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Rezensionen zum Werk von Walter & Sabrina

Rigobert Dittmann on Two Tales in Bad Alchemy no.64:
GOOD GAWD! MUSHROOM MACHINE, MUSHROOM OBSCENE
Two Tales: The Twilight of Walter & Sabrina (Danny Dark Records, DD1140) ist ein unerhörtes Gesamtkunstwerk aus Sound & Fury, aus Gesängen, Bildern, Rollenspiel und Provokation, aus Über-Pop & After-Klassik, wie man es nur von WALTER & SABRINA erwarten kann. Aufgefächert ist ihr neuer Anschlag auf Sinn & Verstand in eine CD (in DVDBox mit Booklet) mit der Trilogie ‚Walter and Sabrina Play Classical, Tale One‘, ‚Untitled‘ & ‚Walter and Sabrina Play Pop, Tale Two‘, in Stephen Moores Buch (164p) ‚Amalgam, Gotta Get A Shag. A World of Walter & Sabrina‘ und in Artwork. So zieren Box, Buch und Booklet Assemblagen von Moore und ein Schweinskopf auf einer Schlachtplatte. Das Booklet enthält neben den Libretti der beiden ‚Tales‘ und dem nicht realisierten Drehbuch ‚Cor Blimey, You‘ll Never Get Rid Of That‘ einen Email-Wechsel zwischen Stephen Moore und dem von Selbstzweifeln geplagten Walter Cardew. Dieser Einblick in ihre Produktionsgemeinschaft macht vor allem Moores Entschlossenheit deutlich, an WandS und der Agenda anti war, anti conform, anti sentimental als etwas künstlerisch Sinnvollem festzuhalten und, angesichts der wachsenden Resonanz, weiterzuackern, statt sich mit ‚WandS Serve Imperialism‘-Skrupeln à la Cardew sen. vor Showmanship zu drücken.
‚Tale One‘ ist eine hybride Bizarrerie, ein kakophones Oratorium für Countertenor (Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson), männlichen Sopran (Peter Crawford), zwei Sopranistinnen (Laura Pooley, Celia Lu) und Rezitation (S. Moore), instrumentiert mit zwei Pianos und dem Komponisten - W. Cardew - an der E-Gitarre. Besungen wird nichts weniger als die Existenz selbst als absurdly-huge-n-knobbly Cucumber. Von Adam & Eva und dem Biss in die saure Gurke bis zu Faust II zeigt Moore sarkastisch ein einziges Possenspiel. ‚Tale Two‘, wiederum für Sopranstimmen, ist musikalisiert mit einem Bläserfächer aus Fagott, Oboe, Tenor- & Baritonsaxophon, Piano und Cardew an Gitarre, Harmonica, Harmonium und Drum Machine. Hier taucht einen Moore in die Klemme zwischen solid fantasy and fantastic truth, zwischen Mushrooms und Gurken, Female Genitalia und Male Dong Thing.
Wann hat je eine Diva derart cyberpunkbarocke, Burroughsianisch perverse Zeilen gesungen? Breast bobboby, bouncy side to side, Led reach out, run fingers up ball hanging meat-hole. Emerging out concave a shaft from lips, Some force to ‘tween the blobby udderworld. Dass sich ‚Classical‘ zu ‚Pop‘ verhält wie Mahler zu Depeche Mode hört man vielleicht nach kräftigen Bissen von den richtigen Pilzen. Beim wild gepluckerten und gehämmerten, kakophon geröhrten Zwischenspiel ‚Untitled‘ - für Alto- & Tenorsax, Keyboard, Gitarre, Bassgitarre, Harmonium und Drum Machine - spukt gar die Götterdämmerung mit, im Mashup mit (dem Blues?) ‚My Bleeding Heart‘.
Mashup als Stilprinzip, visuell als Assemblage, textlich als Verwurstung von Hard-boiled Trash und preziöser Mythopoesie, musikalisch als Bastardisierung und Kompression. Belcantostimmen kollidieren mit Avantrock, Free Jazz, Noise und mit formell ungebundenen, inhaltlich ungezügelten Lyrics von stachliger, obszöner ‚Unsingbarkeit‘. Da reicht das harmlose Wörtchen ‚postmodern‘ bei weitem nicht hin. WandS ist manieristisch, eine complex sum of contradictions, und gerade darin zeitgemäß. An Hartgesottenheit kann ihnen unter den akzeptierten ‚Zeitgenössischen‘ allenfalls der ähnlich ‚engagierte‘ und um Brisanz bemühte Dror Feiler an die Seite gestellt werden. Cardews Instrumentierung rückt seine Musik jedoch näher an Quereinsteiger wie Branca, Frith, Sharp, mit jedoch extraordinärer Klangmischung, wie auf dem Schrottplatz geschreddert und gewürfelt, wie blutig durch den Buschhacker gehäckselt.

