Well surely it was inevitable, an album dedicated to covering the music of morally questionable UK noise pioneers Whitehouse. Well actually to be honest it’s the furthest thing from inevitable, and even the concept of this is incredibly bizarre, like an art school joke about a project that would never eventuate. Yet Zeitkratzer aren’t your regular new music ensemble, having already reinterpreted Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music and worked with everyone from Keiji Haino to Merzbow. Zeitkratzer it seems aren’t afraid of a little noise.
Here this cosmopolitan European ensemble amplify their acoustic instruments and utilise extended techniques and discordant sounds to conjure up the overwhelming extremity at the heart of Whitehouse’s music. It’s extreme violent music, the cellos, clarinet, piano, trumpet, double bass, harp, trombone, violin, and percussion all somehow colliding into this cacophony of grating intense sound that you would never think possible. It comes as no surprise to learn that creepy Whitehouse mainstay William Bennett was quite involved in the rehearsals and mixing process on this project that boasts loudly that it’s extreme acoustic music, that no electronics were used or harmed on this live recording on the 14th of May 2009 at Festival Les Musiques in Marseille France. The music comes from across Whitehouse’s oeuvre, and is almost as big, loud and abrasive as the original. How the ensemble were able to do this is nothing short of a mystery, yet it demonstrates that new music ensembles don’t have to be all squeaks and plonks, occasionally they can reach forward and tear your face off with a ferocity you could never anticipate. It only lasts 28 minutes but that’s all it needs. Incredible.
Bob Baker Fish