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Heribert Friedl

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  • As one of the men behind Vienna’s superb Non Visual Objects label, you’ll understand exactly how high the quality of this work from Heribert Friedl is. Forming the final work in an ongoing series (including Trans~ with Bernhard Gunter and the solo Back_Forward – both on NVO) using a cymbalon as source material. It’s a measure of the high regard that Heribert quite rightly receives that this work should be released on such a high profile label and the music / sound on offer is a reflection of that. An exploration of the sound, texture and relationship between the artist and the instrument, you’ll find it challenging, interesting and cohesive all at the same time. Largely composed of short tracks, each with a different, yet themed, take on the sound of the instrument it uses processing and untreated techniques to convey a real sense of the adventure and learning process that Heribert clearly seeks to convey to us. As such there’s a string sense of the experimental, but also narrative, albeit a likeably off-kilter one. One of LINE’s more conceptual works of recent times and yet one that you’ll get a lot out of if you put a little time into it. High quality contemporary experimentalism from this superb label.
    (Smallfish, UK)

  • In addition to running the Nonvisual Objects label, sound artist and lowercase electroacoustics composer Heribert Friedl has released a series of studies into the sonic timbral potential of the cymbalon as a sound source. Friedl has worked in collaboration with composers as formidable as Bernhard Gunter, whose meticulous genre-defining minimalism clearly serves as inspiration on this excellent disc. Friedl’s working process incorporates a variety of different methodologies, nurturing a great breadth of material from this apparently limited source. Working both as an instrumental performer and as a digital artist Friedl carefully sculpts delicate metallic textures, coaxing beautiful sonorous tones from his instrument. The fact that he’s been able to forge such a consistently engrossing back-catalogue of material from the cymbalon pays testament to Friedl’s skill as a composer, and this album shows no break from that form. From the electronic displacement of ‘0.1’ to the comparatively raw performance of ‘0.2.1’ there’s a disciplined sense of exploration that maintains a dignified low volume throughout. ‘0.3.1’ is especially conspicuous in this regard: it’s a piece that’s all about texture and the smallest, silence-rupturing gestures yielding the greatest results. Beautiful, expertly crafted modern minimalism.
    (Boomkat, UK)

  • …upon hearing this work a couple of times, there is some interesting things to be noted. One of them is that it seems to be more or less a live album of sorts. Perhaps I am entirely wrong, but I mean that much of the pieces sound a bit improvised, while it feeds through various stages of computer processing. Delay, reverb are perhaps common places, but there is a sine wave undercurrent to be noted in this music, which makes this somewhat more irregular in the micro-field, although he never leaves the field entirely. At times a bit more loud, more angular and less ‘flowing’ than his contemporary friends, this is quite a nice release, but one that gives away it’s own character after a few rounds of intense listening.
    (Vital Weekly, NL)

  • Final work in a five-part series of works, Austrian multi-disciplinary artist Heribert Friedl arrives at the finish line with “Trac[k]_T”. As before, Friedl’s exploration of the cymbalon is the main preoccupation on this release. The composer states on the back-cover of the CD, “I feel that trac[k]_t should convey the scope of using an instrument without losing both its intrinsic nature of engagement as well as the sound of how it is played. Being a conceptual work, rather than a kind of “tract”, the process of this recording has become a kind of instruction for myself to understand not only my work with this instrument in of itself but also its communion with digital processes.” Sure enough, the sounds of the cymbalon are impeccably recorded. Each single click, pop and clunk is heard magnified by a thousand. Distinctive, mostly indescribable sounds are the bread and butter of this CD. There is no destination, just the journey. Wonderfully thought out and realized with utter perfection, the series that Friedl started a few years back makes a bang of a finale.
    (Gaz-Eta, Poland)

  • Towards markedly different ends, Heribert Friedl uses a cymbalan as his chief source material for this work on Line. A clearly connected series of short tracks capture an assortment of textures and relationships towards the instrument. One constant is the skewed percussion, which often manages to fizz with static energy. In places, the energy of the whirrings and scufflings is compressed such that the intensity builds to some proportion. Mostly, though, Friedl opts to sensitively flesh out the main – and sometimes marginal – tonal themes of the cymbalan. The pieces often come in a cold film of sonic sheen and anxiety, but rather than work on these levels, Friedl creates a conceptully enticing recording in which the proximity, rather than the distance, of the material fosters some dimension-stretching motions.
    (e/i Magazine, US)

  • Not surprisingly, given the singular sound source and the label on which the recording’s released, the results are intimate, explorative, and extremely focused on fine sonic detail—not only the instrument’s natural sound but processed treatments of it too. In fact, so rich and varied are the sounds coaxed from the cymbalon that the recording’s singular instrument status is a non-issue—the kind of recording, in other words, where each carefully considered sound assumes heightened significance. The natural and amplified ping, pluck, and strum of the instrument is heard alongside ripples, rattles, scratches, static, and assorted other textural microsounds. Friedl purposefully ensures that the natural sound generated by the instrument when played is present in equal measure to abstract transformations that reveal how completely that natural sound can be altered using digital techniques. Metallic chimes shiver and flutter throughout “0.1.3” while starbursts explode over an urgent rhythm base in “0.2.1” in a manner that suggests a Raster-Noton connection but, generally speaking, trac[k]_t is free of such direct associations and instead stands alone as an engrossing record of Friedl’s intensive exploration of an instrument’s possibilities.

  • … Trac[k]_t es el último trabajo de una serie de discos en que se utiliza como fuente de sonidos al címbalo. Friedl lo concibe como “una discusión entre el instrumento y el mismo”. Él es quien lo ejecuta, a la vez que posteriormente el resultado de esas grabaciones las procesa digitalmente. Difícilmente podrán encontrar acá melodías o ritmos, pues no es esa la intención. Sorprende la cantidad de sonidos que extrae de tan solo un instrumento, del címbalo (aunque si no nos lo dijera, podríamos fácilmente creer que son generados por computador), y que solo con ellos pueda crear un álbum entero y además que este capte la atención, pese a mis prejuicios iniciales.

    Los distintos temas que integran Trac[k]_t no andan muy lejos del minimalismo “clásico”, sobre todo se viene a la memoria el norteamericano Steve Reich, aunque también se acerca a los minimalistas “modernos”, tales como Carsten Nicolai. Es, en definitiva, música experimental y exploratoria que pone el énfasis en aquellos pequeños eventos casi imperceptibles y minúsculos, a los cuales normalmente no dirigimos los oídos, y que los traslada de su mundo habitual, cercano al del silencio, al nuestro, generalmente mas cercano al ruido.