Sonic Counterpoint – Reviews

TAKAMOVSKY
SONIC COUNTERPOINT 

REVIEWS (SELECTED EXCERPTS)

Juergen Berlakovich’s “Sonic Counterpoint” is predominantly a solo acoustic guitar performance, but with the most delicate of glitchy and atmospheric electronic production touches, clicks and minimal beats, which complement and modernise its organic, classical core. (…)

Ostensibly there’s a JS Bach connection, with patterns derived from one of Bach’s Cello Suites, but the gentle looping and slowly evolving progressions feel like they have more in common with a Steve Reich work and the result is both modernist and minimalist. (…)

It’s a thoroughly engaging listen. Thirty-six minutes races by and reaching for the ‘play’ button again once it’s done. It’s a genuinely beautiful work… Chain D.L.K., USA

Takamovsky plays classical guitar and there is also a lot of electronics, which might be best described as of the ‚clicks and cuts‘ variety; scratchy, hissy, clicky, even a beat like at times (…) I was thinking of Radiohead here. On paper this might seem an odd couple, the sound of classical acoustic guitar and the electronic world of laptops from the 21st century, but much to my surprise it works very well. (…) It has definitely that classical ring to it, of a guitar playing thoughtful tunes, full of life and joy, sadness, love and all that it can convey. But then there is the beats, the bass, the synth, the processed guitar, stretched out, sustaining and granulating and sometimes playing along each other and at other times alternating between the two. Sometimes throughout ‚pop‘ like, as in the aforementioned vocal song but also in a piece like ‚Sun‘, with it’s more than pleasant armchair beats. In other pieces Takamovsky, such as ‚Tonic‘ he aims for a more ambient approach, full of atmosphere and a bit doomy as such, but it all works very well. I had to get used to the somewhat odd pairing of the two, but after a few repeated plays I enjoyed it more and more. This is some very refined music that is something for the modern household on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  Vital Weekly 1055, NL

Juergen Berlakovich aus Wien glättet die Wogen von Akustikgitarre und Electronica. Sein zweites Album „Sonic Counterpoint“ variiert Passagen aus einer Bach-Cello-Suite mit Hilfe einer verträumten Akustikgitarre und einem Bett aus dezent pochenden Beats. Das Resultat ist noch eine Spur zu kantig, um als Easy Listening eingestuft zu werden und andererseits zu pointiert und behutsam, um auch nur im Warm-Up eines Clubkontexts Einsatz zu erfahren.War aber ohnehin nie Absicht von Takamovsky. Der präsentiert vielmehr eine gereifte und intime Platte, die am Ende in zerfaserten Ambient abdriftet und ihren Klassikboden auf ganzer Spiellänge ungezwungen in Szene setzt. Face, D

German artist Takamovsky aka Juergen Berlakovich has taken an unusual tack on his latest album, using as his starting point a classical guitar rendition of the bourrée from J.S. Bach’s cello suite no. 4. The album quickly veers off into ambient electronic soundscapes and glitchy beats & edits, before returning „da capo“ to the top with a brief reference to the original Bach again at the end of the the final track. „D.C.“ FBI Radio, Sydney 94.5,  AUS

Takamovsky’s second solo album works on the basic premise of juxtaposing the harmonies and structures of early music with electronic sounds. Specifically, the tracks – according to the press release – revolve loosely around a bourrée from Bach’s Cello Suite No 4, BWV 1010, which also simultaneously forms the start and end of Sonic Counterpoint.’ As such, it’s both an electroacoustic work, and a work of traditional and contemporary classical music. Thudding bass beats and clicky microbeats flicker through the spaces in the delicately picked acoustic guitar notes. Initially, the swirling synths are soft-edged, rounded with, the overall feeling is of a very organic nature, but on ‘Sun’, burrs of white static fizz and cut through the soft tones, bringing a harsher edge to things, and the medieval-sounding picked string motif accompanied by a drum ‘n’ bass rhythm and squiggling blurts and bleeps brings the notion of contrast and counterpoint prominently to the fore. The balance and relationship between electronic and acoustic sounds swings between the tracks. It’s perhaps noteworthy, albeit in some small way, that the ‘electronic’ aspect of the compositions is limited to beats and extraneous noise, and as such, the separation between the two worlds is rendered apparent in Takamovsky’s approach. ‘Running in the Background’ is the first and only track to feature vocals, and consequently stands out as something of an oddity – but then again, vocals and lyrics provide a counterpoint to instrumental works, so perhaps it works in context of the theme. The final track, ‘D.C’ is a deep, fuzz-tines swirl of dense, overloading semi-ambient noise, a purely electronic revisioning of the bourrée. It’s interesting, both sonically and conceptually, and although it does seem that it’s not an especially original concept, or that its execution is exactly the height of innovation, it’s still not without merit. Aural Aggravation, GB

