fuhler / prins the flirts
erstwhile records cd 017
cor fuhler ems synthi aks, turntables, mbiras
gert-jan prins electronics, fm-modulations, radio
high pass tipped red
recorded in january/april 2001 at studio prins, amsterdam
design and photography by Friederike Paetzold
press release from Erstwhile: September 2001
Cor Fuhler and Gert-Jan Prins are both prominent members of the European improv world. Both live in
Amsterdam, yet their paths rarely crossed before they became involved in the initial incarnation of MIMEO in
1997.Fuhler is primarily known for his work as a pianist, in ongoing projects with such mainstays of the Dutch
scene as Han Bennink, Michael Moore and Tristan Honsinger. He released a superb solo prepared piano CD
in 1994, 7CC in IO (Geestgronden). In The Flirts, Fuhler manipulates sounds from turntables and mbiras,
filtering them through an analogue synth. Prins' background is as a drummer, but over the past decade, he's
focused almost exclusively on electronic noise-based music, using radio and television transmitters to create
a distinctive, physical sound. In 2000, he released a solo CD on Grob, Prins Live, as well as a superb trio CD
with Thomas Lehn and Peter Van Bergen, E-RAX Live At the Bimhuis, on his own label, X-Or. Both Fuhler and
Prins are also still members of MIMEO. Since joining MIMEO, Fuhler and Prins have worked more and more
together, in and out of the band, and in early 2001, they recorded The Flirts over the course of two studio
sessions in Amsterdam. The Flirts combines a relentless yet subdued energy with an endless stream of fresh
ideas, resulting in a CD that is seemingly chaotic, yet very musical.
more info on cor fuhler see: http://www.euronet.nl/users/fuhler/
The Flirts combines a relentless yet subdued energy with an endless stream of fresh
ideas, resulting in a CD that is seemingly chaotic, yet very musical.
The stunning packaging was entirely created by NYC-based designer Friederike Paetzold
Prins Live was one of the best records of 2000. Here returns the man with Cor Fuhler: a serious, tender and yet
kicking approach thatis never just music. The real virtuality! -Marcus Schmickler
Amsterdam residents Cor Fuhler and Gert-Jan Prins are both founding members of MIMEO, an improvisation
collective in existence since 1997. Fuhler is probably better know for his work as a pianist; see his solo CD
titled 7CC in IO, released in 1994 on Geestgronden. Here he performs on analogue synth (the EMS Synthi KS)
which he uses to filter the sounds he conjures from turntables and mbiras (thumb pianos from Zimbabwe).
Prins, although he has a background as a drummer, here performs on electronics, FM modulations and
radio. Lately Prins has been working within the noise scene, as evidenced in his solo CD, Prins Live, released
on Grob last year. Recorded earlier this year, The Flirts presents seven improvisations of varying length.
The arrangements are busy and brimming with activity; pulses, crackles, grating sounds, static and hiss are all
in constant motion. The sound is neither extra quiet nor extra noisy; it remains in this sort of middle ground, full
of short sounds that flutter in and out of the sound field in constant flux. There's a marked physicality in this
music; as if the performers are physically tearing out the sounds from their machines. When considering the
nature of this music, the title of the CD seems quite apt; this is music that flirts with ideas of constancy and
regularity; it teases the listener by being in constant motion and never sitting still. But all these sharp contrasts
and abstract textures are a compelling combination with an impressive sound dynamic. Challenging surely,
even a little unnerving for its refusal to rest even for a moment, but in this album Fuhler and Prins have created
a fabulous beast. Richard Di Santo, Incursion Music Review (www.incursion.org)
GERT-JAN PRINS & COR FUHLER "The Flirts" (Erstwhile) CD
Despite releasing one of the most interesting solo piano albums of last decade ("7 CC in 10"), Cor Fuhler isn't
exactly a household name. Unfortunately, that album received remarkably little distribution, even in Europe.
Here, playing with Dutch electronic musician Gert-Jan Prins (fellow member of M.I.M.E.O. & well documented
on the X-OR label he once founded with Luc Houtkamp).Fuhler abandons the piano in favor of synthesizer,
turntables, and other electronic paraphernalia. The result gives little reminder of the tranquility of his
earlier work, instead creating a vivid, rapidly shifting work of electronic edits more in tune with the
Austrian School of contemporary abstract electronics (Farmer's Manual or Pita) then Morton Feldman.
