Helmut Schafer

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Noise As A Language (2009) , 7.5/10

Austrian composer Helmut Schafer (Austria, 1969), debuted on a collaboration with Zbigniew Karkowski, Disruptor (OR, 1998). His two recorded sound sculptures, Environment Soundscapes (Alienation, 2000), containing Under (30:03) and Turning In (30:03), and Isolated Irritation (Post-Concrete, 2002), documenting a live 2001 performance, were expressionist nightmares of digital and electronic processing. He also recorded Transformed View (Alienation, 2002), a collaboration with Karl Jensac, and two more collaborations with Zbigniew Karkowski, Bisskraft (2007) and Eminent Risk Factor (2008).

Helmut Schafer committed suicide in 2007.

Noise As A Language (Kwanyin, 2009), his swan song, contains two pieces. Thought Provoking is the stream of consciousness of a mind that has been profoundly affected by the dysfunctional post-industrial society. The sounds are neither aggressive nor chaotic. They follow a quiet but determined logic. The flow remains very close to an emotional center of mass, and rarely exceed in either noise or silence. Towards the end the music is stretched to the limit in one long drone. A sort of romantic violin sonata skates over the thick ominous drone, but cannot sustain the melody and ends up sounding more like a buzzing bug. The second piece, Unreleased 12.05, is a more theatrical work that opens in a dramatic galactic landscape, reminiscent of Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht, and repeatedly flirts with both silence and extreme noise. A sense of suspense and imminent death permeates the sonic apocalypse and does not let go. Eventually a colossal maelstrom devours the whole thing and leaves behind only a booming pulsation.

Helmut Schafer's posthumous Thought Provoking III (23Five, 2012) documents a work for organ pipes, percussion, violin and electronics originally premiered in his home town of Graz (Austria) in 2003.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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