At A Moment’s Notice collects together three pieces by Berlin-based Stefan Goldmann, a peripatetic sonic auteur for whom the loose, oft-used handles of ‘producer’ and ‘DJ’ somehow no longer adequately fit his work. Goldmann may have come to prominence through techno, and its devices may still inform his creative methods, but At A Moment’s Notice bears no resemblance to music fixed to a grid.
This new collection for The Wormhole, the always surprising, never predictable offshoot of The Tapeworm, finds Goldmann on location at Café Oto for a solo electronic performance in those heady, pre-pandemic days of 2019, a performance from some seven years before with .es (Takayuki Hashimoto on alto sax, shakuhachi, harmonica and guitar and Sara Dotes on piano and percussion), in between which is a solo Goldmann piece for electric guitar – the latter as clear a signifier as any that Goldmann won’t even be pigeonholed into the electronica genre.
That central guitar piece, ‘Echoes Of An Era’, takes the form of a desert-washed blues loop. The guitar loop is layered and subjected to effects that lift it out of arid predictability into sonic vibrancy, while still sounding like the perfect soundtrack to standing beside your car on the side of an empty road waiting for a mechanic to arrive from the closest one-horse town with a can of gas.
A semblance of that bluesy tonality appears with Hashimoto’s harmonica about twelve minutes in to the Goldmann & .es performance recorded at Osaka’s Nomart Gallery in July 2012. Hashimoto is omnipresent on the performance, but it’s when he puts down the sax and picks up the harmonica that things really start to fly; inchoate piano musing and quiet electronics are suddenly replaced by industrial-strength blocks of sound and rhythm, after which the re-emergence of howling sax feels more logical. By its denouement, ‘12.07.2012’ feels like a guided tour of an illegal Osakan sweat shop, its final bass pulse and wobbly piano suggestive of a getaway car speeding away from the heat and terror of a few minutes before.
The Oto performance (‘29.09.2019’) is more assuredly electronic, but still refreshingly unpredictable. Here Goldmann runs through a cascading array of pulses, tones, sinewaves, drones and varispeed rhythms, skipping from idea to idea without ever languishing anywhere for long enough to get comfortable. At its most structured, ‘29.09.2019’ sounds like early Pan Sonic jamming with an 8-bit video game soundtrack to a game that no one remembers; at its most free, it’s like surfing on the aura of a self-generating fractal.
At A Moment’s Notice by Stefan Goldmann is released August 6 2021 by The Wormhole / The Tapeworm. With thanks to Philip. (This is not a Mortality Tables Product, but we probably could make it one if we thought about it.)
Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2021 Further.