— gaudenz badrutt —

About X (Strøm, on Mikroton):

„Alvin Lucier’s 1969 I Am Sitting in a Room is a display of new sonic material culled from recording a voice and recording that recording, and recording that recording, and recording that recording — and on and on. The final product shows almost nothing of the original, the piece becoming a wash of room resonance and blurry overtones. Gaudenz Badrutt (electronics and analog synthesizer) and Christian Müller (electronics and contrabass clarinet), aka strøm, took a similar approach on X, but what happened was quite the opposite: the music became clearer, larger, focused and incredibly detailed.

Born from a live jam, and then remixed myriad times and ways, X is a hybrid android beast dreamt up in a lab. „Rimese“ begins with a placid drone and sci-fi sound design of blips, sputters, power-ons etc. A panning, ticking pulse is introduced before a subway-sized ostinato of various materials takes over. All hell breaks loose in the form of machine „malfunctions“ and gravelly distortion; the storm of noise peels back, and we’re left with insect scribbles and a pale whir. Layers of stuff start as nothing, and then grow to a point just enough to create a fierce tension as they flit across the stereo field. Switches are thrown, and the piece sputters to a halt. „Erisem“ lives in a staccato world of percussive thumps and rapid start / stop ideas that manifest like TV channel changing (well if all the programs featured amplified medical contraptions and pitch-shifted frog ponds). As the work winds on, all sounds begin to disappear into the distance via reverb, and then abruptly lurch back into center for a brief coda. On „Merise“ and „Xermi,“ the duo concentrates on forging an electric river of slow moving, glowing magma that subtly overwhelms and drags everything in the way along for the descent.

The disc follows this aesthetic until the closer, „Semeri,“ the first remix that the previous six remixes remix (got that?), where the feeling is almost…human. That’s kind of hard to qualify, but where the previous tracks were bionic, this one pauses frequently between gestures because copy and paste and days of decision making are not available. It’s not sloppy, just semi-nude, raw and fresh with breathy sounds and stunted buzzing and sudden foghorns and twitching bleeps.

In the way that Serial Composition can work well in the right hands (i.e. Babbitt, Webern), X is an example of a process setting boundaries but not letting it get in the way of — in fact fostering — a really neat result.

(And I just noticed that the first letter of each title spells out „REMIXES.“ Good job, boys.)“ Written 2017 by Dave Madden, Squid’s Ear

About Rotonda (Kocher-Belorukov-Badrutt):

Rotonda (INTONEMA int016) is a single 47-minute improvisation performed by the trio of Gaudenz Badrutt, Ilia Belorukov, and Jonas Kocher. It’s one of these lengthy, slow and quiet affairs, which I usually liken to Quaker prayer meetings, because a player will apparently only make a sound when he has something to say. Otherwise, Aut tace aut loquere meliora silentio 1 is their motto.

Kocher’s inaudible accordion-playing has crossed our path before, and I often find it surprising how memorable his work is when, pound for pound, there’s so little of it. Matter of fact he joined forces with Badrutt on the album Strategy Of Behaviour In Unexpected Situations for the Insubordinations label in 2015, and the agonising tension induced by that music is something I won’t forget in a hurry. I needed prescription muscle relaxants for about two weeks.

Badrutt is still doing unspeakable things with electricity, and given the dark nature of his crimes we expect to read about his arrest in Zurich any day now. He turned his back on his beginnings as a classical pianist, doing so in a memorable public action that involved the conflagration of a concert grand that had been doused in petrol, and for 15 years he has been in pursuit of the sort of dreams that only sine waves can give a man. Notably, he’s done it with the woodwind player Hans Koch, and he plays in strøm with Christian Müller and Kocher. Here, he does some form of live sampling, which may involve taking the temperature of the room with his magic thermometer (don’t ask!) and working with “acoustic sound sources”, which given the environment in question may involve anything from riffling through a card index to agitating a wooden library shelf.

Yes, they did it in the Rotonda of the Mayakovsky Library in Saint-Petersburg, starting imperceptibly at first, but building up to an alarming combination of tones that drove all the readers out into the street in short order, while a small federation of librarians laboured to maintain an aura of calm. Belorukov is almost elbowed aside by the taut fabric of fear created by the Swiss pair, but he manages to insert some pained, abstract tones from his alto saxophone, comforting it like a wounded animal. I’d also add that their playing is highly attuned to the space itself; Kocher in particular seems to be in his element, exploiting the natural echo of the venue, and his short utterances (when they do happen) delineate the architecture of the walls and ceiling with a pinpoint accuracy.

