Edition Telemark

V.A.: Kparr Dirè. Balafon Music from Lobi Country
Stefan Fricke & Alper Maral: Am Grabe (At the Grave)

PHREN: Duos auf präparierten Instrumenten / Duos on prepared instruments

catalog no. 903.05
LP  2019

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Edition Telemark proudly presents the first vinyl LP since 1989 by Munich's long-running ensemble for experimental music, PHREN, formed in 1968 by Michael Kopfermann.

Informed by the musical avant-garde at the time and especially the problems discussed by other improvisational groups, Kopfermann developed his own approach to improvisation and tone production and sought to find instruments and playing techniques that allowed him to realize what he had in mind. His thinking centered around the treatment of noise and the eschewal of a separation between noise and tone, as well as methods for overcoming the limitations of the pre-conceived tones of the tempered system. This ruled out quite a few instruments, and also electronic techniques available at the time were deemed to primitive for the tones he sought to produce. After initially experimenting with Turkish cymbals stimulated by cello bows, Kopfermann settled on a range of instruments that included traditional string instruments, e.g. viola and violoncello, and certain wind instruments like the flugelhorn and the helicon. All instruments were prepared, the string instruments with thicker gut strings and unusual tunings, the wind instruments with longer elbow pieces. The preparations, along with the development of new and uncommon playing techniques, allowed the players to create and improvise on previously unheard noisy tones that are not static and pre-conceived but substantially individual.

Over time, the number of musicians in the ensemble expanded up to six and the activities under the PHREN moniker became morefold, most notably with the formation of the PHREN theatre group led by Carmen Nagel-Berninger. Still, even during the sextet years, trios and duos of varying instruments were played, often called "analytical" because they were meant to focus individual voices against the background of the larger ensemble. From early on, PHREN published about their actitives in written form and on LPs and later CDs, mostly in their own PHREN-Verlag. This new LP thus compiles recent recordings from 2010 and 2018 of the duo of Carmen Nagel-Berninger (prepared viola) and Inge Salcher (prepared flugelhorn). The duos heard here are not so much meant as analytical studies, but rather as fully valid, improvisationally generated pieces, applying the musicians' long-term experience with their music in a way that doesn't sound reduced despite the small line-up.

Edition of 300 with printed inner sleeve and extensive liner notes on the history of the PHREN ensemble and its duo line-ups in German and English by Reinhard Kapp, Carmen Nagel-Berninger and Inge Salcher, as well as a detailed discography.

Side A
1. 10. November 2010
2. 10. November 2010
3. 2. Dezember 2010
Side B
1. 11. Dezember 2010
2. 24. August 2018
3. 24. August 2018