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Steamology I
Steamology II

ELISABETH HARNIK, DIDI KERN, JAAP BLONK Steamology

CD album | gg380
Elisabeth Harnik, an Austrian based pianist and composer has created a multi-faceted body of work by blurring genre boundaries through various collaborations in the field of improvised music, interdisciplinary projects and contemporary compositional works. She studied classical piano and later – with Beat Furrer – composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz. As an improviser she works within an electro-acoustic inspired sound-world, using specific preparations and extended techniques while pushing the limitations of the piano. Amongst others she has collaborated with Frank Gratkowski, Dave Rempis & Michael Zerang, Joelle Leandre and Ken Vandermark. Didi Kern is an Austrian drummer who is best known for his work with Bul But, Fuckhead or Glutamat. He is equally at home in the rock scene and in the free improvisation scene. He has a duo with keyboarder Philip Quehenberger, plays drums with KGB and has performed with jazz greats like Peter Brötzmann, Mats Gustafson, Weasel Walter, Saadet Türköz or Ken Vandermark. Jaap Blonk is a Dutch avant-garde composer and performance artist. He is primarily self-taught both as a sound artist and as a visual/stage performer. He studied physics, mathematics, and musicology for a time, but did not complete his studies. One of his early influences was Kurt Schwitters, whose Ursonate he first heard in 1979; he memorized the entire work, and it became one of the cornerstones of his repertory. For Wels Unlimited 2020, the trio got together for a live stream during one of the Covid lockdowns. This album is a recording of that show. Full tracklist: 1. Steamology 1 2. Steamology 2 3. Steamology 3. Price: € 18,-/incl. worldwide shipping.

The first five minutes sound like a steam engine trying to get its groove back. And when it does, block chords go up in accelerando until the engine stops. No steam is available, and theres a meditative tension (a contradiction in terminus, of course, but the relative stillness of the piano in full atonal mode is interjected with percussive tings and tangs, spellbinding rushes, shakes with a tambourine and sticks rubbed against the cymbal to create high-pitched tones. This interlude is mesmerizing and a stark contrast with the preceding six minutes. Harnik also attacks the bare strings inside the grand piano throughout the piece for added effect. Both musicians are conscious of what each is doing.
(Vital Weekly, April 2022)

Steamology offers two free improvisations of Harnik and Kern. Both improvisations are quite steamy and intense but also quite whimsical in their spirit. Harnik and Kern chase after each other in these fast-shifting and unpredictable improvisations, complementing and teasing each other and always challenging themselves with more nuances and new sounds throughout these energetic conversations, even in the quietest and most sparse moments. Their dynamics move organically from the rawest and the wildest to the thoughtful and the lyrical, where Harnik employs extended techniques and plays with the piano strings, and Kern demonstrates his dadaist rhythmic approach.
(Salt Peanuts, April 2022)