Bleak, cold, slow to the point of inertia, and full of unexpected silences, this is still an impressive bout of minimal blap, packed with existential doubts and strange emotions.“ Written 2015 by Ed Pinsent, the sound projector

„Label russe publié par le saxophoniste alto Ilia Belorukovintonema présente des enregistrements d’improvisation radicale sans concession où les artistes s’essayent à transgresser et faire reculer les limites et les formes acceptées il y a peu, mettant en jeu des concepts fort peu convenus / remettant en question l’acquis d’avant-hier soir. À cet égard Rotonda, enregistrée dans la Rotonde de la librairie Maïakowski en 2014, est à la fois exemplaire pour la démarche intransigeante et la pertinence des affects que ces trois aventuriers libèrent du néant. Le silence plane et occulte les sons de l’espace avant qu’un timbre inconnu se mette à poindre dans le no man’s land. Le saxophone préparé d’Ilia Belorukov ? Les sources sonores acoustiques et l’échantillonneur en temps réel de Gaudenz Badrutt ? L’accordéon mystérieux de Jonas Kocher ? On écoute les yeux fermés sans se soucier d’où proviennent les sons et comment ils sont obtenus. On se laisse captiver par la subjectivité des trois complices. Des drones aigus meurent dans un murmure de réverbération. Le grognement des anches libres dans le soufflet relâché et distendu. Tout semble extrêmement monotone, mais une diversité sonore finit par s’imposer par des touches soudaines et brèves qui en disent plus long qu’une tirade … l’imprévisibilité est assumée et les agrégats de sons fascinent. Quelle précision ! Ces 47:50 paraissent ardues, étirées, suspendues dans un temps arrêté, devant une porte fermée imaginaire. Et pourtant, une ouverture béante se fait jour et la lumière pénètre insensiblement à travers laquelle on voit léviter les grains de poussière. Le nom du poète Maiakowski évoque en nous le désespoir de la révolution russe qui déboucha sur le capitalisme d’état le plus autoritaire qu’on imagine. Le poète suicidé était lucide et cette qualité profonde transparaît avec une belle évidence tout au long de cette performance. Elle ne sanctifie pas directement l’acte de jouer, elle le resitue au-delà de son immédiateté, dans un temps autre, celui qui s’écoule lorsque la réflexion s’approfondit et que l’écoute de l’espace qui nous entoure nous envahit. Et quand une résonance infime parvient à la conscience, les doigts pressent subrepticement un cluster qui geint en un éclair fracturant le silence… On y trouve l’unisson, des strates, l’euphonie statique et, quand vient l’instant de la disruption, on s’écarquille. Prendre le temps d’écouter pour que … vive un moment, un seul ! Dans la lignée des lower caseréductionniste et pas que… , une musique vraiment très aboutie.“ Written 2018 by Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg

About X (strøm):

„[…] On these six tracks, strøm are capable of creating a deliciously fractured and bitty approach to electronic noise, refusing any form of lushness or pleasant surface to the sounds, and accepting only the choicest moments of compressed digital glitch and crackle into the mix. Austerity and severity are just two of the watchwords hopefully sellotaped onto their respective consoles or mixing desks. This can result in very exciting music, where the listener’s fleshy brain and listening apparatus are draped over a stainless steel structure of some sort; there’s that much power and inflexible strength to the core. Elsewhere, there is a menacing bass drone underpinning the work which may have originated from the clarinet. Oddly enough these moments are less satisfying for some reason, and I find I derive more satisfaction from the pieces which spit out their digital juices like so much hot fat over the roasting pan. Extremely abstract music, as reflected in the plain colourfield designs of the cover artworks. But this is very far from the clean lines of Raster-Noton or other minimal-glitch work of Cologne and Vienna, and its lineage does not come from techno beats or the dancefloor.“ Written 2016 by Ed Pinsent, the sound projector

About Strategy of behaviour in unexpected situations (Badrutt-Kocher):

