Live presents two works, "Schnitt!" (in eight movements, 34 minutes) and "Untertagemusik_nr.1" (11 minutes). They were created using the same technique. Frank Niehusmann first digitally prepares a collection of samples and soundbites, which he then aligns on a reel of tape. In performance, he uses one open-reel tape machine as a crude sample playback device and an eight-track open-reel tape recorder to loop the sounds and add, bounce, and delete material, building the pieces in real time. The technique may sound crude, but it adds a visual, physical element to the live performance that laptop artists can only dream of. "Schnitt!" consists of eight separate "scenes," each featuring its own sound theme: industrial machines in "Maschinenpark"; cars, subways, and trains in "Transport"; field recordings from Marrakech in "Marrakesch Medizin." Some of these settings are far from being innovative, but Niehusmann's original approach yields interesting results. The precision required to cue the source tape, extract a specific sound, punch it in, and later edit it out, keeping track of eight sounds at a time while keeping the whole thing cohesive and exciting, is no small feat. "Untertagemusik_nr.1" is an apple from the same tree. Here, the sounds on the source reel have been recorded one thousand meters underground, in a mine. Mineshafts clank, rock drills buzz, and a synthesizer adds an odd (and not always welcome) touch to this symphony from another era of industrialization.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture