The Sonic Extremes of the MaerzMusik Festival

Alex Ross at The New Yorker:

On the stage of an empty concert hall, the Austrian-born composer Peter Ablinger sits in a chair and begins to tell the time. “At the third stroke, it will be twenty o’clock precisely,” he says, adhering to the hallowed formula of the BBC’s Speaking Clock. He accompanies himself with a simple C-minor sequence on a keyboard. After continuing in this vein for twenty minutes, Ablinger cedes the floor to the young German actress Salome Manyak, who speaks over an atmospherically bleeping soundtrack by the Finnish experimental musician Olli Aarni. The ritual goes on for nearly twenty-seven hours, with an ever-changing team of artists, curators, composers, singers, and d.j.s announcing the time in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Farsi, Oromo, Mandarin, and twelve other languages. A rotating assortment of prerecorded tracks, usually electronic, provide accompaniment. Most of the reciters maintain a crisp, cool demeanor, even when their Web sites lead one to expect something more uproarious. The Swedish dancer and costume designer Björn Ivan Ekemark, for example, gives no sign that he also performs under the name Ivanka Tramp and leads a “sticky and visceral cake-sitting performance group,” called analkollaps.

more here.