The good, the bad and the way out: A new, provocative take on the visions and sounds of Western from zeitkratzer.
The wild west dream of freedom and independence, the wilderness, is always appealing. From the frontier explorations of John Ford, Fritz Lang and Samuel Fuller to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, Western movies gifted the cinema a whole new visual and musical language. Ennio Morricone’s legendary soundtracks integrated avantgarde music with sound effects that spoke more powerfully than the dialogue. Abkratzen deals with this musical wealth and appropriates the material to bring it to life in a new form.
With ABKRATZEN the pan-European zeitkratzer ensemble approaches the Western genre on its own anarchistic terms, suggesting that the ‘wild west’ is a fiction that can be constructed anywhere on the planet. zeitkratzer will work with suspense sounds à la Morricone and appropriate cowboy songs collected by Alan Lomax and confront it with film clips made in the Norwegian mountains – visual dreamscapes between documentary and scenes from imaginary cowboy movies.
zeitkratzer’s performance, accompanied by actor Maximilian Brauer, confronts video ensemble pieces with inverted songs from native American and cowboy songbooks, and ritual dances. Microtonal saloon music on out-of-tune instruments, squeaking swinging doors, gunshots, funeral bells, raindrops on hat brims, tense drones, harmonica choirs, kitschy cowboy songs, the rustling of leaves at the final shoot-out and beautiful images of the Norwegian landscape: all of these and more are stirred into zeitkratzer’s sonic stew.
ABKRATZEN is the latest in the pan-European ensemble’s acclaimed reinventions of contemporary music, from Xenakis, Stockhausen and John Cage to Keiji Haino, Lou Reed and Terre Thaemlitz.