Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Klaus Hinrich Stahmer - Klanglabyrinthe (1992)

Five works spanning 1982-1992 are presented on this collection by German composer Klaus Hinrich Stahmer, b. 1941 in Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland).  Fascinated by mathematics, symmetry and geometry as well as sculpture and mythology, Stahmer's music gets explained in very dry detail in the booklet of this CD, which almost put me off.  Fortunately, there's plenty of interesting sounds to listen to at face value, which is what I always prefer to do (and write about).

Case in point would be the 17 minutes of Der Stoff, aus dem die Stille ist (1990) - if I listened to this blind, I'd probably just assume it was an environmental recording by a stream or river.  It was pretty enjoyable on those terms, without needing to know how minutely planned all the water-droplet harmonic frequencies and their timing intervals were (this part was all modulated by computer).  But hey, it is kind of fascinating that someone would impose so much structure into a recording of some... water.

Musically, my favourite piece here was Kristalgitter (1992), for computer-manipulated string quartet and the striking of stone sculptures.  The end result sounds to my ears like an early Stephan Micus recording overlaid with a less refined (check that distortion near the start!) version of Kaija Saairaho in string quartet mode.  This is followed by Labyrinth I/II (1989), with more Micus-esque stone music - this time the performers rubbed their wet hands on to granite blocks that had been cut with fine toothcomb-like grooves.  The resulting swishing sounds and resonant frequencies are manipulated by computer into a hypnotic dronescape.  A collection for repeat listenings, definitely.  The other two pieces are Ariadne's Thread, for contrabass flute and percussion, and a brief harmonica canon piece dedicated to John Cage.

mega / zippy


  1. Thankyou! This all sounds rather lovely. Once again, your description tempted me to give it a go, once again I'm v. grateful. Ta. Happy New Year to you Alan.