Zbigniew Karkowski

Disruptor

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This is the first collaboration released by Zbigniew Karkowski and Helmut Schafer. Karkowski, former student of Iannis Xenakis turned contemporary composer, has been specializing in collaborative projects through the late '90s. At one point, he moved to Tokyo to work with underground noise experimentalists, which precipitated some of his best work (outside of that with the Hafler Trio). Helmut Schafer has been around music, in particular computer music, since the early '80s and spent the next two decades wearing a variety of different hats. During the late '90s, he became more serious about his own music and began popping up at a number of European and Asian art festivals. He and Zbigniew Karkowski met at one such festival, the 1997 Steirischer Herbst in Graz, Austria, where this album was recorded. While Disruptor is not a difficult record to characterize, muted electronic dance fed through AM radio static, it is hard to say what its purpose is. Is it a critical engagement with electronica? Introducing noise into the usually over-produced system and thereby disrupting it? Or, perhaps it's actually a contribution, since there are plenty of groups who are both critical and contribute -- see Oval, Speedranch, or Kit Clayton. Either way, while this record had more currency in 1997, later it sounded directionless. As if since music didn't develop in their direction, it deprived their aesthetic of an aesthetic history. Nevertheless, it is an interesting listen.

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