Defonija at City of Women


This electro-acoustic duo isn't just any duo. It has a niche as well as a spine that is a rare combination. Both musicians reduce – if not ignore – old-fashioned instruments: the piano is no longer merely a piano, and the trumpet is not just a trumpet. Translated into avant-garde vocabulary, both Sabine Ercklentz and Andrea Neumann reveal – literally, technically, structurally and formally – one of the eventual futures of both piano and trumpet by laying these instruments bare.

Andrea Neumann is classically trained pianist, who – all of a sudden – got inside the instrument, and reduced it to strings, resonance board and metal frame; during the performance this remnant is connected to a mini mixer board by way of which sound is deformed, reformed and transformed. The truncated inside piano – Innenklavier in German – is no longer afraid of its limitations and rules, but instead offers an excellent starting-point. Andrea, a pioneer with a great ear for intonation, imagination and sound, employs this new instrument in such a manner that it is as a piano – as well as celesta, clavichord, harpsichord and the more distant Japanese koto – still recognisable in the background and all around, whereas the very focus builds up a completely unexpected and unfamiliar subject. Such a subtle use of electronics – which is unique also on the notorious 'Berlin scene' – reaches undreamed-of results. Such holds true for solos, and duos (with Annette Krebs, Burkhard Heins or Taku Sugimoto…), as well as larger ensembles (Phosphor, No Spaghetti Edition).

When it comes to the seekers of new “sound possibilities” and “extended techniques” we wonder as to their grounding. It is classical music? Maybe jazz? Somehow we can't come to terms with the fact that 'this' is all they are doing. No matter what, any experiment needs a basis – this is how things are. Such also holds true for the trumpet of Sabine Ercklentz. Sabine plays it 'the old way' in the United Women's Orchestra, as well as salsa and 'more tangible' jazz, but during her musical exploration she uses it only as a 'sound source'. She practically doesn't use the mouthpiece, and hardly ever a mute, asserting that air and breath are the most important. Thus aeration devoid of any mechanical intermediate device, is processed electronically. This method is again unusual, but in a different way than with Andrea. It also most definitely works, especially between two people who are able to listen to one other. The sample-copy-paste modus forms the basis of a rhythmic cacophony, which is based on the very breath that makes it an aspiration of microtonal practice. Berlin can be well satisfied, as of late it has produced two trumpeters who have pushed the very limits of their discipline. In Sabine Ercklentz and Axel Dörner we have two innovative and spirited individuals. 

This duet is a story about variations and deviations, about space, relief and detail. Their spontaneous composition ranges from loyalty to sound-search and gentle tunes from a music box. Their sound constantly pulses, rhythm- and melody-wise it is absolutely accessible, whilst for the amateur it is historically instructive. Nonetheless, in its essence this is for the most part ambient music. It is at its utmost ambient when reminiscent of the world of avant-garde dance outcasts, and when it flirts with the archaic rhythmic conventions of pop. Pianism and trumpetism in rare current version: earthed experiment, supremely illuminated improvisation that is apparently thoroughly composed.

The evening is also dedicated to the promotion of Sabine Ercklentz’s new solo album Steinschlag. It should be pointed out that it has been released by L'innomable, a Ljubljana-based new music label (, so this contribution to the pan-tonal rebellion is also a source of local pride!
Miha Zadnikar

Sabine Ercklentz: trumpet, electric instruments, composition
Andrea Neumann: inside piano, mixer board, composition

Organisation: Defonija, City of Women
In collaboration with: Klub Gromka/AKC Metelkova mesto


Date and time of event: 
Oct 07th 23:00
Place of event: 
Klub Gromka, AKC Metelkova mesto