Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Klaus Filip & Radu Malfatti

Radu plays a trombone, Klaus creates pure sine waves: they sound on their own, or sometimes together and often with considerable space and silence. Radu is one of the most un-stuck-up yet quietly radical composers you'd care to meet. Klaus is a pioneering laptop improviser, musician and software programmer. Not a lot happens, just sound events to be listened to and spaces where sounds might occur. You bring as much to it as the musicians. The music is full of possibilities: of texture and colour, irregularities and questions.

Radu is a trombonist, composer, improviser, thinker and my bet for champion of any INSTAL 09 chess tournament.  He came out of the free jazz and improv scenes in the 70’s (Playing with some serious heavyweights: Misha Mengelberg, Tony Oxley, Hugh Davies, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Paul Lytton, Paul Lovens, Phil Minton, Joe McPhee, Roscoe Mitchell…), but has slowly moved towards a much more reduced approach; something less talkative, let’s say.  Klaus is the author of the great Lloopp software (Lloopp is the software of choice for a who's who of experimental musicians. It is software written in max/msp, designed for live improvising. It’s freeware, open source, copyleft. It’s written by artists who use this same software for their performances) and an extremely interesting (though sometimes underrated/ not widely enough known) improviser.


What are they doing?


Radu’s compositions and improvisations strip music to a bare minimum, striving constantly to discover the exact point at which sound resonates the clearest amidst long drawn out silences, asking you to concentrate, to listen.  Is the act of listening inseparable from making sound? Klaus works with electronic sound (a lot of the time pure sine waves but now and again more detailed, wavering and timbral tones), often in duo situations to create serene, but occasionally rough-edged explorations of acoustic phenomena: difference tones, beating patterns and the like.  He can sound like an improvised Alvin Lucier.  Kind of like a beautiful and precision-engineered auricular examination.


Why is it interesting?


Well, then. Something that is interesting about this duo, about both of these guys’ approaches, is that (in keeping with lots of stuff at this years festival) their performances are really about process, materialism, and potential. Because for e.g., first off, you are asked to consider the properties of a series of sounds, on their own or in combination.  Sounds are made either on Radu’s trombone or Klaus’s laptop.  They’re placed in a good deal of space.  I don’t think they mean or represent anything.  They’re just sounds.  This allows the material properties of the sounds to become central: you can think about their shape (are they round/ jagged?), colour, texture (rough/ smooth?) or warmth.  It’s a consideration of sound totally removed from meaning.   I’m not a big fan of ‘meaning’. And then secondly, by accepting action and inaction as equals they create a music of potential.  How do you take one more step, is it easy or difficult, when you should take it, what impetus do you need? You are either listening to a space in which there is the potential for a musical action/ sound, or your listening to the potential of that sound itself.

  • Audio