Stephan Wittwer

Sicht 04 etc.

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Sicht 04 etc. reproduces the structure of Stephan Wittwer's previous album (Streams) while expanding it to a two-CD set. If the short/long architecture carries over, there are several notable musical differences. The music is generally more assured and less harsh, and makes more ample use of electronics, while keeping the guitar at the center of the proceedings. Disc one, subtitled "etc.," proposes eight pieces varying in duration from a single minute to a quarter of an hour. If these pieces are generally more disciplined than most of the material on Streams, they still present a wide array of dynamics, from soft multi-layered guitar soundscapes to abstract flurries of electronic-sounding tones and a few loud roars (especially in "In A," the highlight). Disc two consists of the 51-minute "Sicht 04." Presented on a single index, it actually consists of a suite of scenes. Again, Wittwer explores a comprehensive range of techniques and dynamics, but the piece as a whole is resolutely quieter and more ambient than any of his previous efforts. It begins with guitar harmonics sounded slowly at first. Then, as the tempo increases, one realizes that Wittwer is sampling and looping himself in real time. This multiple dialogue with himself is at the heart of each scene, whether it's a volume pedal-driven soundscape or a highly percussive kaleidoscope of prepared guitar. The casual shifts between scenes create an atmosphere of intimacy, inviting the listener to simply observe and enjoy. It is surprisingly effective and addictive, much more than the first disc. Fans of processed guitar would be well advised to investigate.

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