Zeit-Ton Porträt. Wiener Weltenbummler: Boris Sinclair Hauf. Gestaltung: Andreas Felber
“Ensemble für zeitgenössische Gebrauchsmusik”, kurz: EFZEG, so hieß die Formation, mit der Saxofonist Boris Sinclair Hauf in den 1990er-Jahren in der Wiener Szene bekannt wurde. Heute lebt Hauf in Berlin und pflegt enge Beziehungen zur Improvisationsszene in Chicago, wo er u. a. das Festival “Chicago Sound Map” kuratiert. Aktuell meldet sich der 38-Jährige mit CD-Veröffentlichungen seines Sextetts und des Quartetts “Proxemics” zurück.
In one of the most pitifully attended concerts I’ve ever witnessed in Vienna, last weekend saw a deserted Porgy & Bess play host to the first gig in seven years by electroacoustic improvisation quintet Efzeg. The meagre turnout was probably inevitable, given that it was a hot Sunday night and that this music is not exactly a crowd-puller at the best of times; but it was also unfortunate, since what we had here was a reunion gig (oh, how I do love reunions) by a group containing some of Europe’s leading exponents of the electroacoustic genre.
I missed Efzeg the first time around, of course, which makes their 2012 reformation all the more pertinent. I’ve long admired guitarist Martin Siewert’s work, though, having seen him play both with avant rock unit Heaven And and in a trio with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and turntablist and Efzeg member dieb13 (Dieter Kovacic). Kovacic, meanwhile, turns up in Swedish Azz with Gustafsson, who was a guest at Heaven And’s last Vienna gig. You get the picture.
In marked contrast to those previous, bracing encounters, Efzeg are all about duration, the lengthy accumulation of sonic detail. During the concert, I found myself in an unfamiliar, somewhat disquieting mode of listening. I’m not used to the kind of patient unfolding of sounds that Efzeg present us with; years of close attention to free jazz and improv have conditioned me to enjoy, perhaps even to expect, a succession of thrilling events. Such expectations are clearly not part of the EAI aesthetic. The closest I’ve come would be the few AMM concerts I was lucky enough to see in London in the 1990s, before the deplorable schism that led to founder member Keith Rowe leaving the group. Come to think of it, Rowe’s tabletop style of guitar playing is clearly a direct antecedent of Siewert’s, although Siewert often plays in a more conventional style as well. Anyway, what AMM taught me, and Efzeg reminded me of, was the importance of concentration and close listening as a means of situating oneself within a musical environment.
That makes the whole thing sound like some kind of bloodless sonic experiment; nothing could be further from the truth. Over the course of two longish sets, the group’s four instrumentalists proposed a layered approach in which the saxophone, guitars and turntable each traced their own paths before coalescing into a pulsating and vertiginous wall of sound. The amiable Boris Hauf’s spare, astringent sax was bolstered by the quietly flickering guitar of the studious figure next to him, Burkhard Stangl. On the other side of the stage, Siewert was in abstract tabletop mode for the most part, occasionally exploding into fractured power chords. Next to him, dieb13 was to be seen thoughtfully looking through his records before deciding which one to play next, their soft drones adding layers of snowy interference. Meanwhile, visual artist and fifth member Billy Roisz was using the group’s audio as input for her analogue visual feedback projections. Constantly evolving in response to the shifting textures of the music, Roisz’s bold grids and insectoid patterns provided a hypnotic visual correlative. Taking the music and the visuals together, the overall effect was of a mysterious and unresolved entity stubbornly resisting capture. I sincerely hope the group continues to play live, despite the depressing lack of interest shown in this outing.
Fascinated by the minimalist textures revealed by balancing percussion and reed timbres plus an overlay of electronics, Berlin-based saxophonist Boris Hauf convened these telekinetic exercises in collective improvisation during a 2010 busman`s holiday in Chicago.
A frequent visitor to that city, Hauf is best known for his work with the efzeg combo, but these CDs are even more reductionist. Replacing the guitars that were part of efzeg with piano micro-tonalism of one-name Austrian Juun, plus his own harmonium playing on Proxemics, Hauf fills out the juddering narrative with contributions from his tenor and soprano saxophones, Keefe Jackson’s contrabass clarinet and tenor saxophone and Steven Hess’s drum beats. Hess, who is almost prominent in metal bands; Hauf and Jackson, who leads his own band and is a fixture in Chicago FreeBop combos; are all accounted for on Next Delusion with the trio augmented by exploratory Windy City bass clarinetist Jason Stein and two additional drummers: Michael Hartman and Frank Rosaly, both of whom gig frequently on the Chi-town Jazz scene.