Mike Wood on Two Tales in music emissions, August 2009:
'Ever the dark archeologists, Walter & Sabrina mine territory covered by Byron and Burroughs, Genet and Galas, yet add their own historical piece to the long line of artists unafraid to taste the distasteful and find an odd glory in it. "Two Tales" might imply a finale to this project, begun several years ago by Walter Cardew and Stephen Moore. If so, they are going out in majestic, jaundiced style, and this time they deliver both haunting, deceptively romantic music and a novella sized book full of squalid and yearning characters for whom appetite is all.
As is their wont, they make their observations deceptively wistful by couching them in operatic, classical suites. Chamber music has never been so menacing, however. Female sopranos Celia Lu and Laura Pooley, together with male counterpart Peter Crawford and counter-tenor Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson, add a disquieting lilt to the transgressive lyrics, an almost childlike quality that not only seems to mock the sentiment of the words, but yet also revel in them. In that sense, "Walter & Sabrina Play Classical Tale One," is the most horrific of the three songs here.
"Untitled" quickens the pace a bit, and seems a relief. The rock band line-up, with the addition of tenor and alto sax and the sopranos, is comforting in its familiar structure, yet is likewise eerie and menacing. The Velvets ought to reunite again just to cover this.
"Walter & Sabrina Play Pop Tale Two," also  provides a familiar sonic foundation within which to stress that, even here, there is no real solid ground. Or, rather, as is made explicit in the included novella, the only solid ground is the self when it seeks what is wants. The rest is deprivation from that which is sought.'

Nicola Catalano on Two Tales in Blow Up (Italia), October 2009:
"Two Tales" ovvero il crepuscolo di Walter & Sabrina, l'episodio finale, epitaffio definitivo più che eredità per i posteri. Denso di amarezza e rimpianti, rabbia e ripensamenti, di cupezza a tratti lancinante, com'è scritto nel DNA della formazione. Cardew e Moore hanno portato alle estreme conseguenze, un limite invalicabile, la propria esperienza musicale e letteraria, un peso e una sofferenza impossibili da portare avanti, un punto oltre il quale c'era e c'è solo il suicidio (artistico, va da sé). Che puntuale arriva con un capitolo conclusivo degno della parabola esistenziale del progetto, una parola fine le cui motivazioni sono ampiamente illustrate, in forma di carteggio elettronico tra i due titolari, nel libretto del CD che pure contiene i dettagli sulle singole partiture e la trascrizione dello script originale per la mai ultimata pellicola "Cor Blimey, You'll Never Get Rid of That". Detto del volume allegato, centosessantaquattro pagine di farneticazioni a briglia sciolta romanzate dallo stesso Moore, rimangono le tre composizioni che, come atto liberatorio, chiudono definitivamente il sipario sulla storia di W&S e che sin dagli istanti iniziali ne mettono in chiaro le coordinate lirico-musicali. Esattamente le stesse dei dischi precedenti, magari con maggiore riflessività nella centrale Untitled, audace universo atonale al crocevia tra la musica contemporanea, le invettive free-punk dei Crass e il rock in opposition più sghembo.

