THE WIRE 226 - 012/02


TAKTLOS-BERN 02: Final Night
Bern Dampfzentrale

(...Alvin Currant Filhamonia...)
By contrast, percussionist/composer Michael Wertmüller conformed to a more traditional model of the artist as autocrat when completeing his commission from taktlos. Performed by organ trio Steamboat Switzerland, Wertmüller's programme note flately states that none of it was improvised. Watching three high energy musicians stiffly conforming to his math score and complex counts, you could believe him. After ten minutes of three well oiled parts functioning perfectly in every way exept the coordinated motion necessary to moving the piece forward, a fourth figure catches your eye. in his smart suit, guest singer Eugene Robinson, from Oxbow, looks respectable enough, until you notice he's shuffling forward as if in a trance, eyes fixed in the middle distance. Berfore you can hear him, he is clearly and incessantly muttering under his breath. By the time he is properly in earshot, he's babbling and drooling gibberish, as his mouth foams up and his body is progressively wracked with violent shudders. Suddenly erupts, but without any release to lessen his body tension, exploding in a frenzied rage. After tearing and scattering the 60 page score anchoring him to the piece, he rips away his suit and grabs at his groin like he wants to rip his sex out of its root. jolted back on to a single group axis by the shock of Robinson's entrance, the trio repay him with a succession of swelling organ crescendos breaking over barrages of bass heavy riffs. With his visciously squeezed cock partexposed above the waistband of his pants, Robinson is as terrifyingly absent as a street crazy pushing through a crowd, oblivious to his selfexposure. His performance is all the more unnerving for the way his consciousness, unhinged by animal desire slithers between dementia and lucidity. For the straighter song parts Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins and a lascivious gospel man. But, like Antonin Artaud in his last radio performance, Robinson's freefalls through successive depths of abjection chum up rage and pain so real, they blowtorch the usual conventions separating audiance and performer.
Biba Kopf
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