Monday, December 29, 2014

Angel Position CD Review @ Chain D.L.K.

Another positive review of the Angel Position CD, and quite poetic to boot!

"It's the first time I personally listened to a full-length by Fragment King, the harsh brainchild by Mark Kammerbauer, out of his personal imprint Nexialist, and even if some features of his style, which combines ferociously hammered breakcore patterns with armour-piercing dark-industrial sonorities and some listenable sludge-metal and power electronics marks as well as sensibly vitriolic lyrics, is somehow recognasible, the sonic architecture sounds less naff than some past releases. Both its musical language and lyrics are definitively more focused on a precise target, which could be indolence, lassitude and defective human nature: you could almost imagine that an unsually bloody furious Metatron and some other cherubic mouthpiece, as this well-done release has been titled "Angel Position" I cannot but take an angel to discuss about it, came into possession of some electrically overcharged engine in order to remostrate against its half-assed user and enduring human pusillanimity, where roaring clanks and sometimes martial drumming seem to channel such a biomechanical clear-cut fury. Some songs ("Constellations", "Nullifier" or "Greater Than Man") sounds like absorbed by the same coruscating bruised frequency, while other ones ("Nullifier", "Statute" or "The squealing of the pigs") shows terser sonorities before Fragment King (or the above-mentioned Metatron) begins to kindle and melt the sonic blocks by meaningful lyrics and while the temperature inside FK's combustion chambers reaches its bursting point, the record sounds like blossoming on the final tracks ("Angel Position" and the entrancing "Kingdom") as if the seemingly exterminating angel wants to foster, all things considered, benevolent purposes. The cherry on top is the final "warhead Remix" of "Nullifier" by headbanging hardcore and d'n'b German producer Ralf "Bazooka" Ferley, who hijacked the original track towards contaminated neurotek and dubstep territories."

Rating: 4.5 of 5


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Angel Position CD Review @ Cvlt Nation

Cvlt Nation reviewed and streamed the Angel Position CD with very good results:

"Fragment King is a band I had little to no familiarity with going into this, and I honestly think that was a boon to my overall listening experience. With no preconceived notions of the band, it was much easier to confront the subtle brand of chaos that Fragment King offers. Angel Position is really a great example of why you should never form an opinion of a release until after multiple listens; I've listened to this album all the way through about three times now and have found some new nuance to marvel over each time. Upon first attempting to learn more about the band behind this release, I was both impressed yet unsurprised to learn that it was a one-man project. The nasty noises you hear are courtesy of Mark Kammerbauer, and the band has a been around a suprisingly long amount of time, considering this is the first time I am listening to them (I will definitely be checking out their back catalouge after this experience). Fragment King's (or fk as they are also known) sound is best described as dark avant-industrial. Godflesh and Navicon Torture Technologies are listed as influences, and their marks are apparent. If you are looking for a more recent comparison, think of a more freeform/minimalist version of Mike IX's Corrections House. Similar to all of the aforementioned bands, they create a smothering atmosphere of discontent and agitation. This album will either piss you off or disturb you, depending on whether you agree with what Mark is shouting at you or not. Either way you feel after listening, you'll be enriched for it. This is a damn good album.
The perfect word to describe this album is simmering. Fragment King is angry and discontent; disgusted. However, not so angry as to shout it directly at you. His hatred and disgust summer just below the surface, barely controlled. The blackened, noisy guitars and synth textures are buzzing and humming, threatening to erupt at any moment into full blown chaos. But it never does, which is a very good thing for this album. It immerses you in the humming feedback of his malcontent, forcing you to feel what he does without pushing you over the edge. It incites rather than excites, pushing the aggression onto you and forcing you to rage on your own, rather than doing it for you. The aforementioned buzzing, almost-too-distorted-to-be-discernible guitar is a big part of creating this mood. In combination with the nasty synth textures and noisy soundscapes, it absolutely smothers you. The vocals also add to this feeling, barely cutting through the haze, and heavily distorted themselves. Every grungy, affected shout of 'You... Mean nothing... To me!' only serves to further accentuate how displeased this guy is. If the vocals were more varied or frequent, they might serve to distract from the overlying feeling of the album. But they are kept sparse and simple, and serve their purpose perfectly. Cutting through the hissing, popping and rumbling noise that comprises the meat of this album is the machine-based, synthy percussion. The percussion provides a bit of direction and structure in the dark haze, giving the listener a current to swim frantically along with so that they don't get lost in the black sea of misanthropy. The percussion might be the deal breaker for a few would-be fans. At times, the industrial, house-like synth beats seem almost out of place amidst the humming darkness. The insistent, synthy beats can also get a bit repetitive, as in the latter half of the longest song on the album, 'Constellations'. On the reverse side of that coin, the repetitive nature of the percussive force and can also serve to drive the point home, as in the short, staticy bursts present through out the title track. The album is also masterfully paced and ordered. I really feel as though albums such as these should be taken as a whole, as the feeling crafted by one track builds as the album progresses. It is a journey. You don't just look at one corner of a painting when appreciating art, and I feel the same way about music such as this. It is an experience, a package deal. The album opens with a slightly calmer (but by no means calm) track in 'Mobilize,' and then the visceral, biomechanical discontent continues to flow and pulse throughout the rest of the album, until finally reaching a crescendo and then dripping and oozing away in the much more subdued, but no less disturbing and noisey, 'Kingdom'. You also get the bonus of a remix of one of the best tracks on the album, 'Nullifier'. The remix is predictably much more industrial than any other song on the album. It doesn't really fit the sound profile of the rest of the album as well as the original, but it is a remix, so I don't really count that against it. Taken by itself it is a fine song, but definitely remove yourself from the dissatisfied anger of the rest of the album before you listen to it.  If I were forced to single out a track, I would say that my favorite one is 'The Squealing of the Pigs'. This track perfectly encapsulates all of the best things about this album and delivers in every way you expect it to, and in a few that you do not. But that seems to be the story of this album. Put on a pair of headphones and listen to the whole album in one go. Then do it again. Then fight the urge to go throw a brick through the establishment's window."