„This delightfully titled album from the Swiss duo of Kocher (accordion) and Badrutt (electronics) is available as a CD, or as a free to download file from the label. It is not then necessary to pay for this music, but I thoroughly recommend that you do. A single track, recorded (I think) in a live concert setting in Berlin during October 2011, this is a fine example of improvised music that lives and breathes tension. Kocher’s accordion work has impressed me a lot over the last year or two. His attention seems to be on the quality and diversity of sounds he can pull from his seemingly non-versatile instrument rather than slip into the tendency for drones that the accordion used in experimental settings often leans toward. Badrutt’s electronics are of the minimal kind- a combination of sine-like tones, small clicks and bits of fizzing distortion. Its something of a cliché to say that it gets hard to tell the two musician’s contributions apart, but often here this is the case. The music they make arrives out of silence. There are a lot of quiet passages acroos the thirty-two minutes here, either those of complete inactivity or often just thin tones from one or the other musician, but when the music does erupt, as it does often in tiny bunches of sound, it does so in a jarring, spiteful manner. Think the lowercase clicks and buzzes of the turn of the millennium improv scene, but instead of polite little sounds submerged in long silences, when the calm is broken here it is done so in a quite vicious, aggressively cutting way. The temptation is to relax into quiet music, but Strategy of behaviour in unexpected situations exists in a constant state of expectancy- will the next sound be a quiet, calm one or a brittle, edgy one? The tension in this music is such that listening carefully leaves you jumpy and unsettled.
Not much more to say about this one then. beyond that this is music right up my street. What is clear to me here is the attention the two musicians are paying not only to one another but to how they build their music as a whole, and that attention, and the effort and strain taken in undertaking it is palpable here. This improvisation that lives and breathes each time you press play, but doesn’t do so through adrenalin rushes or dense layers of activity, rather relying on the naked qualities of brief, simple, yet affecting sounds placed neatly in opposition to one another. Well worth a purchase.“
Richard Pinell / the watchfulear.

„The 32-minute eponymous piece that comprises this CD by Jonas Kocher and Gaudenz Badrutt takes place on a bed of silence. In fact, one could call silence the third member of the group. Yet this silence is not empty; it is potent and simmering, with a life of its own.
In many ways this piece is about listening, about patience and expectation as you wait for sounds to arise. And sounds do arise, in all shapes and sizes: whooshes, clicks, beeping, crunching, dark drones, high-pitched squeals, and subliminal vapors that pass through like shadows. The word « unexpected » in the title is also quite telling: sometimes the sounds sneak up quietly, and other times they explode the silence into shards. Kocher and Badrutt like to play with the unforeseen; they enjoy sounds that startle and astonish, as well as the space that’s left when these sounds fade off into nothing.
The modern world is filled with noises, most of which we hardly acknowledge, but a piece of music such as this provides the space to actually hear sounds as they emerge. This is true even when the sound is a high-pitched drone or repetitive beeping; such sounds are reminiscent of the French phrase jolie laide, which literally means « pretty-ugly »: even if these sounds might seem displeasing on their own, they are exactly right in the context of the whole. Altogether this is a gripping piece of ambient music and electroacoustic innovation that’s a pleasure to explore“
Florence Wetzel / all about jazz

„A thirty-three minute of carefully placed sounds and well chosen silence, I’d say. This is one of those works were you hear something, short, and then nothing, a bit longer. Action and interaction music. Its not always easy to say who starts the action, but perhaps they alternate between each other, and perhaps they both start every now and then, while at other times they both stop. But on a few occasions they collide mid air and when they bump they go on collision course which actually may take some time. This only happens maybe three of four times here. It’s here that they sustain their sounds for a while and deliver more tension to the music, even more than to the other parts. It’s full on, intense listening and playing going on that requires your full attention. You can’t play this while doing something else (I tried and failed). Stay focussed. The musicians, so why shouldn’t you?“
Frans de Waard / Vital weekly

„Le duo Kocher/Badrutt présenté sur la compilation de duos avec Jonas Kocher m’avait déjà interpelé et c’est donc plutôt avec joie que j’ai reçu cette autre pièce d’une trentaine de minutes, improvisée par ce même duo accordéon/électronique.
Le même registre est exploité, dans un contexte aussi minimaliste et très interactif. Kocher continue d’explorer les registres extrêmes de l’accordéon, des registres qui s’entremêlent facilement avec l’électronique (notamment les aigus proches du larsen, mais aussi les bourdons très graves, constants et légers). De son côté, Badrutt tisse des fils très ténus, sensibles et délicats, des drones aigus ou très graves irrégulièrement rompus par des brusques interventions sonores qui peuvent paraître acoustiques: sortes d’interventions bruitistes qui pourraient faire penser à des objets lourds entrechoqués après un calme de plusieurs minutes. On retrouve énormément de bourdons légers, à peine perceptibles, des bourdons qui laissent parfois « entrevoir » des sons extérieurs et étrangers. Mais aussi le même intérêt pour les dynamiques propres aux timbres et aux modes de jeux, ainsi qu’un intérêt pour la tension et l’intensité propres au silence et au calme. Car ce sont bien ces deux termes qui peuvent qualifier la majeure partie de cette improvisation: un calme constant malgré des irruptions violentes sporadiques, ainsi qu’un silence toujours sous-jacent et tendu. Encore une fois: du beau travail – recommandé.“
Julien Heraud / Improv-sphere