Ho ascoltato “Sonic counterpoint”, secondo album dell’elitario musicista ed autore Juergen Berlakovich – studioso di filologia germanica e residente a Vienna, più noto in campo artistico con lo pseudonimo di Takamovsky – sulla linea verde della metropolitana di Milano, tra le fermate di Assago Forum, dove lavoro, e di Garibaldi, dove scendo e cambio tratta. In una fredda serata di novembre, il vagone era affollato di gente che rientrava a casa dopo una giornata in ufficio. Chi chiacchierava, chi telefonava, chi sonnecchiava, chi giocava col cellulare, chi ancora si adirava al pensiero di quella e-mail del capo. Mi sono seduto, ho messo le cuffiette, ho premuto play. In quel momento, il mio piccolo mondo è diventato una boccia di vetro, io ero il pesce rosso che vi nuotava. Il trambusto, il vociare, lo sferragliare della carrozza: tutto si è spento, sono rimasto risucchiato in un sottovuoto irreale, un isolamento condiviso unicamente con Takamovsky e la sua musica indefinibile, altera, aliena. Al crocevia tra classica contemporanea, ambient, elettronica, sperimentazione ed avanguardia, nelle otto tracce strumentali di “Sonic counterpoint” (soltanto in “Running in the background” si affaccia un canto parlato che ricorda i Koop di “Koop Islands”) Juergen consolida il percorso avviato con “In streams” (2013) delineando atmosfere trasognate, sospese, eteree in un flusso confortevole e suadente edificato sui ricami della chitarra acustica ed insistentemente attraversato da suggestioni glitch, interferenze, ripetizioni minimaliste, elementi microstrutturali elevati a materia compositiva. Lavoro sì puntiglioso nel suo rigore concettuale (il primo e l’ultimo minuto, speculari e circolari, sono una bourrée di Bach), ma placidamente evocativo, quasi mistico, fondato su una ipnotica eleganza che rapisce ed ammalia, l’album si snoda lungo un continuum docile e garbato, un volo a planare scandito da note sgranate e languide che rendono i brani differenti tra loro solo per divagazioni infinitesimali, senza che ciò rappresenti un problema né sottragga interesse all’opera compiuta. Fra la sintesi classico/pop dei Saint Lawrence Verge ed il Pat Metheny più pacato e riflessivo, Takamovsky fornisce della propria personale new-age una interpretazione vibrante e toccante, plasmando il suono della sei corde fino a mutarla in uno strumento altro, cesellando una musica ben più che chitarristica, compendio di sequenze serrate frammiste ad oasi di morbida quiete, trame addolcite da un afflato carezzevole solo sporadicamente screziato da microfratture elettroniche. Fra dilatazioni senza tempo (“Ice”), accenni di melodioso trasporto (“Cinescopi”), onde ritmiche che cullano e rinfrancano (la prodigiosa essenzialità di “Sun”), quello di Berlakovich è un mirabile tentativo – in an expression of the inexpressible – di definire un’idea con un linguaggio di provvidenziale semplicità, un viaggio lontano dalla pazza folla, oltre il clamore, oltre il rumore della vita, oltre qualsiasi capolinea, anche quello di Assago Forum. MusicMap, I

Austriacki artysta w bardzo ciekawy sposób łączy elektronikę z brzmieniem gitary klasycznej. Za nazwą Takamovsky kryje się Juergen Berlakovich, chyba najlepiej znany z grupy The Vegetable Orchestra. „Sonic Counterpoint” (22.11.2016 | Etymtone) to jego drugie solowe wydawnictwo. W pierwszej chwili można odnieść wrażenie, że tego typu płyt wychodzi wiele, oczywiście tak jest, ale nie wszystkich da się słuchać choćby kilka razy. Muzyka Takamovsky’ego – jak dla mnie – wyróżnia się na tle często nijakich produkcji zawieszonych między nudą a powielanymi schematami. Berlakovich jest bardzo sprawnym gitarzystą, co potwierdza pierwsze nagranie „Bourré” pochodzące z repertuaru Jana Sebastiana Bacha. W dalszej części płyty gitarzysta prezentuje zupełnie inny świat dźwięków tworzonych przy użyciu elektroniki (glitch, ambient), ale z gitarą klasyczną na pierwszym planie. Muzyka dawna nie znika zupełnie z kompozycji Takamovsky’ego, artysta jest gdzieś po środku dwóch światów. Z jednej strony kontemplacyjny charakter „Sonic Counterpoint” ma coś z twórczości Franka Schültge’a (aka F.S. Blumm), z drugiej – posiada pierwiastek barokowy spod znaku Jozefa van Wissema. Nowamuzyka,  POL