Rigobert Dittmann on Jung Ahh Fleisch and demons! in Bad Alchemy no.60:
WALTER & SABRINA - MUSIC AHH NOVA
Wenn eine Schraubendrehung von Neu zu Weird und die nächste von Weird zu Bizarro führt, dann ist die Musica Nova mit WALTER & SABRINA bei diesem Turning of the Screw angelangt.
Aber die Zukunft, die Walter Cardew & Stephen Moore auf We Sing for the Future (BA 56) besangen, die ist nur einer der durch jeden Stundenschlag abgeschlagenen Köpfe, die dem Drachen, den wir Geschichte nennen, stündlich nachwachsen, um den Feueratem des Jetzt zu fauchen. Jung Ahh Fleisch (Danny Dark Records, DD1145) besingt erneut Fetzen dieses Drachens, obszön schillernde unverdauliche Brocken Fleisch, die vor den Augen eines unheiligen Antonius die Form von Supervixen-Titten und Lolita-Schenkeln annehmen, die Gestalt von Tralala, vorher - und nachher. Moores Lyrics verbinden dabei beatpoetische Tiraden mit preziösem, sperrigem Wortschatz. Bizzy fragments, fast the furious Thoughts, big, sentences Who deny what comfort fantasy. Die Textebene scheint elisabethanische Fairie Queene-Enigmatik in ein Cyberpunkgewand zu hüllen (‚Descending To Earth With Mercury‘), und kreist dabei doch beharrlich darum, how lives are fucked, nicht allegorisch, sondern so brutal wörtlich und pornomanisch wie nur was. Dieser Manieristik entsprechen Cardews sarkastische, grotesk akzentuierte Arrangements, in der Musik, wie man sie kennt, zwar noch gut erkennbar ist, aber eben so, wie man in einem zerfetzten und platt gefahrenen Kadaver am Straßenrand - like car squashed cat or pheasant - noch das erkennt, was es einmal war. ‚Is That Nice?‘ Nein, das ist alles andere als nett. Verstörend ist auch, dass Cardew seinen ‚Kunstlieder‘-Zyklus einem Klangkörper aufzwingt, seine bizarre Sonic Fiction einem Ensemble abringt, das mit Strings, Flöten, Oboe, Saxophon, Fagott, Klavier harmlos besetzt scheint. Nur Cardew selbst deutet mit E-Gitarre, Percussion & Brass an, dass dieser Klangkörper den üblichen Rahmen sprengt, wenn er seine artrockigen Krallen ausfährt. Den bizarrsten Taumel verursachen jedoch die Stimmen, zwei Countertenöre mit ihrem Falsett-Geflöte und dazu der ‚natürliche‘ Sopran von Celia Lu, die bei ‚Thought She Was Special Again‘ like child to dang‘rous tune, song of syphilis, demons, leprosy manövriert.
Peter Crawford & Samuel Penkett evozieren unwillkürlich Anklänge an Lamentationen von Zelenka bis Tavener, Glucks Orfeo oder Brittens Oberon, verwandeln sich jedoch schnell in Olga Neuwirths Jeremy oder Mystery Man. ‚HP‘ sprechsingt dann Moore selbst in seiner eindringlichen, süffisanten Manier, aber da sind wir schon - live - in Berlin und potentielle Opfer von Moores dämonischen Beschwörungen, die dort vom DIETRICH EICHMANN ENSEMBLE beschallt wurden, in Rip-her-to-shreds-Manier und - bei ‚Is That Nice?‘ – in Bang-Bang-Bang-Frenesie.
Demons! (DD1148, 2 x CD) ist der kreative Zusammenprall von Walter & Sabrina, Celia Lu, die auch Harmonium spielt, und dem Quintett des Pianisten & Cembalospielers Dietrich Eichmann (-> BA 55) mit Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson (voice & electronics), dem Perkussionisten Michael Griener und den beiden Kontrabassisten Alexander Frangenheim & Christian Weber. Ineinander verzahnte Tiraden & Raps werden, weitgehend wohl ad hoc, illustriert und akzentuiert wie mit Hackebeil und Kettensäge. Moore beschwört in einem Dialekt, der Bowlerhutträger erschaudern lässt, apokalyptisch umschauerte Fnords. Gut & Böse, Sündeböcke & Helden, Realität & Fiktion, Welt & Hölle sind durcheinander geschüttelt. Dämonen erhalten Zugang dort, wo sich Gelegenheit ergibt. Auf jedem Begehren nach Mehr (we value what enlarges and enriches) reitet unsichtbar ein Dämon mit. Moore gehört zu denen, die die Verlockungen des Willens nach Mehr (This Enchantment) und ihre dämonischen Begleiter beäugen wie ein Peepshow-Kunde (spying in slaughter house) und sie hautnah, verschwitzt und blutbespritzt kommentieren.
Look at these things, people, what makes them do what they do...
Wobei seine Kommentare die Form von Vanitas- und Bergpredigten annehmen und die von Röntgenbild-Visionen der Gegenwart.
And as a Culture imagining civilization collapsing
Our take for granted comforts, luxuries, can‘t be forever...
Universe eternal, infernal, evil fundamental
Good God dead, man sum
Of natural urges, free to do through universe indifferent,
Fluxed cycle of compulsions, convulsions,
The anonymous man fears he will end
Before he‘s ready, suffers simple „I don‘t want to be alone“...
Tending paranoia, a belief in holy terror...
A comfort in, and with,
Cruelty that is jocular
A jester, with who, there is no dialogue or reason; the
Demon speaks a babble, a punishment for a tower...
Now what‘s left?
Some nameless ritual in nameless place:
Godforsaken? befouling couldn‘t give a shit?
Enacted by, on, nobody people in nowhere state?...
Musikalisch aufbereitet ist das als delirantes, grobmaschig geklopftes oder gesägtes Plinkplonking, mit krassen Spitzen wie dem furios gehämmerten ‚Shell Shock‘ oder ubueskem Gegurgel und Gestöhne von Brandt & Lu in einem Theater der Grausamkeit, Disgusting and perverted. Visionen von Blake und Alan Moores From Hell, smeared in paint by Bacon...
Musik, mindestens so bizarr wie bastardisierter Burroughs oder gogolisierter Nabokov, als Chymische Hochzeit von höllischem Schall & hellsichtigem Wahn.

