Comae (UK)


The Saturday night programme at the Kiasma Theatre takes the listener deeper and deeper into the indefinable layers of experimental music. The headlining act is the British duo Comae whose debut CD has just been released in Austria. However, Comae’s Robert Hampson and Janek Schaefer have long been renowned masters in their field. Schaefer started out by making sound installations and got his breakthrough in the late 90's by playing self-built turntables with many special features such as several tone arms, records revolving eccentrically, etc. In his own way, Schaefer carries on the avant-garde turntablism traditions of Otomo Yoshihide, Christian Marclay & co. by producing new sounds on his decks instead of actually playing them. Robert Hampson, who belongs to an older generation, used to play in the legendary drone rock band Loop in the 80's. In the 90's, he took the deconstruction of the electric guitar much further than the minimalist repetition Loop became famous for, and started to produce, under the project name Main, a kind of anti-ambient, beatless electric guitar music that, in accordance with the traditions of musique concrète, totally managed to obscure the origins of the sounds. Hampson is an important figure who has paved the way for artists like Circle and Fennesz, who is featured on this year's Avanto compilation CD.

As Comae, instead of playing guitar and the turntables, Hampson and Schaefer have abstracted their sounds a degree further by transferring them into the memory of their individual machines, which they then use to improvise. Schaefer and Hampson are united by their common interest in the spatial perception of sound. Although this kind of statement is often associated with the rhetoric of ambient music, their compositions force one to listen with utter care - something that only a few ambient classics manage to achieve. Comae’s sophisticated, quiet soundscapes are filled with details, unexpected turns and optical illusions. Experimental sound film at its best - without the actual film! AN

Saturday 10.11.2001 - Kiasma Theatre
20:00 - Live: Comae