Bernhard GalgalBernhard Galpress

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Bernhard Gal - Book & DVD 'Zwischenbrücken', 2015...Bernhard Gal - CD 'same difference', 2010.. Gal - CD 'relive', 2008 - illustration by Nalan Yirtmac.. DVD 'Installations' , Gromoga, Austria 2007.. CD 'Installations' , Gromoga, Austria 2005.. Kai Fagaschinski and Bernhard Gál - 'going roaund in serpentines', Charhizma, Austria 2005.. Book & Audio CD 'Installations'  (Kehrer / Gromoga, 2005).. CD 'Hinaus:: In den, Wald.'  (Klanggalerie, 2004).. CD 'relisten'  (Intransitive Recordings, 2001).. CD 'Defragmentation/blue' (Plate Lunch, 2000).. CD 'bestimmung new york' (Durian, 1999)

 



 

 

Catalogue Book / Audio CD 'Installations' (Kehrer / Gromoga 2005)

CD "Hinaus:: In den, Wald.' (Klanggalerie 2004)

CD 'relisten' (Intransitive 2001)

CD 'Defragmentation/blue' (Plate Lunch 2000)

CD 'bestimmung new york' (Durian 1999)

Assorted reviews / Installations





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Feature articles and interviews


 

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gal
CD 'same difference' (Gromoga, Austria 2010)
 

 

Bernhard Gal - CD 'same difference', 2010

 
"...the lyricism of a defoliated minimalism while maintaining impressions of inscrutability and, not infrequently, irony. (...) a record whose cryptic traits conceal an unassuming charm."
Massimo Ricci (Paris Transatlantic, France)

"taut, compacted minimalist statements."
Ed Pinsent (The Sound Projector, UK)

"... a lovely, evocative work that wavers between traditional sounds and contemporary modes in a wonderfully unforced manner, dream-like yet touching earth now and then."
Brian Olewnick (Just Outside, USA)

"ovvero: il trionfo del buon gusto"
Mario Biserni (Sands-Zine, Italy)

"Gal's sensitivity to environmental sounds, combined with his awareness of spatiality and ability to involve
musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds, allows him to create music of ghostly, yet intimate, beauty."
Glen Hall (Exclaim, Canada)

"... uno dei nomi più importanti di questo inizio secolo. (...) Con questo disco Gál realizza una delle sue opere più interessanti."
Mario Biserni (Sands-Zine, Italy)

"... verbindet auf faszinierende und außergewöhnliche Weise westlich-zeitgenössisches Komponieren mit Momenten chinesischer Traditionsbezüge."
Mathias Maschat [Positionen, Germany]

"ein Brückenbauer zwischen zwei unterschiedlichen Kulturpositionen (…) Ein Spagat, der in diesem Fall mehr als gelungen ist."
Michael Ternai (mica, Austria)

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gal
CD 'relive' (Gromoga, Austria 2008)
 

 

Gal - CD 'relive', 2008 - illustration by Nalan Yirtmac

 

"probabilmente è il miglior disco mai pubblicato da Gál."
(Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow up, Italy)

"a half-architect, half-chiaroscuro painter whose musical conception still privileges the probing of silence as a crucial starting point for investigation."
Massimo Ricci (Brain Dead Eternity, Italy)

"Bernhard Gal is an ‘ear camera.’ (...) His listening is so acute, so sensitive that the field recordings that form the basis of many of
his pieces are rendered with the precision and attention to detail one expects from a Leica or Hasselblad in an expert’s hands."
Glen Hall (Exclaim, Canada)

"an excellent player on the microsound scene. (…) Things buzz, hum, crack in a highly intelligent way and never leap into boredom"
Frans de Waard (Vital Weekly, Netherlands)

"“It’s a fine, fine disc which, instead of the so fashionable tendency to re-benchmark one’s own work with every release,
encapsulates the whole of one’s recent work cleverly, drawing upon itself as its own source material.”
Al Jones (Bagatellen, USA)

"Suggestive Live-Performances zwischen ätherischen Klaviertönen, Sprachfragmenten, Lauten aus Natur und Technik
sowie harten, aber differenzierten Noise-Attacken (…) Diese Hörthriller bringen Assoziationen zum Sprudeln."
[Walter Weidringer (Die Presse, Austria)

„…zwischen hochkonzentrierten, präzisen Klangauslotungen, schier hinterfotzigen Konzepten und zufälligen
Gegebenheiten (…) Spannendes Teil."
Heinrich Deisl (Skug, Austria)

