«Open Form For Society» (OFFS) is the most elaborate and complex project so far of German drummer-composer Christian Lillinger, known from his genre-defying outfits as the trio Punkt.Vrt.Plastik, the electro-acoustic quartet Boulez Materialism, the free jazz septet Grund, the free-improv trio Grünen and the art-rock quartet KUU!
OFFS is inspired by the ideas of Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper about «Offene Gesellschaft» (open society), 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 is a sonic-philosophical, meditation-realization of Popper’s ideas, sharing and distributing the composer-leader powers with his own musicians in order to build a truly open and discursive musical environment. In the last two years Lillinger developed a new chamber language, drawing elements from contemporary music, musique concrète, free jazz, hip-hop and techno; he organized a unique pan-European ensemble of nine closed and like-minded young musicians – three keyboardists, two percussionists, two bassists, one cellist and himself on the drums, among them pianist Kaja Draksler, synth player and pianist Elias Stemeseder, vibes player Christopher Dell, and bass players Petter Eldh and Robert Landfermann.
This ensemble realized Lillinger’s tightly structured compositional concepts and sonic ideas during five days of studio sessions in the summer of 2018; His complex, polyrhythmic structures and elusive melodic ideas were re-composed, deconstructed and reconstructed, and the reconstructions were structured again, involving intense, brief improvisations, intuition and personal interpretation. Later these ideas were designed in the post-production phase by Lillinger and co-producer Johannes Brecht, in order to shape further the structures, frequency, intensity and tonal depth. “Nothing was left to chance” he concluded. The album on released on Lillinger’s own label, Plaist.
The 13 pieces of OFFS plus short five excerpts of OFFS compositional ideas force even the most adept listener to re-calibrate anew his ears and minds. The OFFS ensemble plays in a very disciplined and rhythmic manner but sounds as moving in few different courses simultaneously. The repetitive, polyrhythmic patterns morph into dadaist-psychedelic grooves on «Überwindung», «Laktat» and «kfka»; extended techniques contribute to seductive, left-off-center pop themes on «Sisyphos (CMS)» and «Mocking»; and lyrical, chamber themes branch out as abstract soundscapes that introduce subtle noises on «Basel» and «Sog». The electro-acoustic sounds themselves become vivid and highly dynamic entities, accelerated and decelerated, stretched horizontally and deepened vertically as flexible, fluid materials.
OFFS may bring yourself to meditate about the ways you listen and decodes sounds and music at all. You may be surprised what would happen between your membranes while listening to OFFS. Just play it loud!
Christian Lillinger (dr), Antonis Anissegos (grand p), Kaja Draksler (upright pip), Elias Stemeseder (synth, p), Christopher Dell (vib), Roland Neffe (marimbaphone, vib, glockenspiel), Lucy Railton (c), Petter Eldh (b), Robert Landfermann (b)