Ranging from reverb-drenched percussion sound to harsh electronic grating,"The Flirts"dissects the dynamics
of the relationship between improvisational duos. [MG]
Cor Fuhler and Gert-Jan Prins create rude, dirty electro-acoustic improvised music. The sounds heard herein
are rarely pristine or pure; they carry smudges, burs, a patina of substances that would stain your fingers,
abrade your nails. Yet there is also a grace and lightness of foot, allowing the pieces to describe a dance over
and between the grime, enabling a thrilling and evocative set of music. The titles of the improvisations and the
disc's packaging, combining floral terms and motifs with ones derived from circuitry and electronic imaging,
go a good distance in suggesting the kind of territory this duo navigates.Most of the cuts have a low end rumble
of one type or another; here some subsonic FM frequencies, there an electronically altered mbira plucked by
unseen giants. Above and through this sound-base slide volleys of liquid, slithering tones, found radio extracts,
bursts of static and sputters of undefinable noise. What's most impressive is that, given the extremely abstract
nature of most of the material, there is virtually always a driving impetus, a robust, forward-leaning thrust to the
improvisations that provides an irresistible sense of drama. Indeed, one could imagine this music serving
superbly as a soundtrack to an especially dark film by some future Tarkovsky. Though Fuhler and Prins wield
separate and distinct instruments, it's generally impossible to say who's doing what at a particular moment
which is one of the points of this genre. For all of the primal force of the music, there is little if any overt ego
involved; each musician's contribution is subsumed within the overarching structure of the improvisation.
The Flirts is a superb example of the rougher edge of electro-acoustic improv at the beginning of the
21st century and is very highly recommended for adventurous listeners.
Brian Olewnick All Music Guide database (www.allmusic.com)
GERT-JAN PRINS Live CD [Grob]; COR FUHLER/GERT-JAN PRINS The Flirts CD [Erstwhile]
As wonderful is his duo with compatriot Cor Fuhler, who, like Prins, has gradually progressed from Bimhuis
improv into electronic experimentation. This is a quite befuddling duo (as on Live, Prins utilises electronics,
FM modulations and radio; Fuhler employs EMS Synthi AKS, turntables and mbiras), whose interaction is in a
constant state of flux, and one whose ideas flow so liberally and create music which is at times so
disorientating that it feels as though one is listening to it through some sort of prismic filter.
The disc's most rapid rate of change is achieved on 'Fuchsine Rill', a fractally splintering, synapse-addling
flood of sound which cross-fertilises Prins's high-speed pitch fractures with Fuhler's sweeping swathes of
broadband noise interference in giddily gleeful sonic-overload collages (which develop at a rate comparable
to the more frenetic moments on this label's previous Thomas Lehn/Marcus Schmickler duo).
The inorganic nature of the sounds and the sheer speed of some of the playing mean that it's often difficult to
work out who's doing what, a conundrum complicated by the fact that the two seem ever-ready to swap roles.
They wisely don't attempt to maintain such a pace for the entirety of the disc, however, and the remainder of the
pieces see Fuhler laying down solid blocks of churning sound-rumble, counterpointing Prins's modulated hiss
with fuzzily linked sequences of single sounds, the two brilliantly interweaving outlandish tonal splurges in
mutual sound-shredding binges. Wild, and all-round fantastic; I'd recommend ears be applied to any release
wearing the names of either of these two, post-haste. -Nick Cain Opprobium
Call it Erstwhile's sense of humour, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Friederike Paetzold's
magnificent flower photography and the naughty-but-nice album title are designed to lure unsuspecting
punters into buying the album, in which case they're in for one hell of a shock (perhaps a Venus Fly Trap
might have been a more appropriate choice of flora..). Cor Fuhler, who studied with agent provocateur
Misha Mengelberg (he picked up not only a good grasp of counterpoint but also something of his teacher's
oddball sense of humour), has left his piano behind in favour of an EMS synth, turntables and microphone,
while Gert-Jan Prins (who also released a thoroughly wacky album with Misha and Mats Gustafsson
on theX-OR label) provides "FM modulation", "playing" televisions and radios. Both musicians are members
of Keith Rowe's MIMEO and probably suffered irreparable brain damage during that group's 24-hour concert
last year in Nancy, since "The Flirts" is a relentless barrage of grainy blips, buzzes and fuzzy squeals,
another fascinating and at times infuriating report from the outer wastes of planet music. "Seemingly chaotic,
yet very musical" reads Jon Abbey's press release. Indeed, but maybe depends on what you mean by
"musical".. Some years ago, they blasted a probe out into Deep Space containing what they considered to be
representative samples of Great Art, presumably with a view to convincing intelligent life out there that Earth
was a worthwhile destination for extraterrestrial tourism. If at a later date they find the money to send another
one out, I suggest the powers that be include "The Flirts" instead of J.S.Bach, if only to ensure that any
potential space invaders steer well clear of this insane little planet.
