Trends in avant-turntabling have come a long way since Christian Marclay began using vinyl as an element with Bachelors, even back in 1980. Where the technique once relied on large gestures and the sonic qualities of vinyl itself as cornerstones, the current approach is far more subtle and nuanced. This quartet featured two of the form’s best practitioners — Montreal polymath Martin Tétreault and Vienna’s Dieb 13, along with Austrian trumpeter Franz Hautzinger and France’s Isabelle Duthoit on clarinet and vocals.
As with much current Austrian music, the volume for most of the performance was very low: small events of voice and breath-through-trumpet, matched with minimally treated electronics using turntables as their sound source. Several passages were much more aggressive and loud, especially after Duthoit started playing clarinet, but the feel was very much in line with chamber music of futuristic design. The group played one long piece, “where is the sun,” with machine clicks providing whatever rhythm existed, and the highly tamped melodies were only occasionally pierced by instrumental or vocal shrieks.
It was riveting stuff, in the most abstract way.