In all honesty the discrepancy in the sound density between four or six players is minimal. Both measured and lingering the sextet’s four tracks travel a similar linear path as the three advanced by the quartet. If anything the most audible variation is the prominent reed textures Next Delusion. Often Stein’s bass clarinet, Jackson’s contrabass clarinet and the lower notes from Hauf’s tenor inflate together into an exposition of subterranean-pitched, tugboat-horn-like blowing. At the same time the output is never completely opaque, as split tones, snorts as well as linear air movements are also audible. Although the potential exists for rhythmic heavy-handedness from the three accomplished drummers, instead the percussionists are exemplary in cooperation. For every explosion of united rolls, ruffs and rebounds that upsets the chromatic cohesion, there are many more instances of the kit manipulators limiting themselves to rumbling timbres on drum tops or isolating cymbal claps and splashes.
If there’s a defining track it’s “Fame & Riches”; obviously no reflection of those involved with experimental improvised music. Beginning with reed tongue-slaps, flutters and squeaks, bass clarinet slurps and contrabass clarinet slurs eventually coagulate into a dense, nearly motionless reed mass. Finally meticulously angled saxophone lines and microtonal drum slaps reanimate the sequence.
Similar microtonal, chromatic interface is obvious on Proxemics, even if oscillating and shrill signal processing from Hauf’s sine tone and Hess’s electronics are more obvious. So are individual reed and piano strategies that reference Free Jazz. “Social”, the shortest track, contrasts straightforward tenor saxophone split tones backed by piano comping and drum top spanks. As Juan alternates her output between marimba-like string plucks and tremolo keyboard runs, puffing saxophone and clarinet air expelling maintain the track’s fragile equilibrium. Cascading and continuous harmonium washes on “Personal” similarly bring forth razzing sibilates from Jackson plus strident no-mouthpiece body toots from Hauf’s horn.
This combination of austere friction, moderated lyricism and near-ambient electronic synthesis is expanded to its fullest on the more than 29½ -minute “Public”. While the electronic shimmies often produce an unyielding ostinato as the horn men’s slurs slide into one another, there are still enough obvious jagged edges to keep the track lively. Among the standout signs are Juan’s clattering piano keys and tickling minimalist note patterns; bell-ringing and sequence-shattering from the percussionist’s raps and rolls; plus key percussion, mouthpiece whistling and balanced tongue slaps from the saxophonists.
With a mixture of European concepts and American know-how, Hauf and company maintain individual expression among the harmonies and rhythms of extended group expression. Both sessions make an impression and the textural attribute of either band could be advantageously developed by Hauf for further sound explorations.
In Rotation: Multi-instrumentalist Boris Hauf says Last.fm saved his ass
Boris Hauf, Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist and part-time Chicagoan, what he’s obsessed with. His answers are. . .
Last.fmI put on a record when I know what I want to listen to. If I want to discover something new but still fancy control over the range of that “new,” I turn on the radio. As anyone who’s traveled Europe knows, radio here sucks. If you’re looking to find anything alternative or even simply tolerably mainstream, you’re lost. My buddy Steve, also a Berlin resident, was spot-on when he said, “Last.fm saved my ass in many ways.”
Fred Anderson The very first time I visited Chicago, Fred Anderson invited me to “come down to the Lounge.” We sat at the bar, drank Coke, and chatted. Thrilled that such a sax giant would hang out with little me, I asked something about “free vs. nonfree” in music. He seemed annoyed and changed the subject. Many hours later, while I was bidding my farewell, Fred mused, “You know . . . that question you asked earlier . . . I think I want to answer that one now.” He took out his tenor and started blowing like only Fred Anderson could. I’ll never forget that man.
Levon Helm Recently I was invited to contribute to the “interactive library” of a performance festival. It was guaranteed that “no book would ever be allowed to leave the space of the library and that they’d be stored and locked every night.” I chose to loan my copy of This Wheel’s on Fire, Levon Helm’s retelling of the story of the Band. After the festival was over, all books were returned but mine. It was the only book that was stolen. Good for Levon. And the thief.
Ein Abend ganz im Zeichen der wunderbar schrägen elektroakustischen Klangspielereien, der hohen Improvisationskunst und der kunstvollen Verschränkung von Sound und Bild steht am 17. Juni im Wiener Porgy & Bess auf dem Programm. Zu Gast ist mit EFZEG eine Formation, die sich nun nach mehreren Jahren Pause erneut wieder daran macht, mit den Hörgewohnheiten des Publikums zu brechen. Ein kurzer Blick auf die Namen der Beteiligten gibt eigentlich schon die notwendige Auskunft darüber, in welche Richtung es gehen wird: Boris Hauf, dieb13, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl und Billy Roisz. Eigentlich ein Muss für jeden, der sich für musikalische Erlebnisse abseits aller Normen und Konventionen begeistern kann.
