ROMAN TICS - REVIEWS
On Roman Tics percussionist Burkhard Beins joins longtime colleague Michael Thieke (clarinet)
and accordionist Luca Venitucci (a superb player who isn't quite so radical in his use of preparations as is Alfredo Costa Monteiro).
With Beins and Thieke both also playing zither, this is a fascinating study in the use of acoustic -
dare I say, even traditional - instruments to create lovingly sculpted sound abstractions that could be
electronic drones of varying density. The improvisational strategy is therefore similar to Mark Wastell's
recent work (note particularly his own gorgeous Vignettes release, After Hours), even if the resulting sounds
are different. Set alongside the soft whorls from brushes on snares, brief crackle and flutter, and grinding gears,
the zither is really effective: Beins sets up a crackle and thud pattern against mild hyperventilations from the accordion,
and a wonderfully alien sound emits in a repeating arpeggiation, the tuning slowly unraveling. In some ways, this
piece is kin to Misiiki, with its long keening sounds, like bowed glass and singing wires. But when it shifts into the
gorgeous tone-stacking and post-Oliveros drone in the latter minutes, the music becomes emphatically distinct.
Recorded at the Ausland in Berlin in 2007, Roman Tics is the fruit of a collaboration between Luca Venitucci
and two musicians from Berlin's e.a.i. scene who have spent time in recent years in Italy. This mini-CDr consists
of a single 19-minute track, split in half by a prolonged silence. The opening moments suggest a riff on
the idea of an orchestra tuning up before the performance, as Venitucci's frantic accordion is led on by Beins' bass drum.
In the performance's first half, repetition is explored, as Thieke's zither patterns interlock with the bass drum pulse;
Thieke's clarinet works in tandem with Venitucci to build drones before receding to reveal Beins's objects clicking away.
The second half starts off emphasizing held tones, revealing the richness of the instruments; the drone perhaps outstays
its welcome, but fortunately, the track ends with the players returning to their earlier, more exploratory style.
While a full-length album by this trio might not be so fruitful, this concentrated offering contains some great moments.