Massimo Ricci on Jung Ahh Fleisch and demons! in Touching Extremes www.touchingextremes.org:
I set out to shed some light on Walter Cardew and Sabrina (Stephen) Moore, but I hereby declare myself trounced by the intricacy of their subplots. A solitary, apparently unconnected consideration, more literary than musical, grazes this listener's mind when attempting to hook up the different parts of the conundrum: the cryptic essays decorating every item churned out by multimedia artist and psychoacoustic sonic researcher Andrew McKenzie, better known as Hafler Trio. Unlike McKenzie's calculated circumventions of normalcy, Moore's merciless lyrics offer the audience a quest for the reasons for human helplessness, a lookout for hope of sorts. Still, when trying to focus the attention on the words' cultivated sleaze it's easy to get sidetracked by the exceptional quality of the instrumental material, since, unlike Hafler Trio, Walter & Sabrina dress words with something more than drones. Their output is expertly designed to disturb the disturbed and stymie those searching for the missing link between the music and their ignorance. Forget the sordid pictures adorning the sleeves of the duo's releases and the fact that all human beings must every once in a while come to terms with ungovernable impulses, especially sexual. Everything else causes perplexity, too: the duo's façade actually hides a chamber group; the porn elements coexist with some of the most notable playing of the last twenty years; and the lyrics are frequently submerged by the music, or slashed by ruthless, stabbing noise. What are we looking for, besides being aware that Jung Ahh Fleisch and Demons! are the second and third part of a trilogy that began with We Sing for the Future?
In Jung Ahh Fleisch's liners, there's a partial answer: "We are lonely, don't want to be; we need to give people clues, ways into our art." The only discernible clues are to be found in the extraordinary complexity of the music, scored for reeds, brass, strings (including guitar and double bass), piano and percussion, and including vocal parts for two counter-tenors (Peter Crawford and Samuel Penkett), a soprano (Celia Lu) and a contralto doubling on cello (Ayanna Witter-Johnson) plus Moore and Gunnar Brandt. Sections where the orchestration is confined to a three-semitone span suddenly open out into marvelously stern counterpoint, on a par with the sharpest offerings by Art Bears or Thinking Plague, yet the dissonant idiom makes this much harder to take. An urge for redemption underscores the entire CD, intellectualism partially forgotten in favour of a systematic rejection of whatever logical explanation one might try and find. "Kat's Fitting In", the strongest track, is a superbly designed if distressing patchwork, a blend of virtuosic theatre and unforgiving reality – picture a cross of early Art Zoyd and Motor Totemist Guild – that will upset any pitiable listener eager for a lazy Sunday morning. The record is tough as nails, the final tracks "HP" and "Is That Nice?" (both featuring the Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble - more about that later) dealing with not-so-secret relationships via devastating clangor and raving desperation.
Demons! is a longer project – 116 minutes on two CDs – and the words are mostly delivered this time by Moore himself, his often hysterical yet polished recitation a challenge for those hoping to discover new sources of post-Henry Cow methodological complication. Dietrich Eichmann – composer, musicologist, pedagogue and founder of the Oaksmus label, who has studied with Alexander Von Schlippenbach, Frederic Rzewski, Garrett List and Walter Zimmermann – would appear a most unlikely partner for W&S's tales of human failure, even though the members of his ensemble, Gunnar Brandt-Sigursson, Michael Griener, Alexander Frangenheim and Christian Weber, are no slouches themselves in highlighting this kind of obsessed response through sheer procedural brilliance. The soundtrack to Moore's performance includes autistic repetitiveness, expressive hostility, neurotic patterns, percussion whenever a hole becomes available and a pair of magnificent double basses rumbling in the crucial moments. Make no mistake, this is as uneasy listening as it comes, and Walter & Sabrina caution that the digital distortion disfiguring the voices and instruments "shouldn't be mistaken for faults". Funny, then, that during the first playback, a power shortage in my house caused the disc to fizzle in the player and grind to a halt with an error message. Fiendish stuff, indeed! Lovers of avant-garde theatricality, or those who still revisit the spoken segments of Zappa's 200 Motels, will have no problem with this, but greenhorns may find it tests their endurance.
So, we're back to square one. Distortion eats chunks of text in Demons!, and the instruments are often louder than the singers in Jung Ahh Fleisch's mix. Does this mean that the artists prefer us to be acquainted with just a fraction of the story? Are we supposed to pick up on the available clues and formulate a private narrative? Should we listen to the music watching a silent hardcore movie for enhanced comprehension? Is this just a big hoax? Words, I'm convinced, are a deception, incapable of bridging the millions of conflicting points-of-view of human existence. These two CDs, results of a collision between spiteful malice and craving for salvation, are in any case nourishing fare for the attentive listener.

Mike Wood on demons! in music emissions, November 2008:
"Desire is exploitation," the label notes for this ambitious two disc set proclaims. The demons get in any way they can, through laws that repress or through indulgence that never seems like it will ever be enough. "Demons!" explores the dread that accompanies our facing our own capacity for evil, as individuals and as a culture. Once again, Stephen Moore and Walter Cardew use orchestral and cabaret motifs to propel their horrific tales of sin and revenge. And where better to probe the personal and political depths of sin and its wages than in Berlin? Hey, it worked for Lou Reed and David Bowie, and it works here. There are, sadly, more than enough examples of demons to explore in that city.
Soprano Celia Lu's ethereal vocals and the harpsichord work of Dietrich Eichmann stand out among the ensemble. Evoked are both the calm before the storms and then storms themselves; using Germany as a metaphor and as proof, the decadence of the early 1930's and the horrors of the 40s are of a piece. Allusions to a coming visceral appearance of evil in the present is represented by violent video games and porn. The dread, the gothic menace of the tracks, especially "Make It Sinister," "a vain committing (antiwar.com)"-which is a section of a longer piece titled "Spoilt Brat Sacrifice" and "Mouse Girl Stoned," dig for evil and the choices that lead to it in both the personal and political. They don't need to dig deep to find, but they do. This is a two disc set that is as moral as it is shocking, beautiful as it creepy. "Demons!" reminds us of choices, and of what results when those choices are made in fear.

