Boomkat Product Review:
PAN lead on from the sublime Mono No Aware set with Stack Music; an enchanting demonstration of Jörg Hiller aka Konrad Sprenger’s computer-filleted electric guitar parts, rendering the bewildering results of his studies into rhythmic patterns based on the Euclidean algorithm. Fret not though if further maths boxes your brain a bit like it does mine - just imagine Jim O’Rourke processing John Fahey improvisations in real time and you’ve got a good grasp of the bittersweet, bluesy, worldly beauty consolidated inside Stack Music.
In solitary pursuit of a shimmering harmonic geist that evades digital music, Konrad Sprenger’s first new album under that moniker since 2009 follows his more recent credits as Jörg Hiller on the 41’ 36” compilation for Hamburg’s Sky Walking label, and his Motor Guitars on Oren Ambarchi’s Hubris album, in a lush development of his studies of mechanical instruments such as the Pianola and Orchestrion, and the way they effectively worked like early computer systems for creating unique combinations of pitches.
Applying a scientific approach to modified electric guitar parts, Sprenger effectively uses the tactility of his instrument, in conjunction with the spatialising and tuning possibilities of a computer and informed by the history of 20th century experimentation, to create a contemporary antecedent of those early musical machines’ complex harmonic voices, effectively yielding a microcosm of uniquely scaled tunings that magnify and patently recall the efficiently expressive strokes and nuanced infidelities of early American folk music as much as the keening cadences of spiritual jazz, the all-encompassing purity of sacred minimalism, and the transcendent pulses that connect krautrock to techno.
Stack Music documents his research and technique in action during a number of residences and live performances in recent years, unfolding in a palindromic suite bookended by two shorter part - the spiralling meditation of Opening, recorded at Phill Niblick’s Intermedia Foundation Loft, and which transitions from almost baroque pointillism to see-sawing blues via Krauty flight; and the whirligig lushness of Largo’s passage from fairground to the cosmos - while two 18 minute parts, Finale and Rondo cover sweeping landscapes that condense vast geographies and time frames into staggered, avant-orchestral movements with an astral railroad travelling momentum.