Dan Warburton, from his web site Paris Transatlantic (www.paristransatlantic.com)
COR FUHLER/GERT-JAN PRINS - The Flirts (Erstwhile 017)
Hard to believe that our favorite local electronic/improv label - Erstwhile - has 18 releases in less than three
years, with two more cds before the end of this year, but this is the case and our good pal & label-head
Jon Abbey should feel proud of his provocative catalogue.Both of the Flirts live in Amsterdam, but rarely
crossed paths before working with MIMEO. Fuhler is an engaging modern pianist who has worked with
Han Bennink, Michael Moore and Tristan Honsinger and has a solo prepared piano cd out from 1994.
In this duo, Fuhler plays synth, turntables and manipulates mbiras (an African thumb piano). Prins is known
as a drummer, but recently has worked with electronics and radio transmissions. Their recent set at Tonic
reminded me somewhat of Voice Crack with their unique use of table-top electronics and sonic manipulations.
This release commences with "J-Fetrose", which also features highly selective electronic manipulations
-layers of static, plucked mbira fragments and other fascinating but hard to describe noises- sometimes harsh
sometimes subtle - unfold as things flow, erupt or connect. Each piece seems to explore different
sonic terrain - on "Fuchsine Rill" the radio transmissions and static explode in violent and intense ways - it is
quite unnerving. I keep thinking that my neighbors must think I am nuts, but they often listen to louder music
than me, so why should they complain. There is still quite a bit of variety and dynamic range found among the
ever-shifting noises and quite a bit of focused and refined improvised noise. Some of this sounds like tape
(music concrete) or sampler manipulations, although none of that is employed here.I am glad that the intensity
lets up on "Latcho Freqpollen" so that I am not reminded of the horrors of the dentist's drill that keeps my teeth
gritting. "Tulip Creek" is also a more restrained piece with softer blips, static and other fractured sounds
flowing at a more relaxed pace. While listening closely to this evolving tapestry, I realize that it the shapes of
the selective sounds and the placement of the sonic fabrics that makes this so successful and engaging.
The outcome is much like modern art, since the sonic shapes and textures are what makes it easier to grasp.
When Erstwhile brings out its 20th cd in the next month or so, it will a time of celebration, but until them you can
challenge yourself with the grand work of Cor Fuhler and Gert-Jan Prins aka - The Flirts!
Downtown Music Gallery newsletter, a NYC record store, written by Bruce Gallanter
I recently saw this album listed as a "rock" record. Cool! There's no denying that The Flirts sounds like the
name of a garage band. And it may be that, years from now, we might look back on this period in
electro-acoustic improve in the way that we look back on the Stooges, the MC5, or Mino Threat, all early
progenitors of a now-stable genre. But there's also something straight-up nasty about this record, and I mean
that in the most admiring sense possible. For anybody who expects to hear the Cor Fuhler of Bellagram
(his fine piano trio recording) or the Gert-Jan Prins of his more "jazzy" duos with Luc Houtkamp, best to rethink
your expectations. These fellows have been working consistently at their duo language since first playing
together in MIMEO several years ago. With an arsenal of devices ranging from the analog to the digital, these
two sonic maestros follow the weirdest, most cracked of muses. Sounds rip out of and escape from speakers
with shocking suddenness: a needle being dragged across an LP, shredding speaker cones, subways
rumbling below ground, shooting geysers of foam and spume. As focused as some other recent Erstwhile
releases have been say,- the subtle tweaks of Right After or the epic journey of Weather Sky -The Flirts is a
recording of raucous abandon. This isn't to say that it lacks subtlety or precision in any way; the mercurial
music requires far too much intelligence and fleetness of response for that. But it is more immediately
explosive than one might expect. I've listened to this one in any number of settings: at home late at night, in the
car while blazing through industrial cities, outside amidst the early spring heat and bloom. It always seems
both appropriate and startling in its multiplicity, a riot of sounds destined to become the soundtrack for
whatever you're doing. On pieces like "Fuchsine Rill" or "High Pass Tipped Red," the sounds billow forth at
such a prodigious rate and with such amazing variety, that I always feel like I am listening to something
primeval, like the flow of lava from a volcano or something. I'm not sure how good all this is for my hearing, but
this album should be considered fairly essential for those willing to take the risk.
