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På skive


«Alien Stewardess»
«Reinhold Friedl: Scarlatti»

p.o.p. (psychology of perception) is the Berlin-based quartet of fearless free improvisers-sound artists – pianist Reinhold Friedl, the director of the contemporary ensemble zeitkratzer, Greek, french horn player Elena Kakaliagou and cellist Nora Krahl, both play in zeitkratzer, and electric bass player Hannes Strobl, who recorded, mixed and mastered Alien Stewardess in 2023. This double album is the third one of this quartet in the last decade.

Alien Stewardess expands and distills p.o.p.’s focus on perceptual psychology and kinetic memory, and asks what the musicians’ bodies know. The quartet searches for labyrinthian, «transdimensional» sonic architectures that rely on subtle and elusive repetitions, idiosyncratic sonic-kinetic perspectives and some disturbing interferences, with brief melodic segments. p.o.p. weaves patiently and methodically these minimalist, almost ethereal architectures like a carpet, with delicate patterns of similarity and swift, rhythmic twists, and great focus on varied timbres, using an imaginative array of extended techniques. It sounds organic but very strange yet, surprisingly, sensual. Like being guided on a mysterious journey by a friendly alien stewardess.

On Scarlatti, the zeitkratzer ensemble presents six new compositions of Frield, grounded on Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti’s piano sonata F-minor K.466. These compositions were commissioned by the Berlin-based dance company RUBATO and are dedicated to Italian pianist-composer-eductor Mario Bertoncini (1932-2019), of the pioneer, experimental-free improvisation Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanz, who was fond of this sonata.

Little is known about Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), but his music was free, cheeky, playful, sonorous, and surprising. Scarlatti believed that there is almost no rule worthy of offending than the sense whose object is music – the ear. Friedl applied Scarlatti’s subversive, dramatic and capricious logic to his compositions for the seven-musician version of zaitkratzer, and for the dance company, knowing that Scarlatti was inspired by dance music. Scarlatti suggests a twisted yet rich version of the famous sonata, floating on ethereal clouds, extracted into minimalist drones, and even drowning in unsettling noises. But Friedl promises that those who know the sonata, will more than smell its shadows.

Eyal Hareuveni

Nora Krahl (cello), Hannes Strobl (electric bass), Elena Kakaliagou (french horn), Reinhold Friedl (piano), Frank Gratkowski (clarinets, flutes), Hild Sofie Tafjord (french horn), Maurice de Martin (percussion), Burkhard Schlothauer (violin, viola), Ulrich Phillipp (double bass), Martin Heinze (double bass)