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Radu Malfatti

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_duif

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Post Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:01 am

Radu Malfatti

anyone heard these? any opinions? thanks!
from erstdist:

Radu Malfatti-Hoffingerquartett (B-Boim Records) (CDr) ($14)

Radu Malfatti-Tokyo Sextet (2005) Electronic Version (realized by Taku Unami) (Slub) ($14)

Radu Malfatti-Zeitschatten (B-Boim Records) (CDr) ($14)
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Richard Pinnell

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Post Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:08 am

Yeah I have all three.

Malfatti's music has become something of an obsession for me personally over recent months. These three discs are all very similar in conception and execution, very austere almost architectural constructions of very simple means, single lines of sound, generated either acoustically or by computer or a combination of both interspersed with long silences.

One of the things that interests me about his work and these pieces in particular is the dedication to a very precise, focussed area of composition. There is an unswervingly serious, intense brain at work here drilling down into one area that interests him and interests me also, though I am still trying to come to terms with what it is I like about the music. It is something to do with the level of focus and attentive listening required to get anything from it for me I think, but I have always had a soft spot for the extended use of silence in music anyway.

One question that these three discs invevitably asks is why we need all three of them, when they inhabit a very similar soundworld and structure. This question is made even more interesting when you read the notes on the sleeve of Radu's 2006 disc with Mattin in which he is quoted several times regarding his dislike for stagnation in music.

Anyway, if you are big Malfatti fan then get them all, if you are interested to hear his recent work get one of them (I recommend Zeitschatten personally) and if my above description does little for you then don't bother at all!
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user_1082

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Post Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:57 pm

Like Richard, I am very interesed in Malfatti, having developed a considerable collection of recordings and musical scores over the past year. I have the first two discs on the list and prefer the Hoffingerquartett, though it definitely reminds me of his Das profil des schweigens (Edition Wandelweiser) from 1996 (should I be concerned about stagnation?). Although I am perhaps more obsessed right now with Taku Unami, I did not care for his electronic realization, but maybe I should give it another listen.
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Richard Pinnell

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Post Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:10 pm

Hmm, comparing recent Malfatti works is always a somewhat subjective exercise, as they are as alike or unalike each other as your knowledge of his work allows really.

I'm not sure I would say Hoffingerquartett is that close to Das profil des schweigens to be honest, but there you go. That Wandelweiser string quartet though is amongst my favorite Malfatti works ever though.

I'm interested to hear about the scores, are they worth owning as a non-musician?
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user_1082

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Post Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:04 pm

Richard Pinnell wrote:That Wandelweiser string quartet though is amongst my favorite Malfatti works ever though.

I'm interested to hear about the scores, are they worth owning as a non-musician?


The quartet is a favorite of mine as well! The problem I encountered with the scores was translating the German to English, though I don't know if this is a problem for you. The scores are interesting; many contain no traditional "musical" information and it seems the primary visual focus of the most recent scores is that of structuring sound events.

By the way, Richard, many thanks for the Audition Keith Rowe interview (as well as your fine blog).
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_duif

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Post Tue Jan 02, 2007 12:53 pm

thanks for your thoughts, I may just go ahead and order all 3 from Erstwhile next week or so. I totally love his duos (especially Going Fragile) with Mattin, so I feel compelled to check out more. one copy of Raku Sugifatti 'Futatsu' is already put aside for me :)
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Richard Pinnell

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Post Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:31 pm

duif wrote:one copy of Raku Sugifatti 'Futatsu' is already put aside for me :)


Ah good, I am interested to hear which of the two discs in that set you prefer... its an old argument! :)
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user_1268

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:25 am

Where can I find his scores?
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_duif

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:52 am

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_duif

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:29 am

damn, I was already too late for Hoffingerquartett. no mention of it on the web either, like *anywhere*. where do these come from?
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jon abbey

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:38 am

they come from Radu directly, more are en route. in fact, if Chris understood Radu correctly last time around, there are another 3-4 new titles in this new batch also, I'll let people know here once they show up.
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_duif

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:38 am

cool, thanks for the info, I'll keep an eye out for those. already ordered 'Temperatur' elsewhere (IMJ) as well!
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fearandpanic

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:02 am

Like Richard, I am very interesed in Malfatti, having developed a considerable collection of recordings and musical scores over the past year.

How much interest, if any, do admirers of Malfatti's current mode have in his earlier music? I'm thinking particularly of the Ogun Records period and other mid to late 70s groups and duos (with Harry Miller, Stephan Wittwer, etc). These aren't so easily available, maybe, so that's possibly why they're rarely mentioned, but they throw his current style in an interesting light.

I like his Wandelweiser string quartet, but most of the other stuff associated with that group that I've heard strikes me as amazingly humourless, over-conceptual and sterile musically. Malfatti's own music doesn't seem at all like that to me, for the most part, though I think it depends on how you approach it.
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jon abbey

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:15 am

fearandpanic wrote:How much interest, if any, do admirers of Malfatti's current mode have in his earlier music?


speaking just for myself, pretty much none.

I like his Wandelweiser string quaret, but most of the other stuff associated with that group that I've heard strikes me as amazingly humourless, over-conceptual and sterile musically. Malfatti's own music doesn't seem at all like that to me, for the most part, though I think it depends on how you approach it.