Nicola Catalano on Jung Ahh Fleisch and demons! in Blow Up (Italia), November 2008:
La lapidaria presentazione in esergo impone di sintetizzare in due parole il contenuto dei dischi che mensilmente andiamo a esaminare. Nel caso di Walter & Sabrina, la composita formazione messa in piedi da Walter Cardew e Stephen Moore, e dei due dischi più recenti pubblicati a ridosso l'uno dell'altro azzardiamo la dicitura free-rock, ma potremmo tranquillamente mutare il prefisso in art, avant o post (ma veramente post, nel senso che in questi lavori rimangono in risalto più che altro i tagli autoptici sulla carcassa putrescente di una creatura un tempo familiare). O, con ancora maggior semplicità - si fa per dire - adottare i più calzanti aggettivi espressionista e sofferente, come chiaramente veniva fuori nell'articolo che al numeroso organico dedicammo lo scorso anno giusto di questi tempi (BU #114) e dalla lettera aperta indirizzata a Keith Moliné e al sottoscritto che Moore si preoccupa di inserire nel libretto del primo dei due CD.
Ecco, i materiali ammassati caoticamente in "Jung Ahh Fleisch" e "Demons!" sono e rappresentano proprio tutto il male attraverso il quale bisogna passare per arrivare da qualche parte, non importa dove sia, la sofferenza necessaria come processo di crescita e di analisi di sé e del mondo, sempre che poi tale percorso - che si vorrebbe catartico - approdi a qualcosa. Per dirla tutta, a chi scrive pare che il nichilismo no future del punk degli inizi sia ben pallida cosa rispetto all'ossessione claustrofobica suggerita da musica, testi e immagini di Walter & Sabrina. Un suono greve e sgusciante, scorbutico come non mai, articolato a mezza via tra new music, improvvisazione e spoken word, dove i semi dell'eredità disconosciuta di certo Cardew padre marciscono anziché germogliare, contaminati come sono da una furia - in tutti i sensi - hardcore (a volte sembra di ascoltare un gruppo che somiglia ai Crass andati a male, inaciditi dagli anni). Né il fattivo intervento del Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble, relativamente ai due pezzi conclusivi del primo disco, in toto nel secondo, contribuisce ad alleviare o lenire negatività e sound design gestuale-orrorifico, una tortura - va da sé anche autoimposta - che si prolunga lungo le complessive tre ore d'ascolto: make it sinister, facciamolo sinistro, recita uno dei pezzi di "Demons!" e i nostri ci riescono perfettamente.

Claudio Baroni on Jung Ahh Fleisch in Musica Popolare, December 2008:
Camminare sopra il sacro fuoco della morte in arrivo. Comprendere, con dovizia di particolari, tutto quello che ogni singola persona deve per forza assimilare. Fare tesoro delle molteplici esperienze, anche le più strambe ed apparentemente inutili. Non bisogna sottovalutare nulla, ogni piccolo aspetto e retta via possono essere di prezioso aiuto per la comprensione del magico mistero. Solo allora, ma solo allora, si potrà (timidamente) tentare di fare luce nel microcosmo artistico e crepuscolare di Stephen Moore e Walter Cardew. Due personaggi che impastano la musica come meglio non si potrebbe fare. No rock please, but only free rock. Se non mi sono spiegato bene "Jung Ahh Fleisch" ammorbidirà le fredde notte invernali con note di violino e viola, sassofono e la voce del soprano Celia Lu. Tutto molto profano e spudoratamente pagano.

Massimiliano Drommi on Jung Ahh Fleisch in www.miuzik.it, February 2009:
'Nuovo lavoro (che segue “We Sing For The Future”) per Walter & Sabrina, vale a dire il multistrumentista Walter Cardew (figlio del celebre compositore/improvvisatore Cornelius Cardew) e l’artista Stephen Moore.
“Jung Ahh Fleisch” non è un album facile, e per digerirlo occorre avere un buono stomaco. Oltre un’ora di musica protesa- concettualmente parlando – su un unico versante: non si registrano grosse variazioni sonore, e il tutto sembra essere assemblato per dare senso ad un’idea di ‘opera’ (con delle liriche ruotanti intorno alla sfera della sessualità).
Ciò lo si percepisce specialmente ascoltando le prime sei tracce (“Descending To Earth With Mercury”, “Cradle To Grave”, “Big Tits” – Your Age”, Maxy Boy”, “Thought She Was Special Again”, “Kat’s Fitting In”), segnate da un austero ed eccentrico approccio improv/avant/lirico non esente da fascinazioni di musica classica contemporanea.
A dare un volto diverso al disco ci pensano la minacciosa/temibile “HP” e “ Is That Nice?”, quest’ultima brutale, catastrofica e devastante quanto può esserlo uno stupro. Circa una ventina i musicisti (al sassofono, piano, violoncello, violino, electronics, oboe, harpischord, basso ecc.) che hanno contribuito alle registrazioni.
and on demons!:
'Non paghi della pubblicazione di “Jung Ahh Fleisch”, Walter Cardew e Stephen Moore – in combutta con il Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble – mettono fuori in un batter d’occhio un altro lavoro, addiritttura doppio. Rispetto a “Jung Ahh…” questa nuova raccolta risulta essere più ‘molesta’ e malefica, pur sempre adatta ai palati forti e a chi disprezza formati canzone, melodie, arrangiamenti delicati e musiche rasserenanti.
Qui tutto è torvo, tagliente, scabroso, crudo e ‘pestilenziale’, esasperato ed esasperante, ridotto ad un lumicino, dove i testi dei pezzi spiazzano/ammorbano/inquietano e le sonorità soffocano e feriscono, generando effetti comatosi dopo essersi insinuate sottopelle silenziosamente.
“Demons!” si regge su spoken words velenosi e intimidatori, sorretti da strumenti – dal fluire improv - quali harmonim, chitarra, harpiscord, basso, percussioni (viene utilizzata anche la componente elettronica) che stravolgono, irrompono, disturbano, scorticano, ustionano; ogni tanto si percepisce qualche leggero lamento femminile, a completare un quadro di per sé alquanto annichilente. A ognuno i propri demoni.

