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A project by
Bernhard Lang and Alter Ego with Philip Jeck
TablesAreTurned (2011) WP/CW

Bernhard Lang idea/composition

Philip Jeck turntable / vinyl LPs

Alter Ego

Commissioned and produced by MaerzMusik | Berliner Festspiele, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Wien Modern, November Music’s-Hertogenbosch and Wundergrund Festival Copenhagen. Supported by Réseau Varèse – European Network for the Creation and Promotion of New Music, with funds from the European Union’s “Culture” Programme

Discovering the loop as a means of deconstruction was a crucial step in the development of modern aesthetics. A necessary bridge was built between the electronic underground and contemporary music, enabling a new reading. The effect of this is a completely new re-interpretation of the original narrative: something pathetic becomes ironic, something trivial shows a fascinating complexity and something quite humorous becomes menacing or obsessive.
Based on its unpredictable and surprising properties the vinyl (as a loop generator) in combination with a turntable has become an ideal instrument of improvisation for contemporary composers, a great device and incentive to transform today’s electronic-pop music by means of improvisation. On the other hand it is a source of great inspiration for original artistic creation, somehow reminiscent of Debussy transcribing Gamelan, Ravel transcribing early Jazz, Ligeti transcribing South African Kalmia-Music, Messiaen transcribing Birdsong.
The Austrian composer Bernhard Lang can be counted among those artists who are genuinely able to transform an ensemble into a gigantic, vibrant turntable – see for example his series of works DW Differenz/Wiederholung (Difference/Repetition), developed over many years.
Philip Jeck, on the other side of the channel, is known for conducting phantom orchestras of old record players. Liberated from the junk shop, his army of lo-fi phonographs generate a mighty static dust cloud. His interest in turntables begins where most people's stop: at the last bit of the record and with vinyl that has been chucked in the bin.
Tables suspended between “dark” and “light” Are being Turned towards neither (or perhaps both at once).
This project is incorporated in a many year collaboration between Philip Jeck and Bernhard Lang which includes orchestra pieces and ensemble work.