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Half Dead
Half Alive
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JOKE LANZ & UTE WASSERMANN Half Dead Half Alive (Live In Nickelsdorf)

CD album | gg325
Joke Lanz was born in Basel, Switzerland and is a well-know noise musician, performance artist and turntablist. He is also founding member and singer in the art rock group Sudden Infant, a meber of the legendary Schimpfluch group (alongside Rudolf Eb.er, Dave Phillips, Marc Zeier and Daniel Löwenbrück) and performs in many duos and and other forms in the improvisation scene. He also writes music for theatre and film, radio, installations and objects. Ute Wassermann is a German vocalist, composer and sound artist. She studied fine arts focusing on sound installations and performance at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg. Wassermann has developed her own unique vocal techniques. She explores them in different forms such as voice performances, compositions, improvisations and installations. The human voice is extended in many different ways in her work and often plays with all kinds of other sound connotations. This also results in an extensive use of bird whistles, different kinds of resonating objects and prepared loudspeakers. Lanz and Wassermann have been working as a duo for some time, and in 2019 they performed an excellent concert at Nickelsdorf jazz festival. This CD is a recording of that show. Full tracklist: 1. Half Dead. 2. Half Alive. Price: € 18,-/copy incl. worldwide shipping.

...The pretenders literally vanish in front of the authentic specialists of hyper-pliable glottis. Researchers of the stature of Phil Minton and, in this particular case, Ute Wassermann. Artists who spent a lifetime discovering new methods to draw out the wonders hidden inside their oral cavities, emphasizing the imaginative features to the point of making what our ears perceive as staggering appear normal (but still not too natural). Of course appropriate partners are needed to enhance an extreme range of human expressivity. Joke Lanz, a turntablist of outstanding responsiveness and sensitivity, is well suited for Wassermanns freakishly demanding, utterly sublime interpretations. This set, recorded in 2019, comprehensively substantiates the axiom according to which a genuine voice experimenter and a smart instrumentalist can engender a hybrid language where the number of messages, tweets (pun intended, given Wassermann’s passion for bird calls) and stimuli received by the brain is humanly incalculable.
(Touching Extremes, February 2021)

La voix d Ute Wasserman a une capacité surréelle de transformer son organe vocal comme celui d un volatile – oiseau rare avec une articulation extraordinaire, ses bruitages vocaux étant travaillés au millimètre près, utilisant les ressources de l aspiration de l air dans la gorge comme si c’était un instrument accordé par Harry Partch lui-même. Un phénomène de la voix humaine distillant phonèmes sibyllins, aigus fluctuants qui se dilatent dangereusement, secousses de gloussements improbables, effets de glotte démultipliés, croassements d échassiers ou de hiboux, hululements. Elle a un côté organisé, presque prémédité et pourtant, il est évident qu elle travaille à l instinct et dans la magie de l instant, aimant se surprendre.
(Orynx, March 2021)

Sobald er scratchig zu zucken beginnt und dabei Akkordeonfitzel mitreißt, dreht sie stupende Pirouetten, hexenhaft grunzend und keuchend, aber zugleich girrend und miauend als Alien Diva. Lanz maultrommelt, hupt, knarrt, lässt Stimmen eiern, wetzt das Vinyl, sie zischelt, mimt Munks Schrei, sie mimi...mümmelt mit geschlossenen Lippen, anstoßender Zunge. Zu geschlürfter Spucke und irrwitzigen Vogellauten dreht Lanz einen Groove, er presst Posaunentöne, lässt Blasmusik hinken, entlockt dem Vinyl Babylaute, sie röchelt, überspannt die Stimmbänder, versucht sich an fischigem Nachtgesang als Unterwasserbeo, mutiert zur cholerischen Schamanin, die ihren Kautabak nicht finden kann.
(Bad Alchemy, March 2021)

Als in ständiger Bewegung befriffenes, treibsandartiges Fundament dienen hier eine Vielzahl von Sounds, die zum einen von Sudden Infant-Gründer Lanz von allerlei obskuren Platten eingespielt wurden, zum anderen von zweckentfremdeten und live zur Unkenntlichkeit verfremdeten Objekten aus Wassermanns Repertoire. Kleinteiliges Tremolieren bildet den Auftakt und wird mittels Scratchen gleich in eine schwindelerregende Berg- und Talfahrt verwandelt, Tango-Zitate mit vertrauten Akkordeonklängen tauchen aus einem Meer aus Soundfragmenten, einer musikgeschichtliche Halde und Wunderkammer, auf und rufen Lanz Kollaboration mit Jonas Kocher in Erinnerung. Das auf den ersten Eindruck ungeordnete Zusammenwerfen von Sounds ist ein Spiel ohne Grenzen, bei dem der Humor und der Schalk bisweilen an erster Stelle stehen.
(African Paper, March 2021)

Lanz and Wassermann are imaginative sound sculptors and on Half Dead Half Alive they offer a wild ride, often a manic and totally eccentric one, but a highly communicative and engaging one. The hyperactive, puzzling vocal gestures, free of any linguistic usage, and the fragmented, cartoonish sounds shift and reshape instantly, faster than the speed of sound itself, never attach themselves to any pattern, narrative or deep emotions for more than brief milliseconds. The unpredictable Lanz and Wassermann keep courting each other while busy deconstructing and twisting each others ideas in their very own subversive dance, as both are equipped with generous doses of irony and humor. Their sonic references encompass everything from exquisite operatic singing to refined Japanese royal court music.
(Free Jazz Blog, March 2021)

Lanz and Wassermann engage in a roiling cornucopia of fleeting horn samples, vinyl crackles and grating vocal fry. (...) The two play off each other in a mesmerizingly intricate call and response with Wassermanns voice, which elicits an often absurdist series of growls, grunts, gasps and screehes that eventually pair with the circus-like fanfare on the turntable.
(The Wire, April 2021)

The tracks show the pair to be well-suited, with improvising styles which complement one another and fit together like a jigsaw. Lanz turntable work calls to mind that of Christian Marclay, this being emphasised by the fact that both have independently recorded in duos with the New York-born vocalist Shelley Hirsch. At the turntable, Lanz thinks and reacts quickly, thus being able to create compatible environments for Wassermanns voice and sounds in real time, without any clunky jump cuts. As Wassermann herself thinks and reacts just as rapidly, the end result finds the two so in step with one another that neither seems to be leading the other. Perfect symbiosis.
(All About Jazz, April 2021)

Findet man sich zu Beginn an einen schrägen Cartoon erinnert, breiten die beiden Musiker-innen in der Folge eine gewaltige Mischung von Geräuschen, Klängen und Tönen auf, die sich zwischen Naturdoku, Piepsern, Oper, Atemgeräuschen, Gejodel und dadaistischen Silben- und Wortkaskaden bewegen. Fast eine elektronisch verfremdete Reise ins Innere des Respirationsapparats. (...) Phasenweise wird man an den frühen John Zorn erinnert.
(Freistil, July 2021)