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Angel Position CD Review @ Reflections Of Darkness

A very positive review of the Angel Position CD at Reflections of Darkness:

"Approaching the FRAGMENT KING's newest album 'Angel Position' with your usual set of expectations will lead you exactly nowhere. Why? Because it defies the conventional template of how emotions are being cast into music. We expect those things to be easily digestible sound bites and usually they are. But what happens if someone decides to put their music out of this context? To bring to the listener raw and unfiltered? Then you might get something like 'Angel Position'. It is its biggest advantage and at the same time its biggest problem. Because it is forcing you to change your perception of music, should you decide to open your mind for it and that's why it will be largely overseen, because people tend to not want to change things that have worked out for them so well so far. Those who are will have to delve right into the deep  with 'Mobilize'. There's actually no warm-up time. Things get thrown at you rapidly. The darkness is omnipresent, filtered through walls of harsh static and screams.

Yet the battle has just begun my friends, for the 'Nullifier' is taking the term auditory violence to new heights, as far as it concerns me, that is. Melodic splinters are scattered across the place, though you need a magnifying glass to find them, really. It is rather a mood transformed into sound on here. 'Greater Than Man' is a rather terrifying example of how a few sustained notes, static and a creeping industrial rhythm can generate real feelings of terror. Don't take this lightly, and don't look for light in there, there's none. The last track on the album 'Kingdom' is a twisted, shredded vision of what ambient music usually comes up with. It builds and builds, you can feel it brooding under its surface and then it just subsides and leaves you thinking...."

Music: 8
Sound: 8
Extras: -
Total: 8 / 10


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Angel Position 2014

Angel Position is a full-length album by nexialist "persona" Fragment King. It will be released on CD and in digital formats in 2014 on the Megahertz Label, home of German electronic experimenters Klangstabil. Songwriting began in 2007. An early demo of three songs was recorded in 2008. The recording process for the entire album lasted from 2008 to 2010. The album was mastered by Berlin-based Hardcore Drum n Bass producer Bazooka in 2012. It features 8 original songs by Fragment King plus one remix by Bazooka for the track "Nullifier" (Bazooka's Warhead Remix), which was originally released in 2012 on the Elektroanschlag compilation CD boxset. In 2013 Discussions began with Megahertz on the artwork and release format. During this process the image of the "black iron prison" was created as part of an elaborate set of digital drawings created for the album. Eventually, the artwork was stripped down to a bare minimum in order to produce a run of 100 pressed CDs with hand-crafted custom jewel cases with spraycan artwork. The catalog number is MHz-CD08. Bazooka's remix of "Nullifier" and an early version of the opening track "Mobilize" are freely available online at soundcloud:

The album itself features massive sound architecture, created by and confronted with something that dwells within: intense human emotion. Both ensnare and entrench each other. The human soul in its black iron prison, smashing the walls of noise surrounding it. Yearning, desiring, running, crushing. This machinery, the duality of what we can never touch and what never sets us free from its grasp – soul and matter – is the album's principal theme. This also inspired the original artwork for the album.

The CD album is available @ Megahertz
Official video @ youtube
Fragment King @ Facebook
Mastering by Bazooka
Purchase Angel Position @ itunes
Purchase Angel Position @ Bandcamp
Purchase Angel Position @ Amazon

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Angel Position Video 2014

Megahertz posted a video in lieu of the new Fragment King album titled "Angel Position", to be released in CD-format on 28.03.2014.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nexialist Operation Mimesis 2004

Architecture as Music Instrument (2004) from Mark Kammerbauer on Vimeo.
We conducted an operation in the studio building Mimesis, designed by architect Peter Haimerl. The building as such was used as a sound creation device in this operation. Located in Putzbrunn, Munich, Germany, the studio complex consists of two cube-shaped buildings ca. 6 x 6 x 6 m each, one of which, with two pneumatic transparent vinyl facades, was used for the operation.