review by Jason Bivins www.onefinalnote.com
An intense CD of all-electronic improvisation. We think this is the first release by Fuhler and Prins together
(which could be one reason they called it The Flirts), although they're well-established in the
Euro improv scene. Their partnership is another offshoot of the grand MIMEO orchestra which was
organised under the auspices of the magisterial Keith Rowe. MIMEO also contains elements of MEGO
laptoppery, some Japanese 'Onkyo' players, and more traditional European jazz-derived improvisers;
besides being a splendid collective that unites so many of these diverse trends in modern music, it
might be leading to further developments, like the present recording.
Both the players have thrown themselves headlong into live electronics, although they started with different
disciplines - Fuhler as a pianist, Prins as a drummer. Possibly for one of them this is the first time he has
used electronic and non-musical instruments to the exclusion of all other instruments (so he's 'flirting' with
his equipment as well). The music certainly lives up to the name, much of it being highly energetic and bubbly,
rushing about a lot of the time with some (relatively) quiet periods. If you're worried that this might mean 'noisy',
fret not: part of the music can be noisy especially towards the end where there are some industrial-strength
booms but Fuhler and Prins adopt a restrained, almost minimal approach throughout and include some
delicate moments as well - they sure know how to handle the dynamics of the music and the equipment.
Recorded in Prins's studio in Amsterdam, the feeling that emerges after 55 minutes of this stuff is slightly
claustrophobic, the sense of studious researchers elaborating and refining their crazy theories of noise.
Though there are seven tracks, it's probably best to hear this CD as one continuous recording;
after you've heard it a few times, you will soon be able to work out when the tracks start and finish, plus
you'll also appreciate the musicians' confidence in shaping the music and creating a very lively little beast
in the process. The Flirts is abrasive and gritty -not a friendly set of tunes. The music gets vicious at times,
presenting barbed-wire fences to the listener who dares to make a dash across the no-man's land.
Plenty of noisy twittering, wasps' nests exploding, and clockwork beetles running amok.
Each sound carries its own particular brand of built-in repellence, be it the harsh squealings of turntables fed
through Cor Fuhler's EMS Synthi AKS (one of Merzbow's weapons of choice, we believe), or the wild and
detuned FM modulations and radio blasts emanating from the kingdom of Prins. At first spin, everything about
The Flirts appears utterly random and confused; a few more listens, though, and the continuity starts to leak
through. It's still crazy; barely a single phrase is left untreated, everything is distressed or disrupted to some
degree. Followers of Mego who may feel a bit let down with some of that label's recent offerings, rejoice: this is
Mego-style music you can listen to without having to apologise to your friends that you're still listening to Mego.
One might also say that the spirit of AMM lives on in crystalline fragments such as this, each one like a
diamond containing a little of the fire of the great mineral from which it was struck.
The computer-generated plant porn art by Friederike Paetzold is also sure to generate some lively
conversation amongst your coterie, though what you will make of the front sleeve where two flowers are on the
verge of pollinating each other may depend on where you live and your religious / social backgrounds ....
assuming you live in a country where such an image is not censored ...
their stamens like crossed swords...what evil blooms may result?
the Sound Projector: Ed Pinsent / Jennifer Hor
Dans ce label qui explore la porosité des silences post-modernes, voici un étrange travail. Plongée dans la vie
même des fleurs. Univers impitoyable de la géométrie florale. Une géométrie animée, qui travaille pour piéger
et se reproduire. Des armes de guerre. Des bruits. Relations entre la plante et l'extérieur, les visiteurs,
les intrus, les dangers. Un organisme si fragile qu'il est une ruche trépidante de signaux sonores en tous
genres. D'une complexité difficile à décoder. Soundtrack pour la guerre de la pollenisation. Sécrétions. Chimie
et robotique. Ces encensoirs naturels de poésie se révèlent de troublantes usines. Et c'est fait de micro
voilures dans la tempête. Soies froissées, tissus chiffonnés, membranes soniques du calice travaillées,
tendues, chargées de poussières. Flexibilité, détente. Mille stress de pétales. Surprenant.
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