Der schlaue fuchs


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The collaboration between Chris Heenan and Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga started about a year ago as they were going to perform together for the last day of a photography event in Berlin. The event was supposed to take place in a swimming pool and did not take place after all but the two musicians continued to play together and after a short while they performed as a trio, with the addition of Ferran Fages (with whom Dimitra performs as a duo as Ap’strophe), for two consecutive nights at Sowieso, in Berlin. From the sessions between the two musicians at that period surfaced the 17 minute long improvised “der schlaue Fuchs” that we are very happy to present you via the more mars team’s nous series. In this recording session Chris plays the contrabass clarinet using extended techniques, often incorporating multiphonics with surprising results. Dimitra experiments with the zither extending its sonic possibilities by preparing its strings making use of various objects detached from their usual usage, as well as of electronic media as the e-bow.

Composer Chris Heenan
Chris Heenan

Chris Heenan (Washington D.C., 1969) lives in Berlin is an active composer/performer and organizer of experimental music. He performs on alto saxophone, contrabass clarinet and analog synthesizer in contexts ranging from solo to large groups and in various ongoing projects. Also he is founder of REIFY record label.

Zither composer dimitra lazaridou-chatzigoga
Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga

Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga (Thessaloniki, Greece 1981) is currently based in London. She is active in the field of experimental, electro-acoustic and improvised music. She plays the zither, an old folk instrument, trying to remap its territory, by making use of various objects detached from their usual usage, as well as of electronic media such as the e-bow. She is particularly interested in the co-articulation of acoustic and electronic sounds on the resonance box of an instrument. She has recently played with Lucio Capece, Angharad Davies, Axel Dörner, Anastasis Grivas, Ferran Fages, Franz Hautzinger, Robin Hayward, Chris Heenan, Grundik Kasyansky, Tisha Mukarji, Ivan Palacký, Henrik Olsson and Olivier Toulemonde among others.

This is a limited edition cdr of 120 copies. Full color envelopes with hand-drawn cd-rs.
Tonight after work I rushed back to Didcot and attended a stand-up comedy show by Richard Herring at the local arts centre, which was quite enjoyable, but somewhat exhausting. So this evening since getting home I have been winding down, barely moving and have listened four times through to a little 3″ CRr release on the Greek More Mars label named Der Schlaue Fuchs (The Sly Fox) by the duo of Chris Heenan (contrabass clarinet) and Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga (zither). The disc contains just seventeen minutes of improvisation selected from recordings made by the duo in Berlin during May 2011. Now I love 3″ discs, as they present us with tight little statements that don’t have long to make an impact, and can then be listened to with a degree of focus that perhaps cannot be applied the same to longer discs. The music here then is a nice little example of how this can work, a fleeting, but solid piece of music that stays around just about long enough to portray something of the character of the two musicians, indeed making us want to hear more, but also existing just as a tight little vignette able to stand alone.

I wasn’t completely sold on Lazaridou-Chatzigoga’s debut solo album last year, hearing it more as a collection of interesting and nicely played sounds rather than as engaging music, but having seen her improvise live a couple of times since then, once in a trio and once solo, I have been very impressed by her ability to react in the moment and improvise in a way I didn’t quite feel present on that CD. Here on this 3″ then I am very pleased to say that the music flows very well indeed. I don’t really know Chris Heenan’s music before this release very well, though I think there has been plenty of it. His use of the bass clarinet as a resonating vessel full of more potential than is usually applied to that particular instrument is very pleasing. He produces deep, vibrating roars and blasts that in places sound nothing like a clarinet but carry such weight and presence that they seem to rattle and shudder around your head. Lazaridou-Chatzigoga works mostly with extended sounds, generally created by vibrating her zither’s strings with eBows, and then applying various objects, many of them metal to the shimmering strings. So as she creates thick, heavy sine-like tones that are interrupted by clattering and buzzing sounds, Heenan blasts his brittle attacks around them, so creating a music that is dense and continuous, but gradually builds in intensity and volume at around the thirteen minute mark before just as slowly dismantling itself again in just as gradual a manner. The music isn’t ever really what you could call a drone, as so much come sand goes and shifts back and forth throughout, but there is a thickness and sense of continuity throughout that leans that way. The real pleasure with this piece is listening down through its various layers and picking out the various small events resonating within the greater whole and how they all work together for the greater good. This is a nice little disc then of some nicely played, grittily attractive music, all wrapped up in a nicely designed, well put together little package. Well worth your attention. [Richard Pinnell]
The duo performs on contrabass clarinet and prepared zither respectively. They have been playing together for about two years now, and the conjugations of engrossing sounds they’re able to produce is certainly noteworthy, if not exactly trailblazing. Over less than 17 minutes, we’re treated to a parallel flow of droning irregularities and zinging industriousness: the clarinet burbles and growls, the zither (which gets eBowed to elicit lengthy pitches) pierces and jangles – both rather menacingly, with rare exceptions. Without sounding overly inhumane, the ensuing music is nevertheless quite astringent, not leaving opportunities for hypotheses of indulgence or excesses of rumination. It fills the room with quivering piquancy, occasionally eliciting symptoms of unhealthy resonance, unassumingly efficient and graphically intelligent without frauds of any sort. [Massimo Ricci]
Duo instrumental cette fois-ci avec Chris Heenan à la clarinette contrebasse et Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga à la cithare préparée. Dans la mesure où le support est un mini CD-R, cette pièce n’est pas très longue encore (quinze minutes), mais étant unique, le développement est nettement plus conséquent… Une très belle collaboration et une puissante interaction entre cordes et vents: superposition de longues notes extirpées des registres extrêmes et souvent multiphoniques à la clarinette, par-dessus un bourdon magique et ininterrompu à la cithare. D’autres éléments surgissent parfois de la cithare par-dessus l’imperturbable bourdon, des éléments sonores souvent inouïs dus à une préparation savante et un choix d’objets ingénieux pour une utilisation étendue et hors du commun de cet instrument rare. De son côté, le son de Chris Heenan est souvent caverneux, primitif et extrêmement puissant, une sorte de cri originaire puisé dans les émotions les plus profondément enfouies du musicien, ou dans l’inconscient de l’espèce humaine.

Un duo exceptionnel qui nous ramène aux fondements de la musique, aux origines de l’espèce, avec ce cri primal accompagné d’un bourdon chamanique. Très belle pièce extrêmement puissante et intense, une musique saisissante et originale. Recommandé! [Julien Héraud]

vital weekly
Two small discs of improvised music, in the usual nice packaging. The first one is a duet between Chris Heenan on contrabass clarinet and Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga on zither. In May of last year they played in Berlin, privately I think, this fine fifteen minute piece of concentrated effort. Drone like with motors licking the zither, and the somewhat darker sounds of clarinet that seem to follow the gestures made on the zither. In the second half of the fifteen minute piece, the roles are reversed and here it is the clarinet that takes the lead in a more louder, more dense, piece of sustainment. Very nice. (FdW)

Additional information

Weight 0,1 kg