“Music stands out from silence and has need of silence in the same way that life has need of death, and thought (…) has need of nonbeing. As something similar to a work of art, life is an animated, limited construction that stands out against lethal infinity; and music, as something similar to life – as a melodious construction, magic duration, an ephemeral adventure, and brief encounter – is isolated, between beginning and end, in the immensity of nonbeing.” Vladimir Jankélévitch in “Music and the Ineffable”.
An ephemeral adventure is in fact the already 1993 released work “Un Peu De Neige Salie” by German composer Bernhard Günter, and much more than that. It is quiet to an extend that it opens a kind of perceptual abyss of nothingness if the listener is willing to let himself or herself being drawn into this empty space of faintest noises. Even today, after 15 years of its first release the sound asthetic of this CD appears fresh and cutting edge, something rarely achieved in the quickly changing fashions of todays experimental music. The clicking sounds and sine wave brush strokes resemble the work of Ryoji Ikeda and others and has led people to consider the release as a landmark recording (one of the ‘100 recordings that changed the world’ according to The Wire). Bernhard Günter stated in an interesting interview for the Paris Transatlantic Magazine asked about whether quiet music is nothing else then the flipside of noise music, that “placative quiet music has no dynamics, and placative loud music has no dynamics, either – and I’m not interested in either. My music isn’t soft all the time. It’s not about loudness or quietness, it’s about dynamics.” Günther is running his own label trente oiseaux where most of his recordings can be found. He has also released works of Francisco Lopez like “Warszawa Restaurant” (another quietism experience…) and other artists like Marc Behrens, Daniel Menche and Steve Roden. On his myspace side one can hear some recent tracks in collaboration with Gary Smith that follow a more melodic and less ascetic strain.
Jankélévitch said in another passage of “Music and the Ineffable”: “Silence blossoms through voids that interrupt a perpetual din.” This perpetual din can be the stream of noise that our daily life constitutes, that “lasts our whole life and accompanies all we experience, fills our ears from the time we are born to the moment we die”, and a music such as this “ephemeral adventure” can constitute the interrupting void.