zeitkratzer is sound made visible, tangible, bodily – a truly unforgettable corporal experience of live music. The physicality of sound is celebrated through extended instrumental techniques, mutual understanding and amplification of traditional instruments. A midpoint between instrumental and electronic music turns out to be more bizarre and surprising than either of these. It will make you expect more from music than you did before!

zeitkratzer is a perverse subversion of musical genres. Keiji Haino meets Karlheinz Stockhausen meets Whitehouse meets Terre Thaemlitz meets Iannis Xenakis meets Lou Reed. The joy of the intensity of sound crosses all borders and brings these musics together into zeitkratzer’s plain of complex textures. A challenge to both composers and non-academic noise-makers thrown by the most talented performers, improvisers, sound artists and composers around.

zeitkratzer is a soloist ensemble. Its strength comes from its members. Founded in 1999, it gathers nine musicians, light and sound engineers living in different European cities from Amsterdam to London to Oslo meeting for working phases in Berlin. zeitkratzer benefits from its musicians, their advanced and unique playing techniques, their acquaintance with electronics and technologies, their hybrid experience and varied backgrounds: new or improvised music, experimental Rock and Pop, Noise, Ambient, Folk Music … Meanwhile, individual awards to zeitkratzer members include the German Jazz Award (Gratkowski), a fellowship at the Kings College Cambridge (Lukoszevieze) and composition commissions from the French state (Friedl).

zeitkratzer is independent from music institutions. The ensemble finances itself through free projects and international concerts. This freedom facilitates an idiosyncratic and ground breaking repertoire that has made zeitkratzer internationally recognized. Faithful only to their own tastes and beliefs, they have established themselves to be one of the most intriguing ensemble to collaborate with. Musicians working with or for zeitkratzer include Helmut Oehring, Keith Rowe (AMM), Radu Malfatti, Nicolas Collins, Jim O’Rourke, Merzbow, John Duncan, Pluramon aka Marcus Schmickler, Bernhard Guenter, Alvin Curran, Lee Ronaldo (Sonic Youth) and Elliott Sharp.

zeitkratzer is driven by unique programs. Blocks of repertoire created by the ensemble can function either separately or mixed up. From Volksmusik of Danube waltz-reminiscences and zither noises to Xenakis [A]Live – an homage to a great composer with a paraphrase of his “Persepolis”, the Electronics series including music by and with Keiji Haino, Terre Thaemlitz, Carsten Nicolai and William Bennett of Whitehouse, the Old School series dedicated to New Music of John Cage, James Tenney and Alvin Lucier, Noise with Merzbow and Zbigniew Karkowski, idiosyncratic Songs for soprano and ensemble and the famous Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed transcribed from guitar feedbacks to amplified instruments. Tours with these programs has brought zeitkratzer to many European countries where they regularly perform at renowned festivals from Madrid, Rome and London to Vienna, Budapest and Berlin.

zeitkratzer is not worried about preserving the “purity” of New Music. Music, especially so-called new music, thrives on continuous contamination. The idea of „pure taste“ as an independent aesthetic category was revealed by Pierre Bourdieu to be a medium of social distinction. “Thus, pure taste is based on nothing else but a rejection or rather disgust for the objects that ‘force us to enjoy’, such as disgust for such crude, vulgar taste that is also appealing in this forced enjoyment”.

zeitkratzer is serious music turned from stiff to joy!


As of January 2018


© Johan Coudoux

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