“…something that's become part of my personal environment (…) It's sparse and awkward, environmental
and somehow perfectly complements things I do in my personal space.”
TJ Norris (tjnorris.net, USA)

„… Die Behutsamkeit, mit der Gál hierbei zu Werke geht, verdeutlicht, dass er sich der Suche nach Effekten
verweigert und stattdessen seine Aufmerksamkeit auf den Wahrnehmungsprozess und die Intensität der Hörerfahrung richtet.“
Stefan Drees (Positionen, Germany)

"Fascinating"
Marita Emigholz (Nordwestradio, Germany)

"Top List"
Susanna Bolle (WZBC, USA)

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gal
CD 'going round in serpentines' (in collaboration with Kai Fagaschinski, Charhizma, Austria 2005)
 

 

Kai Fagaschinski & Bernhard Gal - CD 'going round in serpentines', Charhizma 2005

 
"marvelous, carefully polished like a small gem but at the same time overflowing with life."
Jason Bivins (Dusted Reviews, USA)

"Gal's colourful – yet discreet – work makes for a fine contrast with Fagaschinski's Lucier-like exploration of sustained clarinet tones"
Dan Warburton (Paris Transatlantic, France)

"acousmatic handicraft of the finest cloth"
Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes, Italy)

"Dans le genre, oui, c'est une surprise. Une bonne."
(Metamkine, France)

"...leading the listener in imagineable worlds where each single sound is of utmost importance."
Paul Bijlsma (Phosphor Magazine, Germany)

"'Going Round In Serpentines' si conferma come punto fermo e irremovibile della migliore arte elettro-elettronica contemporanea."
Sergio Eletto (Sands-Zine, Italy)

"care and precision"
Keith Moliné (The Wire, UK)

"Music to sit down by, do nothing and take it all in."
Frans de Waard (Vital Weekly; Netherlands)

"sophisticated architectural intelligence, discerning auditory awareness and meditational focus"
Glen Hall (Exclaim, Canada)

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gal
Catalogue Book / Audio CD 'Installations' (Kehrer Verlag, Germany / Gromoga Records, Austria 2005)
 


Audio CD 'Installations' , Gromoga, Austria 2005Book & Audio CD 'Installations'  (Kehrer / Gromoga, 2005)


“...highlights the breadth and richness of Gal’s soundworld (...) An unmissable publication.”
Rahma Khazam (The Wire, UK)

"(...) This makes this CD into both a fine display of his many talents, but also something that can hold the attention for its entire seventy-four minutes"
Frans de Waard (Vital Weekly, Netherlands)

"(...) at once both spare and immersive, Gal's sound and light constructions are delicate and peaceful in their strength, clarity, and focus."
Seth Cluett (sound art list / amazon.com, USA)

"(...) In all an extremely interesting, beautiful and highly worthwhile collection, presenting many aspects of these slow and careful exploratory sound-art works. Highly recommended."
Ed Pinsent (The Sound Projector, UK)

"Top Ten List"
Susanna Bolle (Forced Exposure, USA, August 2006)

"bellissimo (...) un’unica suite"
Etero Genio (Sands-Zine, Italy)

"Besonders zu empfehlen sind die in einen Schwebezustand führenden „Defragmentations“ in rot bzw. blau."
Alfred Pranzl (Skug, Austria)

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gal
CD 'Hinaus:: In den, Wald.' (Klanggalerie, Austria 2004)
 

 

CD 'Hinaus:: In den, Wald.' (Klanggalerie, Austria 2004)

 

“...Bernhard Gal may have touched on only a fragment of Wölfli’s gargantuan project, but it’s a telling one.”
Brian Marley, (The Wire, UK)

“...even for non-German-speakers the rich sonic qualities of the piece flourished in its claustrophobic setting.”
Will Montgomery (The Wire, UK)

“...For all the whispers and hums, it is no secret that "Hinaus: In den, Wald." has an eerie Fluxus presence that grabs your unconscious.”
TJ Norris (Igloomag, USA)

“...Gals interpretation succeeds: the range of dynamics, the interplay of nature and mankind; the voice of a child that utters sounds without comprehension, words that nevertheless gain significance, take shape in your mind..“
Sanna Samsara (Skug, Austria, translation: Gromoga)

“...not something you probably want to slip into the Walkman if you're lost in a forest late one night.”
Dan Warburton (Paris Transatlantic, France)

“...a dark, immersive sonic environment.”
Richard Rees Jones (The Sound Projector, UK)