Mike Wood on Jung Ahh Fleisch in prefixmag.com, September 2008:
"Call this Choral Manouevers in the Dark. Walter & Sabrina echo the classical and the avant-garde with their Weimar decadence-meets-Mothers of Invention sonic explorations. Jarring and hypnotic, mythical and gutter gritty, Jung Ahh Fleisch is a challenging work that dwells on the awkward and perverse, placing Walter & Sabrina in a context where operatic vocals drive the narrative. The odd time singatures of brass, strings and white noise add to the disorientationof songs that on the surface are disjointed but beautiful arias but lyrically are explorations of vulnerable and terrible sexual confusion. The dark charm of this record is deeply unsettling.
On the follow-up to last year's We Sing for the Future, Steven Moore and Walter Cardew create little jarring morality plays with centuries of musical ideas at their disposal. Here, they are joined by the Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble, a slew of woodwind and string players and, most effectively, Celia Lu , a soprano who serves as the tour guide through most of the record, with able backing by tenors Peter Crawford and Samuel Penkett.
The beauty and emotinal depth of the performances might lead us to remain at that surface level, but the real meat is in the menacing and fragile lyrics. 'Descending to Earth With Mercury,' 'Big Tits-Young Age' and 'Thought She Was Special Again' reveal a terrible narrative of hope and failure through sex, and stunning random lines are found on all eight tracks: 'Have we then, from god to man/ Human sunrise to crinkled, stupid talking, lorry drivers slut' and 'The dress suggests a lovely/ Awful lots more' and 'But all things within limits/ Adjusted, will regulate the vey animation of life' and 'It fucked her/ Though hadn't not even tried force/ Though she ran don't touch me, don't touch me.'
The final track is the most noisy and chaotic. 'Is That Nice?' implies that the experiences, damage and wisdom gained from these sexual psalms will always be elusive, in flux. Jung Ahh Fleisch is Walter & Sabrina’s daring ode to appetite and to the epic moral choices often implicit in each randy thought. In that sense, it too is a moral and not exploitive peek at the horrors that can lie behind the most common pleaures."

Eric Lanzilotta on We Sing For The Future in Bixobal, January 2008:
"...Instead of taking this backwards into the avant-garde classical idiom that Cornelius moved away from, Walter takes this into the present world of experimental music. An experimental music that is not the typical, as it really goes into territories that some people might find difficult because of its mixture of pretty vocals, from the duo of Celia Lu and Mette Bille, on the chorus with orchestration which is decidedly unusual in its arrangement of the elements. It seems to me that I may have heard some things by Jim Stanley and Eric Belgum in the past that might be in a similar realm, but overall this seems to chart its own territory..."

Mike Wood on We Sing For The Future in Foxy Digitalis, December 2007:
Like a chorus of eunuchs standing over you on your deathbed sending you off to hell with jews harp and squalid tunes from children’s plays—or like outtakes from a Diamanda Galas Mass, in which the choir tries to have fun with the libretto to keep from killing themselves-- Walter & Sabrina makes us fear them and fear for ourselves on “We Sing For the Future.” The title track is a cover of the Cornelius Cardew piece (CC being Walter’s father and huge influence) which sets the stage for a whimsically somber meditation on the horror of war and the seeming carefree ignoring of war until the horror is too huge to ignore. “Sad Days/Bad Days,” “What Have We Done” and “Our Sometimes Fathers” round out this short but emotionally disorienting set, with the occasional guitar, sax, cello and piano joining that haunting chorus in its relentless search for form in the midst of chaos.
Walter and Sabrina are not ones to shy away from the horrific, but they do so more to hold up a mirror than to wallow in the excess. This a moral work that doesn’t preach, nor care to. “We Sing For the Future” is a record to ponder, run from, then ponder some more. They are merely worried about and pissed off by these ugly times, and are fearless in their facing that ugliness. The hope they offer is that one at least become aware of the mess we’re in; reaching out or in is up to the listener.