The resulting sounds were recorded by electro-acoustic, digital-acoustic and digital-video means. During and in the course of the operation the created and recorded sound material was processed in situ and used as the source of an electro-acoustic / digital-acoustic improvised composition.

The specific spacial acoustic characteristics of the building were utilized for the creation, projection and recording of the recorded and processed sound. The result is an acoustic signature equaling a spacial-acoustic context, portraying the identity of the building/space in successive levels. This is inspired by the motif of the "turning of the mask" as described by Vilem Flusser.

The particular and unique acoustic quality of the building is constituted by the 6 x 6 m pneumatic facade made of two layers of transparent vinyl in a metal frame continuously filled with air via pump located in the building basement. This facade system was used in combination with the size of the building interior as the acoustic instrument of the operation

Session 1: recording the resonance of the pneumatic facade: strikes with hand, roll of tracing paper, stick measure [folded] and a dynamic microphone. Session 2: percussive, rhythmic, improvised composition for four hands and pneumatic vinyl facade. Session 3 : electro-acoustic, improvised composition for digital-audio recording, analog effect unit, speaker combo and building interior. Session 4: improvised composition for bass guitar, effect units, building interior and facade. Mark Kammerbauer + Nedim Tezkosar 2004.

Urban Evolution 2007

Urban Evolution (2007) from Mark Kammerbauer on Vimeo.
Urban Evolution was created at the Institute of European Urban Studies of the Bauhaus University Weimar. The Masterplan for the development of new urban centers is the starting point for this project. The project features a game performance that was staged and filmed in public space in the Theaterplatz in Weimar. Urban Evolution addresses a number of questions in regard to the meaning of the center and its development, the identity of place and the lack thereof, and how to create the identity of place as a quality of space. The intention of the project is to address these questions and provide answers to them in a performative way.

The urban space is the “theater stage” or “game board” for a play or game. This “game“ is Urban Evolution. The game players are developers, planners, designers, and citizens. The game pieces are temporary buildings as a “fluidum”, which are juxtaposed by permanent “urban artifacts”. These permanent elements create a spatial definition for the “game board” by acting as “anchors”. What is Urban Evolution? It is a framework, a set of rules, a method. It is divided into three

On the game board, a succesion of temporary buildings takes place. This succession is related to the necessity for functions and public space of increasing dimensions related to the increase of population according to the phasing. The methodic element of “Intermediate Allocation” responds to this issue. The succession of temporary buildings is in accord with the phasing of a hypothetical Masterplan. It accellerates the developmental speed throughout the phases to create a “condensation of time”, a sped-up version of the usual evolution of cities in history.

Furthermore, the succession of temporary buildings does not proceed without leaving traces. The leaving of traces is an intentional and important part of the project. The traces and their superimposition create a “simulated archaeology”. This is intended to playfully demonstrate how quality of space can be created through the generation of a local history which is staged, yet artificial, but not simulated. It is the actual document of actual events taking place in the chosen location. Arne Löper, Xavier Barona, Mark Kammerbauer 2007.

Xenakis-Emulator 1998

The Xenakis-Emulator is an audiovisual adaptation of two key works of architect/composer Iannis Xenakis - the composition "Metastasseis" and the facade for the monastery "La Tourette" by master architect Le Corbusier. We created a synergetic digital animation of an interpretation of the facade and the music composition. The facade strips, which reflect the "Glissando"-motif of "Metastasseis", float in an abstract space, followed by a vertical strip that "plays" our music interpretation in realtime and synchronous with the vertical facade elements.

Iannis Xenakis was born in Romania in 1922. His family returned to Greece in 1932. He studied architecture and math and became a resistance fighter, fleeing from Greece to France in 1947, where he worked in the office of Le Corbusier. He was a student of Olivier Messiaen, and as first composer within New Music, he used mathematical probability in composition, becoming the inventor of stochastic music. Xenakis composed pieces for orchestra, scenic works for chorals, ballet music, and radio pieces.

Working in the office of Le Corbusier, Xenakis collaborated on the monastery La Tourette from 1953-1955, developing the design and the placement of the vertical elements for the strip windows on the western facade of the building. The motif of “decreasing-increasing” of intervals of the vertical posts is derived from the composition “Metastassis”, on which Xenakis worked at the time as well. Metastassis for orchestra is defined by the extraordinary and debut implementation of glissandi within a composition. The glissando – the sliding movement within the tonal scale, for instance with a string instrument – is the defining motif of both the composition and the facade design for the monastery La Tourette. This connection is interpreted within an adaptation of both works.

