TTW#12 - Stefan Goldmann - Haven’t I Seen You Before
Edition #1: cassette only - limited edition of 250 copies
Edition #2: Artist's Edition. Cassette only – limited edition of 50 copies, alternate on-body: black cassette shell with gold print.
NOT FOR SALE
A1: The Eyes of Jesus Christ (Left Eye)
A4: Wastelands (Version A)
A5: Enclosures (Part 1)
B1: Enclosures (Part 2)
B2: Wastelands (Version B)
B5: The Eyes of Jesus Christ (Right Eye)
Written, performed and produced by Stefan Goldmann at The Resonance, Berlin, Germany. Press “REV” on your autoreverse deck at any time to enter the loop…
Illustration – grohs.
Stefan Goldmann is an artist based in Berlin. He runs the Macro label and holds a DJ residency at Panorama Bar. His work ranges from genre-bending techno hits (“Sleepy Hollow” / “Lunatic Fringe”) to electroacoustic concept albums (“Voices Of The Dead”) and a CD-length edit of Igor Stravinsky's “Le Sacre Du Printemps”.
Stefan Goldmann writes…
“Since I'm a less than mediocre guitar player, but a quite versatile editing engineer with a decade of experience of handling samplers and midi-sequencers, I could finally realize an old project which I can trace back to a lesson with my bass teacher in my teen days. He had found out a bass player with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra had recorded hours of improvisations and paid an engineer to cut it together into an enjoyable “jazz” album. The teacher, a profound jazz player himself, found this to be some sort of scam, while I was deeply impressed by the idea of merging hi-tech and improvisation. Finally I had a reason to play and record some guitar for this fine project and cut it to death afterwards (and I honestly hope no one will ever hear the source tapes - I'll have to make a note to erase the tapes tomorrow!).
“Haven't I seen you before” is a cycle of five pieces, with two versions each, so it can be listened to as a continuous performance, as well as looped recordings when employing the reverse function some cassette players have. The latter can be done at any point, since the parts on the A and B sides match. All material in this album has a guitar (amplified and microphoned simultaneously) as its only sound source. These initial recordings were cut into loops with durations ranging from a fraction of a second to more than a minute. They were arranged into compositions, adding reverb, stereo panorama and volume adjustments. Layering the loops creates polymetric structures, but I've tried to avoid the usual loop minimalism by the sheer number of looped segments which appear and disappear at distinctly different rates. Micro-loops vs macro-loops is the main structural feature of the music on this cassette, playing around with a key feature of the format (isn't it a shame creators tend to overlook there are different benefits to each format, be it vinyl, CD or cassette?).
Three recordings inspired this effort: John McLaughlin's 1970 “My Goal's Beyond” album, which offered a side of multitrack solo guitar improvisations (I believe this was the first jazz record to do this) as well as his unreleased guitar/voice album with his wife (“John and Eve McLaughlin”). McLaughlin was heavily under the influence of Guru Sri Chinmoy and both albums have this very unique dark drug/sect edge, adding an extremely intense quality to the modal guitar figures (well, probably also due to the Indian music he has been studying and merging with some impressionist composition techniques). I have tried to capture a bit of the mood and apply it to a loop based cut up orgy. Another crucial record to me has been Derek Bailey's “Ballads” - I've been astonished by the tidal movements in and out of the standards he's playing around with. So there is a harmonic base to my guitar mishandling, which is present throughout the entire album - moving in and out of it. I'd also like to note I applied an altered tuning to the guitar to achieve different natural harmonics than the ones one gets with the standard tuning - and not to give in to the temptation of cutting some blues licks.” – Stefan Goldmann, Berlin, 5 Nov 2009
Gonzo Circus (Belgium):
Het was een kort bericht op de website van Touchmusic: Philip Jeck brengt werk uit op het nieuwe cassettelabel The Tapeworm. Amper zes maanden later is er een kleine hype ontstaan rond The Tapeworm, niet in het minst omdat Stephen O'Malley, Simon Fisher Turner een release op het jonge label uitbrachten. Binnenkort brengt ook Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) oud plaatwerk (onder zijn vroege alter ego E-Man uit op het label. Ook de nieuwste release van Stefan Goldmann ‘Haven’t I Seen You Before’ mag een verrassing heten. Goldmann werd op korte termijn een household name in dancemiddens en wordt vaak de evenknie van Richardo Villalobos genoemd. Met ‘Sleepy Hollow’, ‘Le Sacre Du Printemps’ zijn bewerking van het klassieke meesterwerk van Igor Stravinsky, een residentie in de Panorama Bar en zijn eigen Macrolabel wist hij een prominente plaats op te eisen. Met ‘Haven’t I Seen You Before’ laat hij een onbekende kant van zichzelf horen. Goldmann bespeelt hier de akoestische gitaar en waagt zich aan een lange improvisatie. Uit deze sessie knipte hij vijf stukken die hij in cycli laat terugkomen. ‘Haven’t I Seen You Before’ is voor Goldmann een idee dat al lang rijpte, een jongensdroom die waarheid wordt, maar misschien vooral een moedige stap in een ongekende richting. Liefhebbers van het werk van Derek Bailey en fingerpicking vinden hier een mooie, integere en uitzonderlijke plaat.