“...originally a powerful installation piece, 'Hinaus:: In Den, Wald' translates well to CD."
Mark Wastell (Sound 323, UK)

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gal
CD 'relisten' (Intransitive, USA 2001)
 


CD 'relisten'  (Intransitive Recordings, 2001)

 

"…Gal crafts his sound material with deadly precision, using repetition to great effect (..) It's quite a journey. "Relisten" indeed you will."
Dan Warburton (The Wire, UK)

"…a subtle and intriguing release. Highly recommended."
Susanna Bolle (Weekly Dig, USA)

"…a fascinating meditation on public spaces."
Jeremy Keens (Ampersand, Australia)

"…a very varied CD with a lot of angles, but all of them taken well care of. Recommended."
Roel Meelkop (Vital, NL)

"...a journey, where reality and imagination subtly merge."
Walter Robotka (Evolver, Austria)

"…a more dynamic, imaginative brand of musique concrete."
Paul Lemos (Under the Volcano, USA)

"...Gal is a poet, who can tell stories with sound. Indeed a rare species among the composers."
Alfred Pranzl (Skug, Austria, translation: Gromoga)

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gal
CD 'Defragmentation/blue' (Plate Lunch, Germany 2000)
 


CD 'Defragmentation/blue' (Plate Lunch PL11, 2000)

 

"...both beautiful and disquieting, this work manages to say a lot with very little. Recommended as one of the most significant releases on the German label Plate Lunch."
François Couture (All-Music Guide, USA)

"...Temporally and spatially disorientating, truly inhabiting and uprooting whatever space it's played in."
David Keenan (The Wire, UK)

"...highly suggestive music, absolutely hypnotic and great!"
Stefan Knappe (Drone, Deutschland)

"Listening to this music, time ceases to function as a linear sequence of events and is reconfigured as an endless, painful present, always on the brink of slipping into nothingness but never quite relinquishing its grip."
Richard Rees Jones (The Sound Projector, UK)

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gal
CD 'bestimmung new york' (Durian, Austria 1999)
 


CD 'bestimmung new york' (Durian 009-2, 1999)

 

"...especially the virtuously arranged speech loops - shifting phonem-canons - create mood patterns that are exciting and thrilling, the sound balance is always right."
Stefan Fricke (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Deutschland, translation: Gromoga)

"...a simple but highly effective gambit"
Will Montgomery (The Wire, UK)

"Best of 1999"
Kenneth Goldsmith (WFMU, USA)

"..disorienting in sound, orienting in thought, gorgeous and dense.."
Robin Edgerton (Other Music, USA)


"…minimal sounds, voices manipulated, ...creating an unique experimental work on repetition."
Namskeio (Lausanne, Switzerland)

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gal
Assorted reviews
 


Defragmentation/red - Audio-architectural installation in collaboration with Yumi Kori, Berlin 2000


Defragmentation/red - Kryptonale VI

 

"…In the mysterious reworking of the Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin, a nineteenth-century underground reservoir, Yumi Kori and Bernhard Gal have created spaces of enormous power, an installation (..) permeated by red light, and echoes, by music and the sounds of water."
The Architectural Review (London, UK)

"Highly commended"
ar+d award 2001 (London, UK)

"...Here the work needed the space and the space the work, to be as impressive as it was."
C. Gerhardt (Die Welt, Germany, translation: Gromoga)

"...a suspension of the sense for space and time (..) chameleon-like changing sound streams, whose substance, colour, structure, and last but not least origin cannot be located by the ear."
Eleonore Büning (FAZ, Germany, translation: Gromoga)

"...one could get lost for hours in there. Actually, this would be a decent permanent retreat for everyone, who got harmed by the pulsating energy of the capital city, but Defragmentation/red can only be experienced until September 24th."
Wolfgang Fuhrmann (Berliner Zeitung, Germany, translation: Gromoga)

   
 

 

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gal
The Wire, UK March 2004
 

 

Bernhard Gál

Lost in translation. By Will Montgomery

It takes a certain kind of ear to find aural beauty in life beneath a flight path but Bernhard Gál has no worries about the sonic backdrop to his Berlin flat. "Tempelhof airport is not far from this apartment," acknowledges the Austrian composer and sound artist, gesturing out of the window. "Every day there are planes, always going in the same direction, from here to there. In summer the movement of the sound is really great. I could listen to it for hours. Sometimes it can be enough for me just to enjoy what I hear - more interesting than some concerts and CDs." He laughs. "But at the same time, I think that's an extreme position. I can still do so many things coming out of that. It's about a certain quality of listening. I try to rebuild that awareness in my own music, in something that's more structured and organised by my own intentions."