Measurement of the facade division results in the definition of a system consisting of 48 intervals that comprise the increasing-decreasing appearance of the facade. These intervals can be interpreted as the 1st to 48th factor of a smallest common interval. Beyond that, minima and maxima can be identified, meaning points of largest and lowest density in the facade system, as well as the distances between them.

The increase-decrease of the facade intervals is set equal to the increase-decrease of notes along the tonal scale. The largest distance equals the deepest note, the smallest equals the highest note. The length of the facade determines the length in time of the adaptation. For this purpose, the distances of the facade intervals are transcribed from millimeters into seconds and programmed accordingly. A sequencer program controls a synthesizer. For each of the four window strips of the facade, a particular patch or sound is chosen. The choice of different instruments for audio tracks, each representing a facade strip, enables auditory recognition of the different strips/tracks. In addition, a rhythm track is programmed that highlights the sound events of the four tracks and the temporal distance between them via a bass drum sound created by a drum machine. Also, the points of maximum and minimum density are accentuated with a hi-hat sound of the drum machine. The increase-decrease of the glissando is represented by a continuous sound, mixed as an additional track creating a background ambience, reflecting the combine motif of both of Xenakis’ works. It is programmed, recorded, and sampled separately and arranged as repetitive sample within the additional track.

The facade strips of the monastery La Tourette with their characteristic pattern of divisions are the basis for the visual representation. The objective here is to create a synthesis of visual image and audible sound. The animation displays the facade strips as abstract floating objects extracted from the context of the actual building. The animation is then combined with the adaptation music. A camera follows the facade strips in a parallel movement in such a manner that permits the simultaneous and synchronous transmission of the adaptation music. At the same time, a horizontal bar appears below the facade strips, featuring an image of the waveform of the adaptation music. A thin vertical bar indicates the synchronous movement of camera and adaptation music across the facade strips. Mark Kammerbauer + Alexandra Schnellbögl (1999)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

CRITICAL VOID 24.07.2013

CRITICAL VOID is an analytical audio work based on an urbanist study of the MaximiliansForum in Munich and its planning history. By employing interviews with key individuals and document research, Z‘EV, Alexandra von Bolz'n and Mark Kammerbauer developed a site-specific audio performance and work that was performed live on site on 24.07.2013. The project was curated by the Kulturreferat of the City of Munich. This is a step-by-step documentation of the project. The location that includes the MaximiliansForum art space can be found beneath the crossing of Maximilianstrasse and Altstadtring in Munich. It has escalators that are currently in disuse. It is denominated officially as pedestrian tunnel. It is by far the largest of its kind in the city. Rumor has that original planning intended a traffic tunnel. So, what happened here?

The idea was to study the origins of this location via interviews with key individuals involved in the planning and re-use of the tunnel as an art space, as well as document research. This study would then serve as basis for a site-specific audio performance with Z'EV, Alexandra von Bolz'n, and Mark Kammerbauer (a.k.a. Fragment King). A number of sessions took place to get a feeling for the acoustics of the tunnel and adapt that into the audio work.

On Wednesday, 24.07.2013 at 19:00 we performed CRITICAL VOID live after a very friendly introduction by Elisabeth Hartung of the Culture Office of the City of Munich. The first half of the performance included a dramatized conversation between Alexandra von Bolz'n and MK on the results of the study with audio ambience by Z'EV. Here, we identify the planning crisis that took place. A tunnel was supposed to be built but conflicts emerged with regulations as well as public interest. Postwar traffic planning had resulted in a broad intersection in what had previously been an enclosed urban plaza (the original "Forum" above ground). In addition, urban revitalization aims led to affordable housing problems in the adjacent quarter ("Lehel"). One result was the creation of the
"Münchner Forum" where citizens became involved in urban planning in the city.

As result of these events, planning was confronted with crisis, and planning aims were discontinued, resulting in the ambiguous character of the open space beneath the street crossing. After dramatizing these aspects in the first half of the performance as a narrative "conversation", the second half of the performance featured a performance of the crisis. This music piece is titled "MythEater" as inspired by Z'EV and includes an interpretation of "Yuki's Song" from Akira Kurosawa's film "Hidden Fortress" by vocalist Alexandra von Bolz'n. It is intended to symbolize the conflict between tradition and modernism as root of the crisis that gave birth to this CRITICAL VOID within the urban fabric of the city of Munich.

Z'EV, Alexandra von Bolz'n, MK perform CRITICAL VOID on location

Yuki's Song from Akira Kurosawa's "Hidden Fortress"

CRITICAL VOID graphic logo: S. Nissen, H. Veit, M. Kammerbauer
MaximiliansForum photo: Johannes Maul
Historic photos, Münchner Forum sketch: see image for sources
CRITICAL VOID photos: Andreas Graf