Birgit Ulher, trumpet, radio, speaker, objects
Ilia Belorukov, ipad with sine waves, mini-speakers with preparations, objects
Andrey Popovskiy, motors, ebows, mini-amp, dictaphone, contact mic, surfaces, objects
1. Birgit Ulher, trumpet, radio, speaker, objects (24’04’’) mp3 excerpt
2. Ilia Belorukov / Andrey Popovskiy / Birgit Ulher (12’04’’) mp3 excerpt
CDR, 100 copies, cardboard sleeve,
recorded on June 1st and 3rd 2012 by Andrey Popovskiy
at Teni Zvuka Festival, Experimental Sound Gallery in St. Petersburg
mixed and mastered by Ilia Belorukov and Boris Vogeler
photo by Birgit Ulher
thanks to Boris Vogeler, Gregory Büttner and Teni Zvuka
all music by Ulher/Belorukov/Popovskiy
Trumpeter Birgit Ulher has been active as an improvising trumpeter for more than three decades now, yet her abrasive, texturally interesting approach to the instrument sounds as vital as ever. Recorded on a 2012 visit to St Petersburg, her solo set takes up two thirds of this new disc and serves as a good introduction to her distinctive technique. Using ceramic tiles, metal plates and other items to distort the sound of her instrument, Ulher’s music consists of brittle purrs, grainy percussion and gassy roars, which she sets out one after another to form a fragile but cohesive narrative. If the solo is a good introduction, then the brief trio that follows with locals Belorukov and Popovskiy is an engaging animal. With Belorukov utilising an iPad with sine waves, prepared speakers and other objects, and Popovskiy working with an array of items including assorted motors and EBows placed on various surfaces, the trio overlap patches of sharply textured colour and tone to a simple yet very effective end. Tension ensues, without the need for pace or aggression, and a feeling of uncertainty, a sensation of everything about to topple, exists throughout. From such unstable conditions, beauty then emerges.
Richard Pinell, The Wire Magazine, February 2015
Ulher is a free improviser of long standing and impressive pedigree, working solo and in numerous collaborative settings, performing, lecturing and organising festivals. This release documents a performance at the Teni Zvuka Festival in St. Petersburg one long solo piece, one shorter track as part of a trio with Ilia Belorukov and Andrey Popovskiy.
The first track is a severe blast of abstract industrial noises, which arrive in clusters, like beads on a necklace. Ulher’s chosen instrument is the trumpet, although you might not guess that just by listening. She seems to have achieved that Zen level of expertise that gives someone such command of their instrument that it sounds like something else entirely. In this case, some sort of drill, and the sort of suction noise you might hear if all the air suddenly escaped from your spacesuit.
As well as trumpet, “radio, speaker and objects” are also deployed, introducing vibrations, rattles, tweets and flutters. The second track is brasher and more tinnitus-inducing, as Belorukov wields an iPad loaded with sine wave tones like a scimitar and Popovskiy forcibly extracts sounds from a succession of miniature electronic devices.
Ed Pinsent, May 25, 2015, thesoundprojector.com
En solo et en trio avec Ilia Belorukov et Andrey Popovskiy, c’est ici Birgit Ulher en concert, les 1er et 3 juin 2012 à Saint-Petersbourg. Seule, elle organise le chant d’objets qu’elle fait trembler à coups de ponctuation autoritaire mais chantant merveilleusement. En trio, Ulher doit faire avec une électronique perçante : maintenant ajourée, la trompette y reçoit des raies de lumière au son d’une formidable conversation électroacoustique.
Guillaume Belhomme, grisli.canalblog.com, 2015/05/27
Two tracks, one solo Ulher (trumpet, radio, speaker, objects), one trio with Belorukov (ipad with sine waves, mini-speakers with preparations, objects) and Popovsky (motors, ebows, mini-amp, dictaphone, contact mic, surfaces, objects).
Ulher's set begins with some of the most purely percussive playing I've ever from here, I think, the trumpet at this point more resembling a snare drum. From there, she constructs a 24-minute piece that fairly zips by, one limber idea after another. It's hard for me to pin down in any quantitative way but although Ulher uses many approaches to her instrument that are apparently similar to, say, Greg Kelley, something about her music always sounds unique, sometimes nervous and slippery, sometimes strangely calm despite the rapid succession of attacks. It's marvelous work, some of my favorite music from any free improvising trumpeter.
The trio piece, only 12 minutes long, is a quiet, percolating track, with Belarukov and Popovsky contributing subtle enough sounds that it almost seems like Ulher with accompaniment, but their music really enhances hers and also impairs a fine sense of the space they're inhabiting, the trumpeter's metallic screeches floating atop the softly bubbling/prickly electronics. Good stuff, solid release.
Brian Olewnick, Just outside, October 13, 2014
[...] And so to the artist who provided my first link to Büttner and 1000füssler, Birgit Ulher. The final release in this batch sees Ulher recorded live at the Teni Zvuka festival in St. Petersburg in 2012, playing solo and in a group with local experimenters Ilia Belorukov and Andrey Popovskiy.
Ulher deploys her usual setup of trumpet augmented with speakers, radios and objects, with a feisty solo performance that’s full of strained wheezes, rushing blasts of air and metallic scuffs.
It’s an entertaining set, nicely recorded too, with some unexpected twists and turns despite staying within her own well-defined parameters.
There’s a very nice section at about six minutes 50, where a series of gleeful chirrups alternates with a kind of boiling kettle whistle in an abrasive duet. Then at about 17 minutes, a mysterious, gaseous whoosh takes things into a cosmic dimension before this too fades to be replaced by a series of watery gurgles. Frosty.
Ulher’s trio with Belorukov and Popovskiy expands on these explorations somewhat, with Belorukov adding some astringent sine wave tones, manipulated via an iPad, and Popovskiy conjuring a variety of noises from a collection of mini-speakers and amps.
At around seven minutes it’s a relatively short collaboration, much less aggressive than Ulher’s solo set, at times almost ambient with its wind-like murmurations and understated electronics, the latter occasionally resembling some digital alarm clock rousing us from an uneasy sleep.
By the end of the piece, however, the mood has changed to something more sinister, with Popovskiy’s scuttles and rattles sounding more like some uninvited visitor, meddling with the windows as the wind blows and rattles outside. A succinct yet atmospheric experiment.
Paul Margree, We need no swords, January 8, 2015