Wenn sich fünf Künstler dieses Kalibers und mit einem solch offenen Musikverständnis einmal gemeinsam auf der Bühne einfinden, dann kann man mit Sicherheit alles erwarten, nur nicht das Gewöhnliche. Allesamt führende und innovative Köpfe der österreichischen Improvisations- und Elektroakustikszene stehen Boris Hauf (Saxophon, Elektronik), dieb13 (Turntables) Martin Siewert (Gitarre, Elektronik), Burkhard Stangl (Gitarre) und Billy Roisz (Visuals) als Gruppe für die vollkommene Überwindung aller möglichen musikalischen und stilistischen Begrifflichkeiten. Sie sind ausgewiesene Experten im Beschreiten der experimentellen, avantgardistischen und von den herkömmlichen Mustern und Definitionen wegführenden Pfade, virtuose Klangarbeiter, die das Spiel mit diesem zur allerhöchsten Kunst erhoben haben.
Eine exakte Voraussage darüber zu treffen, was nun wirklich passieren wird, legt das famose Quintett einmal richtig los, ist eigentlich nicht möglich. Dafür agieren die fünf musikalischen Freigeister einfach viel zu sehr im freien Raum, in welchem alleine das gegenseitige Zuwerfen und Weiterverarbeiten von Ideen, sowie aus Aufzeigen neuer akustischer Wege regieren. Was aber auf alle Fälle erwartet werden darf, ist eine intensive und abwechslungsreiche Klangreise, welche von schrägen Free-/Impro-Jazz Interpretationen über die experimentelle Elektronik und Elektroakustik bis hin zu den heftigsten Noiseausbrüchen führen wird. Eine hochenergetische Mischung, die einer musikalischen Kettenreaktion gleichkommt, welcher man, ist sie einmal in Gang gesetzt, wohl kaum mehr Einhalt gebieten wird können. (mt)
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As I watched moths dancing by, I fell off my window
and from the forest, the dark forest, a white dog stared at me
He sat in the branches growling with his eyes, he saw me standing and I heard him say: “keep on walking, keep on walking, to be new in ending is not the only thing to do” White Dog, White Dog, where is the door?
Through the branches, Through the trees, white, the sun, the wig
the armor, the bird, the cloud and the ladder, the apron, the dress, coat and a hat. White Dog, White Dog, where is the door?
Pass these objects, weigh the distance of your walk.
Enter a tale short of shape made with steps of mass
floating forward, floating forward, forever like the autumn mist.
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There’s a dark room to show, where places hide and traces lie
shadows live and shadows die, on a different plane it can rain.
There’s a room, room of light, where words remember
the wind comes from east to west, they call it kamikaze. Speak to me of stepping in and out, to give attention a rest. Speak to me of places for yourself.Say a body, say a story.
There’s a woman playing a game, laughing and raining
in the corners of her eyes, this amusement never ends.
Sound rests bring fringes closer, gimme lifts, slips and slides
it can rain, it can rain octopus with knives. Speak to me of stepping in and out, to give attention a rest. Speak to me of places for yourself.Say a body, say a story.
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Soak up the rain, from your feet up to your hand. That’s where the rested, that’s where they rest now.
The moon falls on your face when you listen. Step a side, fix your shirt.
The sun falls on your face when you speak. Catch your hand and turn away.
Shake, shake of your clothes, shake off your feathers. You leave them in a pile at your feet. That’s where the rested, that’s where they rest now.
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There’s wind between the wall and the back of my head.
Hold me while I skate.
Touch me lightly with your hand to tell me when it’s time.
Profit & Loss
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Hang a line of mountain tops, hang them in a distance.
See the highs, see the lows, see the Profit, see the loss
Translate the line, into a frame and swing, a door.
Until a boat apears, until it floats, until it sinks.
Into the floor where time rest, Into the floor where time sleeps, Into the floor where time tells, Into the floor where time’s is guest.
See the highs, see the lows, see the Profit, see the loss.
Friday May 11, 2012 7.30PM
echoraum, Sechshauser Strasse 66, 1150 Wien www.echoraum.at
I’ll be playing my Levon Helm Tribute on Baritone Sax as part of Viskas Gerai/Litauen in Wien.
A classy festivalorganized and curated by Katharina Klement & Burkhard Stangl.
