A single concert in two sets for my thrid day in a row at Instants Chavirés
Schnack is a duo of Paul Hubweber on trombone and Uli Böttcher on laptop. Böttcher picks up the trombone's signal that he processes in realtime, so we get an alternation of acoustic trombone with amplified distorted digitalised trombone. On this date they had Michel Waiswisz with his singular MIDI controlled gloves as a guest.
They played numerous short or medium short pieces with sometimes Schnack operating as a duo, some small solo sections, several electronic duos between Waiswisz & Böttcher.
There where mainly 2 ways into the music: either Hubweber starts with his trombone and the electronics soon join in, drowning him at points but always allowing him to emerge again. Either the electronics start together and Hubweber sooner or later takes a dive into the music with his powerful sound, sometimes free jazzy, sometimes more into texture and extended techniques (if we agree that mutes are a kind of extended technique for the trombone). One of his mutes is a thick plastic glass that vibrates on the bridge producing a very fast beating that turns into a huge white noise when picked-up by the laptop.
The music in general is a maelstrom of digital and midi sounds, pierced by trombone erruptions, moving very fast, shifting from layers to broken rythms, digital explosions and tones, feedbacks, oscilating soundwaves, engine type sounds and doepler effects. Very agitated and on the very limit of chaos. Only at very brief moments did the music soften or lay down into more ambient or horizental soundscapes, the longest one being the very end of the concert with Waiswisz creating a hypnotising multiphonical slow pace drone that the other two could build or modulate on.
Some of the pieces where astounding, highly original and full of surprises, an overall very playful atmosphere between the musicians made the concert a big pleasure to watch. Naturally some pieces did not work this well and some inbalance between the volumes of the electronics through the 4 speakers where the weaker points of the performance. In the beginning of each set I am a bit sceptic but it keeps getting better in totally unexpected ways, sometimes the music would almost U-turn on itself. Big pleasure as well to see such lively electronics, Waiswisz using his whole body movement and Böttcher going from laptop to a joystick controller. Equally the cyber version of Hubweber gives us an obvious sound/movement equivalence.