The one thing about The Tapeworm label, is that while you never know exactly what you're gonna get, you do know more than likely it's definitely something you want to hear, whether you realized it or not. One of two new tapes from The Tapeworm this time out, this one from Berlin electronic producer Stefan Goldmann, who also runs the Macro Recordings label, but don't be expecting any sort of beats or techno here, instead, it's a gorgeously dark record of solo guitar. Goldmann describes himself as a mediocre guitarist, but a versatile engineer, so for his Tapeworm contribution, he recorded a whole bunch of little guitar bits, softly struck harmonics, simply strummed chords, pizzicato notes, plenty of clicks and scrapes, even his barely audible breathing as he hunched over the guitar, and cut and chopped and spliced and diced the various elements into 5 tracks, two different versions. The result though is not some sort of rapidfire plunderphonic workout, instead, it's delicate, and sublime, lots of space and subtle melody, warm little chordal tangles drift over softly shimmering expanses of space, strange plucks and thumps are built into barely there rhythms, one track does coalesce into something almost propulsive, but somehow remains minimal and abstract, even what sound like mistakes, mis-hits, muted notes, get reworked into the slow shifting anti-folk, free jazz dark drift tapestry Goldmann creates. Each side contains the same program, but different versions, so using the reverse function on your tape deck, you can further loop and tangle and reassemble the original tracks into different arrangements. So cool.
Having previously distinguished himself on labels like Perlon, Mule, Cocoon and his own Macro imprint, renowned techno artist Stefan Goldmann makes a surprise shift towards abstract home-listening fare on cult cassette label Tapeworm, releasing an album that's available in a tiny, limited edition run of just 250 copies. Picking up his guitar, Goldmann's project offers two different versions of a five-part cycle, made from cut-ups of solo guitar recordings that have been fashioned into what he terms “polymeric structures” made up by a discourse of “micro-loops vs. macro-loops”. When Goldmann himself has spoken about these compositions he's been quick to self-deprecate as far as his credentials as a guitarist go, yet he's amply qualified to approach the music from a slightly different angle: as a renowned electronic producer, Goldmann cleverly constructs Haven't I Seen you Before during the editing process, joining snippets of natural harmonics, chord strums and even what would ordinarily be regarded as recording detritus like exhalation noises and fret buzz. You can hear the electronic intervention, yet despite all that, Derek Bailey is the first name to spring to mind upon hearing the end product of Goldmann's craft. The great British improvisor's influence can be heard all over this record, particularly during Goldmann's very pysical attacking of the strings, his inclinations towards sudden dynamic shifts and his fondness for those aforementioned natural harmonics. The end result of the producer's work is a very unusual, if not entirely unique record: Stefan Goldmann has set about harnessing the energy and spontaneity of a great, organic improv record via elaborate, painstaking editing. More bizarre still is that he's actually pulled it off. Excellent.
The Wire (UK):
It takes a certain wayward determination to run a cassette-only label in the 21st century, eschewing the ubiquitous ease of CD-Rs in favour of the clunky plastic artefact. Since 2008 [2009 - ed.], The Tapeworm has been justifying that effort with a series of releases that make explicit use of the benefits and limitations of the format, and each of the disparate works that make up this latest batch highlights, in its own way, the enduring peculiarities of magnetic tape.
Berlin's Stefan Goldmann uses multiple tape loops to transform source recordings of acoustic guitar into a delicate collage of throbbing harmonics and minimal strumming - minutely arranged and precisely orchestrated into a haunting suite that allows tape players with a 'reverse' function to play it as a continuously looped performance. It's the most immediate proof from among these four releases that - far from merely indulging in a retro fetish - The Tapeworm is providing a platform for artists to continue finding ways to make tape new.
Daring and unexpected, […] Haven’t I Seen You Before is culled entirely from guitar improvisations. By his own admission, Goldmann is not a particularly skilled guitarist. However, he was inspired to attempt a guitar album long ago when he heard a story about a bass player from the Berlin Philharmonic that paid an engineer to edit hours of aimless improv into a coherent jazz album. Relying on his own studio wizardry, Stefan finally got an opportunity to attempt a similar feat, cutting and looping his own noodlings into a very meditative and likable suite of avant-garde guitar sketches.
Stefan Goldmann is the latest guest on the Tapeworm's cassette only label - previous cast has included Philip Jeck, Biosphere, and Stephen O'Malley from Sunn O))). Goldmann's guitar is the only sound source here, cut into loops of various durations, overlapped and sequenced. In proof that tapes are not merely cool ornaments or glamorized for the sake of nostalgia, Goldmann utilizes the full and unique potential of the format, such as encouraging the listener to use their auto-reverse function to flip between alternate versions of the take. Creative and fun!