Rigobert Dittman on We Sing For The Future in Bad Alchemy 56, December 2007:
Die Hymne We Sing For The Future (Danny Dark Records, DD1120, mCD + video), die Frederic Rzewski zusammen mit ‚Thälmann Variations‘ für New Albion eingespielt hat, ist ein typisches Spätwerk des engagierten Cornelius Cardew (1935-81). Er selbst hatte zu dem Stück, das ebenso eine Absage an die Avantgarde war wie an den No-Future-Defätismus von Punk, erklärt: The song is for youth, who face bleak prospects in a world dominated by imperialism, and whose aspirations can only be realised through the victory of revolution and socialism. In the framework of a solo piano piece lasting about 12 minutes, something of this great struggle is conveyed. The music is not programmatic, but relies on the fact that music has meaning and can be understood quite straightforwardly as part of the fabric of what is going on in the world. Über das, was in der Welt vorgeht, ist Cardews Diagnose - unlimited decadence and parasitism... all-sided crisis with economic at the base... spiritual and cultural devastation... - aktuell geblieben.
Das Heilmittel jedoch - proletarian struggle... the brilliant future of communism - seufz.
WALTER & SABRINA, das sind Stephen Moore & Cardews Sohn Walter, versuchen dennoch, Cardews schwieriges Erbe konsequent fortzusetzten, konsequent, d.h. anders. Beginnend mit Walter & Sabrina Play Pop; Walter & Sabrina Play Classical (1994) und Sadness & Life (als Sabrina 1996) und mit einem zweiten Vorlauf bei Chioma Sings Tales of Danny Dark (2003) als Danny Dark Group zusammen mit Horace Cardew, verschärften W & S die Frequenz der Attacke mit Chioma SuperNormal - The Dark Album, ihrem 3-CD Opus maximus von 2006 (von Dan Warburton erschöpfend charakterisiert als idiosyncratic Art Bears-meets-Zappa-meets-Penguin Cafe Orchestra-meets-Eisler-meets-Residents-meets Alternative TV post-prog post-punk cantata oratorio rock opera), und mit Rock ‘n‘ Roll Darkness (2007). Keith Moliné war im WIRE (July 2007) von W & S konfrontativem Pathos so beeindruckt, dass er Scott Walkers The Drift als Vergleich bemühte und Cardew & Moore eine Kompromisslosigkeit bescheinigte „as proscriptive as... Cardew’s father... in his final Maoist phase.“Nur dass W & S konsequent das ‚Populäre‘ in ästhetischen Schattenzonen aufsuchen, in mit trashiger Pornographie illustrierter Cyberpop-Dekadenz, mit bizarrer Musica Supernova, manieristischem Quasi-Art Rock, arrangiert für kleines Ensemble. Mit Vocodergesängen des Multiinstrumentalisten & Samplingartisten Cardew selbst, dem Lolitasopran von Celia Lu und der Altstimme der dänischen Softjazzsängerin Mette Bille. Endlich klingen ‚Kunstlieder‘ mal so ‚natürlich‘ und unverknödelt wie sie nach meinen kühnsten Träumen eigentlich klingen sollten. Brittens ‚Our Hunting Fathers‘ im radikalen Update gekreuzt mit Trout Mask Replica, Kew Rhone oder News From Babel. Nur so als grobe Richtung und wilde Assoziation. Der ohrwurmigen Coverversion von Cardew sen., die das Wackelbildvideo mit Tränen illustriert, den Gesichtern von Celia und Mette während der Session und dem Mund eines Abominable Snowman, der die diskanten Strophen singt, stellen W & S ihre Songs ‚Sad Days Bad Days‘ und ‚What Have We Done‘ an die Seite. Mit Zeilen wie: These are sad days Baby Optimus / Long cold empty days, lean, defiant, surly days oder Under mask bacchanal / Vices, defects, blemishes / Maliciously noted / The laughing moralist: What have we done? / We got drunk, went on a real bender / Now it’s time to sober up. Wen würde das nicht an den Untergang des Römischen Reiches gemahnen? Mit Dagmar-Krause-Ton, der mir an die Kehle geht.
Die mutterlosen Cardewsöhne wurden mit Wolfs- und Art-Bears-Milch gesäugt. Zum Abschluss rezitiert Stephen Moore, nur von Bells akzentuiert, ‚Our Sometime Fathers‘. Väter und Söhne. What‘s the point of trouble? ...the bright side, explored, Found empty... a claim to some future, unknown... Muss alles anders werden, damit etwas anders wird? Der berühmte tote Vater als Stachel für Psychoarchäologie und einen Hang zum Nekrorealismus mal beiseite. Es ist die aufregende Formgebung, die besticht. Moliné hat nämlich Recht, Musik, so tapfer und ambitioniert, sucht ihresgleichen.

