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The Worlds of Ignaz Schick


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It may be a bit of hyperbole to call Ignaz Schick a Renaissance man. If, though, we take architect Leon Battista Alberti's (1404-72) definition "a man can do all things if he will," then labeling Schick with that epithet is not such a stretch. The German composer, musician, turntablist, visual artist, label chief, and inventor has an unconventional and curious innovative mind. Since a young age, he eschewed pop music and was fascinated by the avant-garde. His early contact with Don Cherry was (and is) an inspiration for his musical explorations, which he first channeled into the alto saxophone. Soon it was tape machines and eventually turntables, sampling and field recordings that opened his mind to free jazz and improvisation, noise, glitch, drone, minimalism, third stream, post-rock, feedback, musique concrète, industrial and electro-acoustic music. By the way, in no means is the above list exhaustive.

From early experiments in the saxophone/bass/drums jazz trio Decollage 3, Schick formed Perlonex, transitioning in live-electronics with Burkhard Beins (guitar) and Jörg Maria Zeger (percussion). He established a long—standing musical relationship with Andrea Neumann and worked with the free improvisation supergroup Phosphor. From there his creative appetite exploded into nearly limitless directions that include Sestetto Internazionale, Anáhuac, his Electroacoustic Sextet, Snake Figures Arkestra, and collaborations with the likes of Tony Buck, Chris Abrahams, Achim Kaufmann, Sven-Åke Johansson and Paul Lovens. These discs from his Zarek label are an introduction to the many facets of this talented artist.

Ignaz Schick & Oliver Steidle

ILOG3 is the 3rd ILOG recording Schick has produced with Oliver Steidle. The German drummer leads several groups including Oliver Steidle & The Killing Popes, Oliwood, and Rokc Mysic with Chris Pitsiokos and he can also be heard in Frank Möbus ' Der Rote Bereich. This duo has its roots in the early turntablism of Otomo Yoshihide, Ground Zero, Christian Marclay and BusRatch. Like the artists mentioned, Schick loves to mess with his turntables, altering the wax, the pick ups, and generally wreaking a bit of havoc upon the output. Here besides the turntable he utilizes a pitch shifter/looper and sampler, while Steidle adds to his drums and percussion setup with live electronics. Beats are jump cut with ghostly voices interlaced. The pair start with the kind of NYC Downtown mayhem John Zorn and troupe fashioned back in the day, when there was a Downtown scene. They then take that sound and pump some virtual performance enhancing drugs into their performance. Schick and Steidle exhaust every avenue possible from tonal destruction to futuristic space beats. The only question to answer is, was this music as much fun to create as it is to consume?

Ernst Bier / Gunnar Geisse / Ignaz Schick
Hawking Extended

Ignaz Schick and drummer Ernst Bier reunite for Hawking, having performed as a duo for nearly a decade. This session, recorded in 2018, adds Gunnar Geisse on laptop guitar plus virtual instruments. The trio switches between an acoustic and electric attack, favoring neither over the other option. That simply keeps the the attention focused on their innovative efforts. "Neither Picture Nor Frame" and "system Of Units" follow roistering inebriated paths with Schick's squawking alto saxophone tripping over cascading drums and (virtual?) piano. In contrast "No Boundary Proposal" is a cinematic, electric field recording, akin to a Bernard Herrmann soundtrack to a film by Alfred Hitchcock. Bier, Geisse, and Schick combine the electric with the acoustic "Laws Of Form" where self propelled machine sounds are fueled by busy beats making an insect colony of sound. The creative mix is the focus with the trio never satisfied with one style or direction track to track.

Douglas R. Ewart & Ignaz Schick -Now Is Forever (Zarek, 2023)  Douglas R. Ewart & Ignaz Schick
Now Is Forever

When Ignaz Schick got the chance to record with one of his heroes, he took full advantage with this double album Now Is Forever. The legendary Douglas R. Ewart, born 1946 in Jamaica, moved to Chicago in the 1960s and soon joined forces with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). His pursuits have included that of a multi—instrumentalist, artist, poet, sculptor, instrument builder, and instructor. He can be heard on the recent release, Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light (Astral Spirits, 2021) with Wadada Leo Smith and Mike Reed. His association with Smith, a fellow AACM musician, dates back to performances with the trumpeter, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill in the 1970s.

The pair present five tracks, the shortest "Bamboo Paradise" at 11:18 and the the longest "False Influence II: Kill A Fish For Jesus" clocks in ay 38:24. The remaining tracks are all 20+ minutes. The lengths are significant, in that Ewart and Schick apply a patient and judicious approach throughout. Each track slowly reveals itself with Schick laying down dreamlike layers of looped samples and turntable effects while Ewart alternately works with soprano and alto saxophones, his various flutes, a didgeridoo, English horn and spoken word passages. Ewart's words deal with our environmental crisis and a cyber future with replaceable body parts. The discs are both valuable lessons and deep meditations.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Black Fire; Cycling Flow; Veiled Future; Curved Sunrise; Broken Melancholia; Against The Day; Blurred Positive; Normal Communications; Transition & Grip; One Missing Channel; Hindsight Bias.

Personnel: Ignaz Schick: turntables, sampler, pitch shifter/looper; Oliver Steidle: drums, percussion, sampler, live-electronics.

Hawking Extended

Tracks: Flat Earth; Universe In A Nutshell; The Large Scale; Music With The Letter X; No Boundary Proposal; Neither Picture Nor Frame; The Truth Function; The Darkening; Laws Of Forns; System of Units.

Personnel: Ignaz Schick: alto saxophone, turntables, sampler; Gunnar Geisse: laptop guitar, virtual instruments; Ernst Bier: drums, wave drum, electronics.  

Now Is Forever

Tracks: CD1: The Cup of The universe; The Nature Of Things; False Affluence I: Cheaper That Way, You Know; CD2: False Affluence II: Kill a Fish for Jesus; Bamboo Paradise.

Personnel: Douglas R. Ewart: sopranino & alto saxophone, English horn, shakuhachi, bamboo flutes, didjeridoo, bells, voice/narration; Ignaz Schick: turntables, sampler, looper/pitch shifter, live-sampling, Indonesian oscillator box.



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