Reviews by Massimo Ricci

The A23H chronicle


ALFRED HARTH - Pollock (Orkestrion Schallfolien)

"Pollock" derives from a particular moment in Alfred Harth's artistic life. Between the end of the 80s and the first half of the 90s, he was a semi-constant presence in Paris, trying to get engaged with the local avant scene (he also played with the Christian Vander Trio in an unpleasing occasion: he was in fact assaulted by a Magma fan on the stage, luckily without physical consequence). Although both Cassiber and Goebbels & Harth had been very well received in the past by the French audiences, 23 was finding some difficulty to penetrate a "fraternity" that seemed hermetically sealed, at least for certain kinds of musical personalities. He decided then to take it easy and dedicate himself to his own activities and personal life, which resulted in the "Sweet Paris" CD (which will be reviewed next month). Just before he left - we're talking 1995 - Harth got in touch with several smarter local guys like Steve Arguilles and Noel Akchote and, above all, with Corin Curschellas, who introduced him to Frank Holger Rothkamm, a "fresh and brilliant remixer in NYC" at that time. Meanwhile a guy named Ben Oofana, a healer and great admirer of Harth's work, had financed him with 2000 US dollars, which were reinvested in the creation of "Pollock". The circle was finally closed. Harth, Rothkamm, Elliott Sharp and Tomas Peter Fey are the hands and brains that remodeled the music of nine then out of print LPs by the boss, transforming a remix project in something quite different. The thirteen tracks are indeed mysterious, spreading unquietly and frantically self-decomposing in completely different ways. Extremely musical beguiling loops are the main ingredient, especially during some charming, literally spell-binding sections (one of them is the splendid "Eatronic" which closes the CD) but there's also a distinct resemblance to Muslimgauze's music in a couple of pieces featuring Rothkamm, and a great mixture of schizoid jazz and disjointed minimalism in Fey & Harth's "Stereodyn" (all track names are invented). Elsewhere, musique concrete and cyberpunk - yes, Elliott Sharp makes himself heard - go hand in hand with extreme ease, and there are instances in which slowed down voices actually sound like whale songs. In a way, "Pollock" created a genre, maybe more than one, preceding of many years less valuable imitations; yet it went practically forgotten in 1996, year of its release. In this case it's not too late to remedy.

In Touching Extremes