„Vid sidan av Flexionrecords verkar Insubordinations just nu släppa några av de intressantaste plattorna inom vad som kunde kallas experiment eller elektronika eller akustiska rollbyten.
Dragspelaren Kocher och elektronikaspelaren Badrutt, båda med schweiziska pass, finns nu på ett nytt album inspelat på Kule i Berlin förra året.
Här förenas de i de minsta ljuden. Budrutt är en så’n där pillig musiker, som dekonstruerar, plockar isär, framkallar små ynkliga tickanden, en fräsande ton, sinusvågor, knäppningar. Liksom disträ och glömsk av omvärlden. Ett slags killmusik. Men det är mycket charmigt för att det är rätt så barnsligt. Men de ljudmarker de går över är helt olika de vanliga. Inget slags romantik, inget är det minsta ambient.
Toner kan vara som tinnitus, linjer brytas av. Det är lyssnandets musik, en nu-musik. Och de lösa strukturerna och många hängande trådarna bryter sönder tidsupplevelsen. Den lilla väv som finns i både noise och lågdynamik river de hänsynslöst sönder, bryr sig inte alls om att knyta ihop och de struntar totalt i vad som blir kvar. En hög revor att nysta i.
Underhållningsvärde? Tja, det här är musik som skär mycket djupare än så. Kasten är många. Tvära klanger och snabba buntar av ljud, som skapar helt nya bilder. Tålamodet belönas. Och sällan har någon fått dragspelet att dra sig ur en elektronisk bunt av ljud med ett så plågsamt tjutande dragspel som Kocher, och det är menat som beröm.
Jonas Kocher ägnar sig åt både skallöppningar och den fintrådigaste hjärnkirurgi på lyssnarna.“
Thomas Millroth / soundofmusic

About Social Insects (Koch – Badrutt):

„Two new releases by Jonas Kocher’s Flexion label, and those releases can be had for the exchange of money, other CDs, books, bottle of wine, postcards etc. The first of these is not by Kocher himself but by two friends, the duo of one Hans Koch on bass clarinet and Gaudenz Badrutt on electronics – whatever that may consist of these days (laptop, stomp boxes, synths, electrical connections) cooking up some radical improvised music. Not radical in the sense of things being very loud or very soft, but in the sense of approaches to the bass clarinet and the use of electronics. It sounds all very improvised, with many short sounds of all kind on both of these instruments, sometimes even dropping below the threshold of hearing, and sometimes all of a sudden they make long form, sustaining gestures of gliding scales. Crackles, drones, perhaps a synth of some kind, it makes up a fascinating ride for the entire fifty-four minutes in twelve tracks, ranging somewhere from mere thirty-six seconds to just over ten minutes. Best enjoyed, I thought, when played as one piece, rather than a selection of twelve pieces. Koch/Badrutt don’t play easy pieces of music, far from actually, and intense listening is required, but once you get deeper into this some true beauty unfolds. Strangely wonderful difficult music.“ Frans de Waard / Vital Weekly


„Premier enregistrement du duo Hans Koch (clarinette basse)/Gaudenz Badrutt (électronique, ordinateur, live-sampling), est un disque prometteur qui m’a révélé un duo admirable. Même si c’est leur première publication, il faut quand même savoir que ce duo est formé et actif depuis maintenant plusieurs années – ce qui s’entend et se ressent assez facilement tout au long de ces douze pièces.

Concrètement, Hans Koch et Gaudenz Badrutt développent chacun des nappes linéaires et arythmiques, principalement basées sur la texture: des drones discrets et légers, de longues harmoniques, un chalumeau interminable,. Pour varier, les deux musiciens utilisent également sur quelques pièces des dynamiques plus tendues, rythmiques et donc moins linéaires, faites de slaps, de bruits de clés, de techniques étendues diverses, de larsens, et d’interventions analogiques noise – pièces qui correspondent assez bien à l’évocation des insectes. Mais le plus important à mes yeux reste l’interaction entre chacun, plutôt que les inventions sonores individuelles. Un duo qui tient avant tout et parvient très bien à explorer l’interaction entre les instruments et la confusion des sources sonores. Les sons s’échangent grâce aux techniques de live-sampling, les timbres s’entremêlent et les registres se télescopent. Durant une heure, Koch et Badrutt nous proposent un jeu musical où les rôles s’échangent, s’inversent, se mélangent, s’identifient, se recoupent et se copient. D’où l’interrogation constante sur la source sonore: combien de fois me suis-je demander si j’entendais bien une clarinette, son imitation électronique ou son détournement par le biais de sample et de live-recordings? L’interaction est si profonde et réussie qu’elle ne peut générer que la confusion. Mais une confusion agréable puisqu’elle est toujours équilibrée par un fil conducteur, une idée musicale qui dirige chaque pièce (que ce soit un mode de jeu, une dynamique, une ambiance, etc.). Et pour la dernière fois: conseillé.“ Julien Héraud / Improv-Sphère


