Monte Carlo Fallacy
Nicholas Bussmann / Werner Dafeldecker

monte carlo fallacy

We hear the sound of two instrumental practitioners as they explore the nature of their respective instruments with a paced and thoughtful guidance, with little intervention or overt demonstration of virtuosity.
What we witness is more a kind of study into sonority, allowing the instrument to be, listening with caution to every scrape and tap, much in the spirit of Pablo Casals, who notoriously instructed his students to “put air around [their] instrument”. The instruments are stripped and relieved of their duty to produce “music”.
They are left to wheeze, toss, twist and turn in a somnambulant, confused and apocalyptic space where each creaky resonance brings to mind the atmosphere of tragedy that pervades Fellini’s Orchestra Rehearsal (1978), where the musicians are hostages in a theatre, indefinitely trapped in isolation, with no audience to play to.
The psychodrama plays out through scenarios of despair and questioning of purpose, as sonic and social lines are blurred and the medium of music becomes a metaphor for the conundrum of compositional performance.

The two performers engage in a tactile re-learning of sound, teaching each other new airs, free of any kind of obligation to espouse established narratives or politics. Imagine that, for centuries, the violoncello and contrabass have been enduring the physical strain and mental stress of being hauled to places near and far to perform the great histrionic symphonies, the frantic jazz routines. Now, in 2020, on an indefinite sabbatical by courtesy of the worldwide pandemic, they are raised from their cases like sleeping giants, dusted off and groomed by their keepers who look to re-socialize and rehabilitate them back into their functioning roles as audible tools in a musical/sonic language by exploring the peripheries of their sonic potential.

The backdrop to the music on Monte Carlo Fallacy is a canvas of subtle noises – of the room, the muted city’s weather patterns, the performers’ breathing, the shuffling of their feet on the floor of Bussmann’s Grand Prix d’Amour studio. They infuse the recording with the real-time, high-fidelity integrity of live music unencumbered by the tropes of technology and post-production. This is a poetic demonstration of what the resonating string instrument can do – nothing more, nothing less. One is reminded of the string quartets of Harley Gaber, which are so quiet that in the bucolic recording environment of his winter log cabin the instruments are scarcely audible, embedded in the woody resonance and atmospheric hush of the near-silent room.

Dean Roberts

werner dafeldecker · Monte Carlo Fallacy Excerpt

monte carlo fallcy / excerpt / 2023