Zeitkratzer featuring Manuel Göttsching, Berlin, March 25, 2005

From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)

To see a move of chess LIVE...

...sounds rather simple and unimpressive, on first sight. But if it is possible to see a musical Chess move live, it is different; and then there is another important component, genius musician Manuel Göttsching, who makes it special.

The Berliner Volksbühne is the place where E2-E4 - composed in 1981, released three years later - has been performed live for the first time during a record release concert of "Zeitkratzer" (Time Scratchers). Zeitkratzer are 10 people, one of the craziest, most demanding and most interesting ensembles for "Neue Musik" in Germany.

This concert consisted of two parts, and began with two more than unusual interpretations, making me shout inside "Let it stop". The third piece (a composition by Terre Thaemlitz) made my tortured ears unfold again, for a theme and a rhythm were clearly recognizable. The first part of the concert concluded a rather ambient piece by Carsten Nicolai.

Then a break and two short but intense pieces. Terre Thaemlitz on piano and voice played the best piece of the evening so far.

As Manuel Götttsching the entered the stage, I realized that the E2-E4 live performance was imminent. The first two bars were enough to introduce the theme, so simple but yet so fascinating - one of the most sampled pieces of electronic music.

The well coordinated play of all Zeitkratzer instruments and Manuel Göttsching on acoustic guitar was never dominated by any of them, which made it immensely exciting to be there, and to listen.

Very restrained and melancholy in the beginning, the "chess move" developed. The typical Göttsching guitar sounds became stronger and slowly took over the main timbre of this E2-E4 version. All played together perfectly, which awarded the 22 minute chess move with a long applause from the 460 spectators. Even a 3.30 minute reprise followed.

All in all, once again Manuel Göttsching succeeded in creating a perfect sound sensation, this time together with Zeitkratzer ensemble.

E2-E4 E-ternity !!!

Reviewed by Heiko Neumann (www.tribute-to-ashra.de)

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