„Was ein Rohr ist, weiß kaum jemand besser als HANS KOCH, mit dem GAUDENZ BADRUTT hier seine Bassklarinettenerfahrungen mit seinem Strøm-Partner Christian Müller variiert. Öffnet man die Schmirgelpapierhülle, winkt einem eine Riesenameise einladend zu, in in­sektoide Dimensionen einzutauchen. Der bruitistische Mikrokosmos empfängt einen mit schrillen Klarinettenpfiffen, als würde ein stacheldurchbohrtes Wesen ‘wie am Spieß’ kir­ren. Als würde in dieser Insektenwelt schmerzhaft hörbar, was in unserer ‘Oberwelt’ längst auf taube Ohren stößt. Danach wechseln pointillistisch ploppende, schnarrende und kla­ckende Interaktionen mit leisem Geknister, feine Blase- und Schmauchlaute vereinen sich mit ebenso fein dröhnenden Schwingungen. Der Bieler Bläser lässt hier ganz die Hardcore Chamber Music vergessen, für die er (mit Schütz & Studer) bekannt ist. Streckenweise ist die Klarinette elektronisch verhackstückt, um dabei aber chitinhart zu klackern und zu klopfen! auch wie ein Didgeridoo zu dröhnen, metalloid zu schimmern oder wie ein Hirsch­(käfer) zu röhren. Das größte Ungeziefer sind aber immer noch wir selber.“ [BA 75 rbd]

„Social Insects est une longue improvisation divisée en indexs de longueur variable. Nous demeurons dans l’univers de la musique microsonique – dépouillement, techniques étendues, sensations d’entrer à l’intérieur du son, jeu collectif toujours à un poil de se briser tant le fil est ténu, le silence menaçant constamment d’engloutir le non-silence.

Jonas Kocher just released on his microlabel Flexion the debut album by a duo consisting of Hans Koch (bass clarinet) and Gaudenz Badrutt (electronics) – they both play with Kocher on the above-mentioned is one long improvisation segmented on the disc in indexes of varying lengths. We’re still in the microsound world – sparseness, extended techniques, the impression of stepping inside the sound, collective playing always on the verge of breaking up, silence threatening to swallow non-silence.“ François Couture / Monsieur Délire

„Qui sont ces insectes sociaux (sociables ?) qui sifflent sous nos têtes ? Voilà la question de Gaudenz Badrutt (electronics) et Hans Koch (clarinette basse) : l’un frissonne et l’autre siffle mais les deux donnent dans le sempiternel parallèle entre infiniment petit et difficilement audible… Et il y a quelque chose d’organique dans ces sons. De petites bêtes passent en soufflant, sifflant, gueulant aussi de temps en temps, et l’instrumentarium est leur terrain de jeu (ils peuvent entrer dans la clarinette et y caracoler). Leur musique peut être concrète, abstraite ou ambient. On pourra qualifier cette ambient de « scientiste » pour parler de la grande découverte que Badrutt et Koch ont faite sur ce CD. Au diable la terminologie, c’est là qu’ils sont le plus original !“ Pierre Cécile / Le son du Grisli

„Bassklarinettist Hans Koch – ja, der von Koch/Schütz/Studer interagiert auf so attraktive wie experimentelle Weise mit dem Elektroniker Gaudenz Badrutt. Kochs Sounds werden immer wieder von Badrutt im Live-Sampling-Verfahren verwendet, der Ball wird zurückgespielt, wieder aufgenommen usw.usf. Recycling verwandelt sich in der Spielweise diese Duos von der ökologischen zur ästhetischen Mehrwertherstellung. Ein lässiges, dennoch intensives und alles andere als humorloses Interplay gehören zum unauweichlichen Resultat der Koch-Badrutt-Koproduktion.“ Felix / freistil