«Open Form For Society Live» documents the live realization of German drummer-composer Christian Lillinger’s most ambitious project, «Open Form For Society» (OFFS) (Plaist, 2019) (read the review https://salt-peanuts.eu/record/christian-lillingers-open-form-for-society/). OFFS is a sonic-philosophical, meditation-realization of Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper’s ideas about a liberal-democratic society that trusts «people’s critical thinking abilities» and shares the powers of the state in order to avoid the possibilities of abuse of power. OFFS was premiered at the Donaueschinger Musiktage in October 2019 but the majority of «Open Form For Society Live» is taken from a concert at Jazzfest Berlin in November 2019.
Lillinger’s complex compositions are a starting point for re-interpretations by the international eleven-musicians ensemble, with no attempt to replicate the studio versions of these compositions but to reinvent these pieces. So «Open Form For Society Live» becomes a rougher, and more radical and urgent, complementary addition to the extravagant post-production of «Open Form For Society». Still, the sound engineer played a decisive role in implementing Lillinger’s sonic vision and he pitched the key instruments, mixed the sound dramaturgically, or distorted the tonal image completely, all in real-time.
OFFS ensemble expanded with the American pianist Cory Smythe and synthesizer player Ron Stabinsky, OFFS featured in these performances five pianists-synthesizer players, three drummer-percussionists, two bass players and one cellist. «Open Form For Society Live» begins with a new composition «OFFS (live)» that stresses, even more, the highly disciplined, carefully layered, polyrhythmic conception and the dense and intense interplay of this ensemble. OFFS adopts compositional and improvisation strategies from modern jazz and from contemporary music and manipulates the end result with subtle noises, distortions, and many sonic inventions.
The ten pieces are structured as a long suite that weaves recurring elements into a richer, but, still, provocative vision. The listening process to «Open Form For Society Live» feels like a playful walk inside colorful but elusive sonic labyrinths that challenge conventional conceptions about form, pulse, group dynamics, and personal freedom, true to the spirit of Popper’s ideas.
Christian Lillinger (dr), Kaja Draksler (p), Cory Smythe (p), Elias Stemeseder (synth, p), Christopher Dell (vib), Roland Neffe (marimbaphone, vib, glockenspiel), Lucy Railton (c), Petter Eldh (b), Robert Landfermann (b), Ron Stabinsky (synth), Antonis Anissegos (p)