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[CP 297 CD] Martin Almstedt, Dietburg Spohr, Dietmar Traeger; Frühleben, Sie Spielen Damit, Kein Spiel Zu Spielen / Du Bist Mein Spiegel, MSG-Kompositionen

Creel Pone

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March 2024; covering essentially the entire recorded output of German composer Martin Almstedt's collaborations with vocalist Dietburg Spohr & percussionist Dietmar Traeger, this double-disc set centers around the two LPs issued by Kassel-based engineer Rüdiger Ebel's Ebel Tonstudiotechnik under the Aktionsring Alternativer Musikkultur banner, "Frühleben" ("Early Life", ETST 011, 1978) & "Sie Spielen Damit, Kein Spiel Zu Spielen / Du Bist Mein Spiegel ("They Play With Not Playing A Game / You Are My Mirror", ETST 012, also 1978) with the addition of the Expanded Media Editions issue of Almstedt's "MSG-Kompositionen" (E.M.E. #D-34). 

"Frühleben" really caught me by surprise; I'd come across the LP in the stacks in Germany here & there over the years (certainly not recently!) & had mentally written it off as a Stockhausen-nude-on-the-beach embrace of Haight Ashbury / May '68 ideals (conflating "Frühleben" w/ "Freie Liebe", natch) but it turns out to be an epic album-length "Audiovisuelles Werk für Live-Part (Sopran, Bariton, Klavier, Schlagzeug, Kontrabaß), 4-Kanal Tonband und Ballett" (or, "Audiovisual Work for Live Part (soprano, baritone, piano, drums, double bass), 4-Channel Tape and Ballet") in which the Electronic / Tape component absolutely clobbers the live musicians, slowly taking over the entire audible spectrum until the musicians are forced to play/sing at the absolute limits of their dynamic range. I can hear traces of the exact same apex of voice/tape miasma as in Dieter Kaufmann & Gunda König's masterful "Bildnis Einer Frau Im Spiegel" (see [CP 147 CD]) and the embrace of pure noise and transgressive electronics certainly rivals Max E. Keller & Martin Fischer's contemporaneous "SMI, Sozialistische Musiker Initiative" LP (see [CP 059 CD]) alongside which the piece sits comfortably. 

The remainder of the set is taken up by Spohr & Almstedt's collaborative "Sie Spielen Damit" (largely dealing in a multitracked, operatic sprechstimme w/ occasional flourishes of electronic post-production) & Almstedt & Traeger's "MSG-Kompositionen" (which starts w/ a Cecil Taylor & Tony Oxley -esque free jazz piece that ends in a 10-minute 1k tone [?!] before changing gears into an awesome held-chord church organ & electronics drone that recalls Folke Rabe's "Was" or the more atonal end of Charlemagne Palestine's work in this area).

Comes with a six-panel "Glossy" booklet covering all of the relevant information & detail found across all three records, plus a separate "Gatefold" insert w/ the detail from the inner panels of said, with the two discs tucked inside. A real highlight in the "Phase Five [Brooklyn]" leg of Creel Pone, just shy of the series' 19th anniversary!