Altered Alchemy

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“Achim Kaufmann and Ignaz Schick met for the first time in 2015 when they performed together on a Finland tour with Sestetto Internazionale. Both musicians work with refined textures and strongly abstracted sounds, thus a more intimate and direct collaboration in a concentrated duo format was a logical fit. At that time, Ignaz Schick also immediately asked Kaufmann to join his large ensemble Circuit Training, as he felt the pianist, with his subtle playing, would enrich the sound of the group with his multi-layered sounds and his refined harmonic concept, hence providing an essential three-dimensional quality to the sound as a whole. As a duo (sometimes joined i.e. extended by Andrea Parkins), they have performed the occasional concert over and above an eight-concert tour (NRW Soundtrips) in late October 2020 right before the second pandemic lockdown.
The eight pieces on Altered Alchemy were recorded at “ausland Berlin“ over the course of two afternoons with a simple recording setting initially not intended for release. Altered Alchemy is this duo’s very first session before they even started performing concerts. The sequence of the pieces was not altered, only a few sections were shortened. You can basically follow the entire process of how these two musicians interact and explore the musical terrain. One could describe the musical approach as electro-acoustic. Kaufmann’s blending of traditional piano playing, pedal-echo effects, preparations and inside-piano mapping are contrasted with the deliberately balanced loops and soundscapes which Schick creates with turntables, a sampler and a looper. Schick uses all kinds of source materials and quotations which he constantly questions with manual irritations, pitch variations and other forms of processing. The two musicians in their interplay manage to create a kind of meta- instrument in which the acoustic and electronic components of the music interlock so seamlessly that it is often difficult to tell who is doing what. The resulting music combines stylistic elements from Third Stream, Musique Concrète as well as contemporary music and jazz. The two artists here managed to develop a unique sound world which follows the lineage and traditions of European improvisation and at the same time aims to push against its limits and boundaries.”

1-1. First Alteration 11:16
1-2. Second Alteration 14:10
1-3. Third Alteration 17:50
1-4. Fourth Alteration 15:44
2-1. Fifth Alteration 8:58
2-2. Sixth Alteration 17:24
2-3. Seventh Alteration 19:04
2-4. Eighth Alteration 20:22