOBOOMER, “Enemy”. Don’t be fooled by the title. Although there are hurdles and fiends to overcome in the surprising visual narrative, the music and video are cheerfully fun and the sunny field of flowers only adds to the humor and joy. Led by bassist Beate Wiesinger, this septet is a powerful, multifaceted musical crew, filled out by Astrid Wiesinger, Alois Eberl, Philipp Jagschitz, Michal Wierzgon, Clemens Sainitzer and Florian Sighartner.

Trumpet wonder, Austrian-born, Berlin-based musician, Richard Koch, will be blessing the Porgy stage in May with some of the usual players in his quartet (Michael Hornek), and other unusual additions and subs (Lukas Kranzelbinder, Lukas König and Clemens Salesny). Luckily, this new formation will most certainly not reduce the quality, but likely bring yet another layer of freshness to this already extra crispy band. Koch’s music is a bountiful blend of jazz and fun. With its song-like melodies and playful solos, the RICHARD KOCH QUARTET demonstrates how savvy art and clever amusement can be seamlessly united. To see if you agree or disagree, check out the online show on May 10th as part of Porgy & Bess’s streaming concert series, The show must go on(line) again.

This past weekend marked the annual jazzahead! festival. Anticipation was turned up to 10, given last year’s pandemic pause, and this year’s experimental online format. Some highlighst of the 2021 showcase lineup were SYNESTHETIC 4 and THE TRUE HARRY NULZ, the latter of which played live from Bremen and, following the show, Siegmar Brecher and Julian Adam Pajcs took part in a live interview, bringing a special refreshing intimacy to the online format. Synesthetic 4 presented a concert recorded especially for jazzahead! A live outdoor concert, in an urban courtyard ambience with a wonderfully sophisticated lighting concept, led the audience from a moving “Peeping Tom” perspective, which resulted in enthusiastic comments from the audience in the live chat. All in all, it was a unique and interesting experience for everyone involved in this year’s jazzahead!.

(c) The True Harry Nulz

To see our interview with Synesthetic 4 leading up to the festival, and to find out where their name came from, what DADA means to them and what their future holds, take a look here:

Arianna Fleur