“Gustav (The Stuffed Red Panda)” is Fiium Shaarrk’s latest opus to find recorded form. Having been performed and honed into shape over the last 2 years, it typifies the group’s fascination with the dialogue between composed and improvised structure, the acoustic and the electronic.
The track opens in a dark, nearly silent space punctuated by the debris of sampled rhythms, a riddle emanating from Isambard Khroustaliov´s software, triggered by the drums of Rudi Fischerlehner and showing its face only occasionally behind bowed cymbals. Over time drums and computer build an intense conversation, while another layer of the drum groove played on woodblocks gets into close discussion with even more woodblocks from the percussion setup of Maurizio Ravalico. These high pitched clicks, also reminiscent to Stockhausen´s "Japan", are again picked up and treated by the computer. The result is a cyber-organic feedback system creating cycles with endless possibilities of variation, rhythms made out of relationships rather than mechanical repetition.
This dense primordial soup of percussion and electronics catalyses the appearance of a sampled string theme which gives the track its title. Set amongst references to overtones implied by the bowed cymbals from the introduction, this manifestation seems almost like blossom, designed to astonish and seduce visitors with the splendour of its colour and harmony before one by one the petals begin to drop and we fall into the dark microtonal mood of a Chinese ghost story, whose potent mix of nostalgia and unfulfilled prophecy bring us back to silence.
Recorded on November 6th 2013 in Aarhus by Isambard Khroustaliov.
Mixed by Isambard Khroustaliov at Coda-Cola, London, 2014 & 2015.
Contains a bass clarinet sample by Lothar Ohlmeier, recorded at Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum library, Berlin in September 2010 by Tito Toberlone for 'The Quiet Volume' by Ant Hampton & Tim Etchells.
Many thanks to Oliver Duckert, Isak Nielsen, Simon Richardt, Tsuki Jazz Festival, Institut for (X) in Aarhus, Lothar Ohlmeier & Ant Hampton.