Stefan Goldmann

Haven’t I Seen You Before

Artwork: grohs

from the label:


Stefan Goldmann writes…

“Since I'm a less than mediocre guitar player, but a quite versatile editing engineer with a decade of experience of handling samplers and midi-sequencers, I could finally realize an old project which I can trace back to a lesson with my bass teacher in my teen days. He had found out a bass player with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra had recorded hours of improvisations and paid an engineer to cut it together into an enjoyable “jazz” album. The teacher, a profound jazz player himself, found this to be some sort of scam, while I was deeply impressed by the idea of merging hi-tech and improvisation. Finally I had a reason to play and record some guitar for this fine project and cut it to death afterwards (and I honestly hope no one will ever hear the source tapes - I'll have to make a note to erase the tapes tomorrow!).  
“Haven't I seen you before” is a cycle of five pieces, with two versions each, so it can be listened to as a continuous performance, as well as looped recordings when employing the reverse function some cassette players have. The latter can be done at any point, since the parts on the A and B sides match. All material in this album has a guitar (amplified and microphoned simultaneously) as its only sound source. These initial recordings were cut into loops with durations ranging from a fraction of a second to more than a minute. They were arranged into compositions, adding reverb, stereo panorama and volume adjustments. Layering the loops creates polymetric structures, but I've tried to avoid the usual loop minimalism by the sheer number of looped segments which appear and disappear at distinctly different rates. Micro-loops vs macro-loops is the main structural feature of the music on this cassette, playing around with a key feature of the format (isn't it a shame creators tend to overlook there are different benefits to each format, be it vinyl, CD or cassette?). 
Three recordings inspired this effort: John McLaughlin's 1970 “My Goal's Beyond” album, which offered a side of multitrack solo guitar improvisations (I believe this was the first jazz record to do this) as well as his unreleased guitar/voice album with his wife (“John and Eve McLaughlin”). McLaughlin was heavily under the influence of Guru Sri Chinmoy and both albums have this very unique dark drug/sect edge, adding an extremely intense quality to the modal guitar figures (well, probably also due to the Indian music he has been studying and merging with some impressionist composition techniques). I have tried to capture a bit of the mood and apply it to a loop based cut up orgy. Another crucial record to me has been Derek Bailey's “Ballads” - I've been astonished by the tidal movements in and out of the standards he's playing around with. So there is a harmonic base to my guitar mishandling, which is present throughout the entire album - moving in and out of it. I'd also like to note I applied an altered tuning to the guitar to achieve different natural harmonics than the ones one gets with the standard tuning - and not to give in to the temptation of cutting some blues licks.” – Stefan Goldmann, Berlin, 5 Nov 2009