AUFHEBUNG DURCH KONFRONTATION
Hinter Takamovsky verbirgt sich der Wiener Autor und Klangkünstler Jürgen Berlakovich. Zuletzt ist er u. a. als Partizipant an den Vienna Remixes für Mueller/Roedelius oder als Mitglied des Ensembles „The Vegetable Orchestra“ in Erscheinung getreten. Auf seinem Album Sonic Counterpoint (Etymtone/Ordis, ab 22. November) amalgamiert er den Klang der klassischen, auf Viola da Gamba gestimmten Gitarre mit durchweg minimal gehaltenen Texturen und Einlassungen aus dem weiten Feld prozessual erzeugter Sounds, die – mal begleitend akzentuierend, dann eher dezent konterkarierend – das gemeinhin alt und ehrwürdig Erscheinende in die Zeitlosigkeit überführen. Ausgehend von einer Variation (Bourrée) auf Johann Sebastian Bachs Suite für Solo-Violoncello Nr. IV Es- Dur (BWV 1010) lässt Takamovsky den allzu vertraut anmutenden Klang der Akustischen auf zahlreiche Manipulationen treffen, deren Effekte oftmals lediglich als quasi subliminale Folgen seiner Intervention zu erfassen sind. Dies lässt darauf schließen, dass es bei Sonic Counterpoint weniger um das Handwerk des Transponierens geht, als vielmehr um die Erschaffung einer akustischen Heterogenität, welche die Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen Tradition und Moderne in ihrer kontrapunktischen Veranlagung hervorhebt, anstatt sie in ein stark ausgerichtetes Spannungsfeld zu versetzen. Dabei erfordert Sonic Counterpoint nicht nur ein äußerst konzentriertes Zuhören, sondern leitet von seiner konzeptionellen Anordnung letztlich die Herausforderung ab, jener Versuchung zu widerstehen, der Genese des eigenartigen Wohlklangs unbedingt auf die Schliche kommen zu wollen. Sich der transformativ kreierten Aura des Albums zu entziehen, fällt jedoch noch schwerer als jeder Versuch, ihm seine Geheimnisse gänzlich zu entlocken. Amusio, D

Das Takamovsky-Projekt von Vegetable-Orchestra-member Jürgen Berlakovich widmet sich auf »SONIC COUNTERPOINT« (Etymtone) dem Wirkung mächtigen Kontrast und klassischer Gitarre (auf der er unter anderem Bachs Cello Suite Nr.4 spielt) mit extravagantem, die getragene Stimmung verstärkenden elektronischen Kratzen, Schaben und Wischen. Westzeit, D

Released via the Etymtone label on November 22nd, 2016 is „Sonic Counterpoint“, the sophomore album by Takamovsky, a project created by author and musician Juergen Berlakovich. With the longplay piece kinda revolving around a piece of classical music – Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite No. 4, BWV 1010 – which is reinterpreted as an intimate, PostRock / Indietronica-infused guitar piece in the opening tune we see the classical motif, or its variations, return over and over again throughout the course of the eight tracks on this album, mostly paired with tender, intimate bits of Electronica and more or less digital, yet carefully crafted beat structures which – at least for us – evoke fond memories of a sound very present in venues like Hamburg’s tiny Astra Stube throughout the late 90s / early 00s as well as represented by more electronic-focused releases on the Hamburg-based imprint Sunday Service or the former Berlin-based imprint Digital Kranky. If these names do strike a chord for you, this might be an album release to look out for for a reason. Also if you’re into modernistic Inner City Blues, because „Running In The Background“, the only vocal tune on „Sonic Counterpoint“, is defo a leftfield’ish smash hit in its own right and worth getting this album just for this tune alone. nitestylez.de, D