I'm not crazy about most of his recent composed music, but his improvised work can be amazing at times. his set with Klaus Filip the night after ErstQuake ended this fall was simply stunning, as was reported here by more than a few people. there are only a handful of musicians he'll improvise with these days, Klaus, Sugimoto, Unami, Mattin, that might be it...
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Richard Pinnell

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:55 am

fearandpanic wrote:How much interest, if any, do admirers of Malfatti's current mode have in his earlier music? I'm thinking particularly of the Ogun Records period and other mid to late 70s groups and duos (with Harry Miller, Stephan Wittwer, etc). These aren't so easily available, maybe, so that's possibly why they're rarely mentioned, but they throw his current style in an interesting light.


Indeed they do, and the style of that earlier music very much informed his move to where he is these days. His well known quote about wanting to remove the "gabbiness" from improvised music related as much to his own earlier work as anyone else's.

I'm not that familiar with his work with Miller or Wittwer, but the descriptions I read of it don't really lead me into investigating it merely as it doesn't sound my cup of tea. The earliest live experiences I have of Malfatti are of the first incarnation of Polwechsel.

fearandpanic wrote:I like his Wandelweiser srting quaret, but most of the other stuff associated with that group that I've heard strikes me as amazingly humourless, over-conceptual and sterile musically. Malfatti's own music doesn't seem at all like that to me, for the most part, though I think it depends on how you approach it.


In his 2006 interview with Dan over at ParisTransatlantic last year Antoine Beuger of the Wandelweiser collective happilly admitted to being very serious and intense about what they do, so your description of the music as humourless is about right Fear.
Its also quite often (though not always) highly conceptual work, and the area they work in stretches the realms of what is generally considered to be 'musical' so if that kind of things isn't your piece of cake then I imagine it will not be your thing.

Malfatti's work on the recent discs that document his composition fit with the above Wandelweiser aesthetic completely to me, its very cold, emotionless music, but then his improvised music recently less so.
In New York last year his mostly composed performance with Mattin was a very stark austere affair... but a few nights later in Brooklyn in an improv set with Klaus Filip he seemed far more relaxed, smiling, striking poses on an old armchair etc...
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Richard Pinnell

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:57 am

Sorry posted that before reading what Jon had posted, but I think we concur.
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user_3482

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:00 pm

The 2 records Radu did with Stephen Wittwer(UND? Thrumblin') are fantastic!!! i like some of his work from the past 10 years quite a bit but these 2 records are by far my favorite of either musician.
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bryan

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:10 pm

Richard Pinnell wrote:One question that these three discs invevitably asks is why we need all three of them, when they inhabit a very similar soundworld and structure. This question is made even more interesting when you read the notes on the sleeve of Radu's 2006 disc with Mattin in which he is quoted several times regarding his dislike for stagnation in music.


I'm really curious how Radu sees the "progression" in his own music. Maybe it's moving, but at a glacial pace that only he can see. WHo knows?

I'm actually curious to hear more, but as you pointed out, Richard - how much of this do you really need? The same type of thing said in a Wire review (from last year?).

I've got Futatsu, Dach and Going Fragile.. out of these the first disc of Futatsu I really think is the most excellent, but I don't know how much more I need of that type of thing. I do like the latter 2 discs a good deal as well.. and of course the EQ3 performance was great..

For, um... "variety" in his recent music, which releases should one go for?
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jon abbey

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:10 pm

SeventhHarmonic wrote:I've got Futatsu, Dach and Going Fragile.. out of these the first disc of Futatsu I really think is the most excellent, but I don't know how much more I need of that type of thing. I do like the latter 2 discs a good deal as well.. and of course the EQ3 performance was great..

For, um... "variety" in his recent music, which releases should one go for?


unless I'm forgetting something, those are almost the only ones I'd fully recommend, along with the first Mattin duo (which I prefer to Going Fragile, although maybe just because it was first).

it's interesting to note that while most of his work is either superminimal free improv or performances of very strict compositions, that I think the single best document of his superminimalism period has been the first disc of Futatsu, which he put together in postproduction. it shows you how difficult his approach is to fully pull off in real time, balancing the sounds and the silences.
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Richard Pinnell

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Post Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:02 pm

SeventhHarmonic wrote:I'm really curious how Radu sees the "progression" in his own music. Maybe it's moving, but at a glacial pace that only he can see. WHo knows?


Well there is definitely progression. Even with the recent composed pieces they are all different in their own way, just not dramatically. I personally enjoy his music a great deal and find the slow but remarkably focussed direction he is following to be very interesting.

SeventhHarmonic wrote:I'm actually curious to hear more, but as you pointed out, Richard - how much of this do you really need? The same type of thing said in a Wire review (from last year?).


Well need is probaby the wrong word for us to be using. Personally I enjoy listening to new Malfatti and so far his music intrigues and interests me enough to keep listening. I guess thats a personal choice we all make.

SeventhHarmonic wrote:I've got Futatsu, Dach and Going Fragile.. out of these the first disc of Futatsu I really think is the most excellent, but I don't know how much more I need of that type of thing.


So there you go, thats the decision you have to make. When the music bores you, don't listen to it any more! Not difficult...!

SeventhHarmonic wrote:For, um... "variety" in his recent music, which releases should one go for?


Well you have most of the key releases from recent years. the only other disc he has been involved with that is significantly different is the Building Excess disc on Grob, a quartet with Mattin, Klaus Filip and Dean Roberts that I like quite a bit.
If you want to give the composed works a go then I can't recommend die temperatur der bedeutung enough.
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