Boomkat Product Review:
Bittersweet, offbeat rhythm explorations in the vein of Burnt Friedman
“Experimental trio Giraffe crystalize time on ‘Desert Haze’, their new LP on Marionette. Giraffe is the musical project of Sascha Demand (guitar), Jürgen Hall (keys), and Charly Schöppner (percussion). Sascha Demand is a composer that comes from a contemporary and improvised musical background, collaborating with the likes of Ensemble Integrales and Vinko Globokar. Jürgen Hall works in electroacoustic experimental projects, theatre and film scores, with releases on Staubgold and Edition Stora. Charly Schöppner is known for his popular music releases such as Boytronic on major production companies in the 1980´s and composes for theatre, dance, and film scores. With only a couple of releases to date on the wonderful Meakusma imprint as well as an EP on Marmo, little is known about Giraffe. After letting go of other artistic projects, the trio now focuses solely on Giraffe by continuously searching for and finding their own unique language.
Sascha, Jürgen and Charly have quite diverse musical backgrounds, though morphing into Giraffe they tower into one single composer. Their music is a critical statement, not in a political sense but rather an artistic one. Being mindful about what it means to create and how to position themselves as artists nowadays (without the constant hassle of being en vogue and short-lived trends) shaped their rather rare and stoic artistic stance. It is refreshingly honest to see their expression develop so naturally.
On Desert Haze, they’ve created a vibrant and minimalistic tribal sound that feels inspired by the Saharan traditional music of the Tuareg, Jazz, and German psychedelic krautrock. Giraffe themselves also list the radical music of the Viennese School (Schoenberg along with his pupils Berg and Webern) as well as the Köln School with its early electronic experiments as their main influence and inspiration. More precisely the composition process and the organization of musical material within space and time, where a conceptual and intellectual approach melds with an experimental yet expressive sound searching method.
Side A focuses on the trio's studio work; it is built around tone color and pitch analysis of resonating prepared guitar sounds. Through a unique mixture of free improvisation and a serialism "rule set”, they develop instrumental layers and structures to form their tracks. Side B sees Giraffe playing more freely with a reduced setup - representative of what you may hear when listening to them live.
Desert Haze, along with its track-titles, showcases an almost mimetic approach to art. The haptic music grabs the listener not as a passive recipient but as an active resonant body to vibrate through. One can almost feel the elements, pressure and heat forming a diamond, hypnotic overtones ringing through windy caves, shamanistic rhythms conjuring up mysterious and ancient landscapes - where the constant cycle of sedimentation and erosion reveals structures of fragile beauty - always gentle to the hand’s touch and the mind’s eye. The artwork by Benjamin Kilchhofer may very well be the entrance to the entombed sounds we hear on this album.”