Gál (sometimes known simply as 'gal') is one of a stream of people to receive funding from the DAAD academic exchange programme, a scheme that has been bringing innovative musicians and performers to Berlin since the 1960s. Still in his early thirties, he trained as a musicologist in his home town of Vienna. In the late 1990s, Gál moved into composition and sound art, taking up a year-long residency in New York. Out of that period came his first CD, bestimmung new york, released on Durian in 1999. All the pieces on the album are constructed from nothing but the human voice. In a simple but highly effective gambit, Gál recorded and re-edited 15 people with different ethnic backgrounds speaking the same simple texts in their own languages. Voice has remained an enduring interest for Gál, and forms the basis for his forthcoming release Hinaus:: In den, Wald, on Klanggalerie.

"Many things got started for me in New York," he explains. "I shifted towards this more general appreciation of all sound, taking all sound sources as potentially musical. In the beginning it didn't really make any difference if it was a subway or somebody speaking - they were just frequencies that I could work with or that I could appreciate as rhythm or melody. But what makes voice different is language: meaning and content. I'm interested in language because you always have the shifting between music and meaning. Or musical meaning and concrete language."

Hinaus:: In den, Wald is an exploration of language at this border between meaning and non-meaning. The piece, which began as an installation, is based around the work of outsider artist Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930). Wölfli spent most of his life in a Swiss asylum, where he produced an enormous quantity of drawings and a massive manuscript, From the Cradle to the Grave, that combines prose, poetry and images. Most of it remains unpublished. Gál is especially interested in Wölfli's poetry, which, he explains, prefigured the Dada poetry of Ball, Schwitters, Tzara et al.

"In many of Wölfli's poems," he expands, "the first lines have a meaning, maybe in Swiss dialect and maybe written the wrong way because he had almost no education and just went by the sound of spoken language". But the following phrases are often totally abstract, just rhyming with the first ones. Here he becomes very Dadaist, losing the meaning and shifting into sound. In 1905 he was doing things that were invented years later in the art world. I really got lost in it."

As a distancing device, Gál asked a nine-year-old Taiwanese girl who could speak no German to recite Wölfli's texts. In this way the play of sense and non-sense is filtered through another linguistic sensibility. Hinaus:: In den, Wald uses little sound processing but it carefully layers voices - that of the girl and his own - over the sound of someone running through a forest. In its installation version the piece was presented in a completely dark room (most recently at the sound art gallery at Berlin's Parochial church). Even for non-German-speakers the rich sonic qualities of the piece flourished in its claustrophobic setting.

Gál says that his approach to sound and space in installations is indebted to his close collaboration over several years with Japanese artist and architect Yumi Kori. For their Defragmentation project, which they describe as an "audio-architectural exploration of time", he and Kori attempted to distort temporal perceptions - the sound for Defragmentation/blue (released by Plate Lunch in 1999) involves layered sine-like tones that loop slowly in a manner that recalls the eerie balance between movement and stasis in late Morton Feldman.

Another of Gál's activities is conventional composition: Defragmentation was subsequently scored for acoustic instruments, in a version for clarinets, cellos and percussion. As well as composing, Gál works as a Powerbook improviser. He enthuses about a new collaboration with Berlin clarinettist Kai Fagaschinski. "You have to find a player who has an ear for electroacoustic sounds," he says. "If someone plays clarinet, how can they respond to me playing language or a train? I really like Kai's sounds - he's so focused on the microscopic details of his clarinet. As a composer I feel I could never write a score where I got exactly these sounds."

We're back to the problem of sound and its relationship to music: it seems to hover in various forms at the fringes of all of Gál's work. "On the relisten CD [Intransitive, 2001] I have this one piece, 'Tong-Hua Yie-Shi', recorded at the Taipei night market," he remarks. "It's just me walking through the market with a microphone and headphones. For me it was so dense with musical information that I said 'That's it, that's the piece,' and left it as it is. That's a dangerous position, because where can you go from there as a composer? What can you do out of this experience? Is it the end of composition or the beginning of composition? What came first?"

Hinaus:: In den, Wald is released this month on Klanggalerie. Website: www.bernhardgal.com

[Will Montgomery, The Wire, UK - March 2004]

   
   
 
Feature articles

CD 'going round in serpentines' (in collaboration with Kai Fagaschinski, Charhizma, Austria 2005)






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