Massimo Ricci on We Sing For The Future in Touching Extremes www.touchingextremes.org:
Difficult not to remain perplexed at first, fascinated at last by the artistic vision of Walter Cardew and Sabrina (Stephen) Moore, a duo who’s getting a growing exposure in recent years and, based on this 25-minute disc which constitutes this writer’s personal premiere of their work, deservedly so. Walter & Sabrina’s artwork includes old pictures of themselves as kids, modern abstraction and porn imagery, the latter a sort of trademark as far as I could see. The lyrics are beautiful, provided that you don’t ask me about significance: I will always refuse to comment on someone else’s words (too complicated to explain my view here). But what really counts in the final judgement is the quality of the music, which in this release is symbolized by a congruous diversity of scope and the intense focusing on determinate issues of composition that might even be defined staggering, both for sheer number of complexities and the ironic twist that quite often Cardew and Moore apply to the material, splendidly rendered by a “small chamber ensemble” orchestration featuring male and female vocals (at times filtered). The title track, of which the enhanced CD contains a QuickTime video version, is an obvious homage to Cornelius Cardew (Walter’s father), a well-known hymn that gets dismembered and reinterpreted with intelligence to spare, voices and instruments a unique amalgamation of deformation and purity. The subsequent “songs” are an uncontaminated heritage of RIO and “elaborate” progressive (think Henry Cow, Art Bears, Motor Totemist Guild, Lindsay Cooper’s solo production just to assemble a very vague conception) yet there are sections, most notably in “What have we done”, where a Michael Nyman-meets-Slapp Happy feeling appears from nowhere to project the playing towards an unconscious look-ma-no-hands vibe. The record is ended by a brief declamatory piece, Moore’s voice over Cardew’s bells, which only augments an already high degree of rational bewilderment. Substance prevails everywhere.

Keith Moliné on Chioma SuperNormal. The Dark Album and Rock 'n' Roll Darkness in Wire magazine, July 2007:
You'd be hard pushed to find a more formidable body of work than that of Stephen Moore and Walter Cardew. Its musical intricacy, thematic complexity and shady subject matter feel like nothing less than a confrontation, a challenge aimed at the pathetic, puny listener to see if they can deal with such concentrated intensity. The texts and accompanying visual materials, including some particularly dubious QuickTime movies, are full of sociopolitical abjection and riddled with sexual imagery of cloying, misahthropic degradation. The printed lyrics make Céline read like PG Wodehouse.
A three hour descent into hell, Chioma SuperNormal is a massive undertaking, not least for the listener.The byzantine structure centres around an 'album within an album', in which various narrative characters re-enact their fall from grace. The music is closely composed but performed with earthy, messy gusto, resembling Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler performed by John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett. Rock 'n' Roll Darkness is more instrumentally assured, distilling some of Cardew's excellent ensemble chamber writing, which also features on parts of Chioma SuperNormal, into just-about viable song structures that recall Tim Hodgkinson's longform experiments with Henry Cow. Moore's spoken lyrics, delivered in a mockney sneer that adds yet another level of alienation, are perhaps even more harrowing than those on Chioma - and that's no mean feat.
Ultimately, Cardew and Moore have pursued their singular vision to such an extent, and in the face of such incomprehension, that they seem to have lost any interest in connecting with an audience. The shock-horror transgressions of power electronics at least pack a visceral punch, and Scott Walker's The Drift offers its constituent parts for the listener to try and piece together. Walter & Sabrina, however, have slammed the doors and boarded up the windows, operating by principles every bit as proscriptive as those of Cardew's father, composer Cornelius Cardew, in his final Maoist phase. Nevertheless, Cardew and Moore's originality deserves praise; certain passages of this work represent some of the bravest and most ambitious music around at the moment.

Dan Warburton on Rock 'n' Roll Darkness in Paris Transatlantic May 2007:
"Just when I was finally getting over the impact of the monumental triple CD Chioma Supernormal reviewed in these pages a couple of months ago, here comes another helping of Walter Cardew and Stephen Moore's idiosyncratic Art Bears-meets-Zappa-meets-Penguin Cafe Orchestra-meets-Eisler-meets-Residents-meets Alternative TV post-prog post-punk cantata oratorio rock opera. If you took the plunge and forked out for a copy of Chioma, you won't be all that surprised by Rock'n' Roll Darkness, nor its cover art with the strategically defaced soft porn imagery, but newcomers to the world of Walter & Sabrina expecting some kind of dirty Stooges apocalypse could be disappointed. Moore's lyrics might be full of whores, piss, sweat and semen but there are no whammy bars or fuzz pedals in sight in the band ­ instead there's glockenspiel, trombone, violin, and that most un-rock'n'roll instrument, the oboe, and not much groove either in Cardew's odd, polyrhythmic universe. An acquired taste, perhaps, but the music of Walter & Sabrina, despite its obvious stylistic precursors (see above) sounds like little else in today's new music. If you find the album cover umm titillating, you might also be interested to know there's a bit more full frontal nudity on offer in the Quicktime movie the disc also contains to accompany its title track, but this odd homemade DV (shades of the new and ever so disappointing David Lynch offering, and Moore and Cardew's chicks don't even get to sing "The Locomotion") doesn't add much; the music works perfectly well without it.

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by oaksmus