The festival stretches from May 10, 11 and 12 and includes mighty fine artists such as: Tautvydas Bajarkevičius, Martin Siewert, Susanna Gartmayer, Tamara Wilhelm, Katharina Ernst, Lina Lapelyte, Elisabeth Schimana, Manon-Liu Winter, Antanas Jasenka, Raminta Šerkšnytė, Boris Hauf, Egidija Medekšaitė, Lucas Miceika, Simon Zöchbauer & Ayac Jimenez-Salvador, Gintas K., Lisbeth Kovacic & Katka Csanyiova, Caroline Profanter
We are thrilled that after a 7 year hiatus efzeg will reunite and play concerts again. (info)
1999: After a 3 month stay in Chicago, Illinois Boris Hauf was in search for a new sound for his (till then) project-based musical outlet ‘efzeg’. He invited Burkhard Stangl, Martin Siewert and dieb13 to play a concert/recording session within a series of ‘house concerts’ he was hosting in his living room in Vienna, Austria. The 4 met that afternoon for the first time ever in a musical context. They set up microphones and an 8 track recording machine and hit record: a fixed line up had crystallized out of that session and efzeg was no longer a project based ensemble. Shortly thereafter Billy Roisz joined the four musicians using their audio as input for her analog visual feedback projections. From their first album on (grain – durian 2000) efzeg was “at the cutting-edge of the European avant-garde music.” (allmusic.com).
From 1999 – 2005 efzeg released 4 full length albums, various music for video, compilations and a full length vinyl on high profile labels such as durian, charhizma, grob, hathut, en/of, staalplaat and others. Billy Roisz’ videos were an essential part of the many live shows the band played and were also represented on most CDs they released. It’s hard to find an ensemble with such a vast and consistently well received and highly praised output in such a short period of time. Even after a break up in 2005 efzeg was still productive releasing tracks on various compilations (Selsi 2008, Venusmond Part 4).
Join us for our first concert in almost 7 years and our 13 year anniversary on June 17, 2012 at Porgy & Bess, Vienna.
Reedman Boris Hauf frequently pushes the envelope. For evidence, one need only look at his longstanding affiliation with the avant-garde, acoustic-electric Austrian band Efzeg, known for subliminal sound-sculpting mechanics and ethereal subtleties. However, his repertoire is quite extensive. Making frequent trips to Chicago over the years, he has aligned with like-minded individuals and noted improvisers, often residing on the same musical plane, similar visions coalescing for unpredictable outcomes. On this release, Hauf merges a three-horn attack with three drummers. Needless to state, the band’s makeup and scope of intent offer abstract permutations amid a keenly inventive platform, where hidden meanings are slowly revealed.
Boris Hauf , Keefe Jackson, Jason Stein – reeds
Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess, Michael Hartman – drums
“What can you expect from a Berlin-based saxophonist (tenor and soprano) who also has a parallel activity as an electronic musician? Well… the unexpected. And the surprise here is not only the instrumental configuration – three horn players, three drummers -, but also the musicians associated. Keefe Jackson (tenor sax, contrabass clarinet), Jason Stein (bass clarinet) and Frank Rosaly (drums) are names you can find in several Chicago avant-jazz projects, but the other choices made by Boris Hauf, also centered in the Wind City, are a puzzling indication that this sextet is not a common Chicagoan enterprise. Michael Hartman (drums, electronics) comes from the noise/electronic ensemble TV Pow, and Steven Hess works normally in brutal metal and “near silence” electro-acoustic bands like Cleared, Haptic and Locrian, going from one extreme to the other. Before even listening to the CD you’re aware of the proposed intentions: to explore all the contradictions naturally introduced by the performers, and to keep alive the inherent musical tensions. And the truth is that “Next Delusion” boils to the point of explosion. Remarkable.”
Proxemics – out on Creative Sources Recordings.
Boris Hauf – Tenor- and Sopranosax, sinetones and harmonium
Steven Hess – Drums, Electronics
Keefe Jackson – Contrabassclarinet and Tenorsax
Juun – Piano
Recorded by Adam Vida and Lou Mallozzi at ESS (Studio A) Chicago, April 2010
Mixed by Boris Hauf, Berlin 2011
Mastered by Todd A. Carter at bel_Air sound studio, Chicago 2011.
Many have inquired as to Jason’s whereabouts and well-being since he canceled his tours with Will Johnson in 2009. Over the last two years Jason has been in and out of rehab facilities and hospitals in England, Chicago, Indianapolis, and New Orleans. It has been a very trying time for Jason, his friends, and his family. Although no one can be sure what the future holds, we feel very encouraged by the recent steps Jason has taken on the road towards becoming healthy and productive once again. Unfortunately, because he has no medical insurance, he has accrued substantial medical bills. We are asking all friends of Jason’s music to come together with a showing of financial support for him. Please consider a contribution to his medical fund. Feel free to forward this to any and all appropriate parties. We are hoping to raise whatever funds we possibly can for Jason. He is currently working on a farm in West Virginia raising goats and chickens for the next year or so, and is looking forward to making great music again. Please also show your support and well wishes by sending letters and postcards to: