craquelé - FAZ on 29.10.2010 (Elisabeth Risch)

Translated from German: A sound like strained tinfoil, which haptic is increasing the skin’s resistance as well as the heart frequency, shaped the beginning of Franz Martin Olbrisch’s new work »craquelé« at its premiere in the broadcasting hall of the ‘Hessischen Rundfunk’. Conductor Roland Kluttig as well as the hr-symphony orchestra seemed to engage joyfully in this first concert of the series »Forum Neue Musik« (‘Forum New Music’). Very successful has been the composition of the fine fissures that run unpredictably through the orchestral sound fabric without breaking it.
– just like the craquelures in the surfaces of old porcelain that gave this contractual work its name. He came across the expression »craquelé« for the first time in connection with an artificially generated impression of the ageing of counterfeited oil paintings, said Franz Martin Olbrisch in the previous »Musik im Gespräch« (‚Music in Talk‘) in the Foyer of the hr-broadcasting hall...

Schichtwechsel - temps et mouvement - DARMSTÄDTER ECHO on 8.8.2006 (Heinz Zietsch)

Translated from German: Totally different, Franz Martin Olbrisch in his night concert at the art gallery. The electronic sounds of his concert environment “Schichtwechsel – temps et movement” for twelve speakers and video projection (Beate Olbrisch) do not seem constructed but leave room for spontaneity. Especially for the audience which, by wandering through the room, can find their own way through the music. Depending on the location you will have different hearing and visual perspectives. Strewn across the ground lie, comparable to a Mondrian painting, graphically arranged polystyrene mirrors which change the videos and at the same time reflect the room of the art gallery. An additional element is the shadow of the visitor which is created by his or her wandering through the audio installation. This shadow becomes an integral part of the environment.
The title “Schichtwechsel” (change of shift) itself is ambiguous. It is related to the everyday life but also to the layers of sound, the change of the video images which are projected on the mirrors like layers that are eventually changed by time and movement. It is a fascinating process in addition to the impulsive sounds and noises. Like gluttonous fish muzzles the feet are reflected, selected and fractured by the video projection. Head and stomach are forming a fascinating interplay in this concert environment that expresses more than some crazed ensemble composition.

El mundo haz de tus imagenes - DIE ZEIT on 22.3.2001 (Frank Hilberg)

Translated from German: Next to the elaborate art of composing that can best be found in the hermetic muse tempels, the music biennale also shows us paths beyond the concert hall. In the ‘Kulturbrauerei’ Franz Martin Olbrisch’s El mundo haz de tus imagenes , a hybrid between space-sound-ensemble, audio installation and audio play, was performed. Isles of little speaker groups and musicians form sources of sound in the room. The environment is permeated by instrumental sounds and invigorated by unreal noises. The whizzing of breaking slates is pulling you in an underworld of sound, dripping of water and gargling sounds with surreal, iridescent resonance seem to belong to the perspective of another creature. In its best moments, the composition is bringing forward a body of sound that is suggestive like the strangeness of a stalker, who is having an encounter in one of Andreij Tarkowskis “zones” (places where objects develop a foreign and hostile dynamic of their own) with the un-nameable, the surreal. Noises are the language of objects, they are the traces of their clandestine activities which remain invisible. Creating a reality behind reality is something that can be accomplished by art: transcending the everyday life and evoking the visionary, dreamy, premonitory.

Dissimilation - BRAUNSCHWEIGER ZEITUNG on 22.7.2000 (Alexander Huber)

Translated from German: Out of dabbed random sounds a delicate, multi-faceted gauze is spun that intertwines itself to form vague, only surmised rhythmic patterns without freezing in rigid regularity. Shrill screeching of wheels can break in and an extensive crackle and sough of stones unfolds. With Olbrisch, chance and order are in a dialogue that remains undecided.
Dampness, depth, darkness shall be suggested by the room-sound cosmos. The listener shall be abducted in unknown depths of the earth that are alluring and promising but repulsive at the same time. At the wooden desk, Rainer Homann is weaving short texts into the sound fabric with a straight voice that is intentionally left without effects.
Flowery avowals of the alluring, the fascinating but also the demonic that is gleaming ominously in the magical-cold black stone, phrase the romanticists Novalis and Tieck. Complaints about the dangers of badly stabilized tunnels and the threats to health – yes, even life – imposed by the working conditions as well as the social misery of the workers are portrayed by historical petitions. Evidence that in mining fascination and horror lie close together. Curiously, you can listen to the tender, seemingly random sound material that creates rhythmic patterns. Or you can be led to reflections about the aesthetic and economic aspects of the black stone by Homann’s unpretentious lection.

Dissimilation - FAZ on 29.04.1999

Translated from German: In the newly dressed and fashionably furnished operational building, Franz M. Olbrisch is installing his „Dissimilation“: 1742 Friedrich II. of Prussia ordered the mines of Witten to be occupied, the same year Car Phillip Emanuel Bach composed the “Preußische Sonaten” (‘Prussian sonatas’). A ‚contemporaneity‘ which, according to Olbrisch by referring to Jean Piaget, is based on an ‘intellectual construction’. With his installation, Olbrisch is bringing together the elements that describe the area of tension: black pathways, pieces of black coal, documents of former times that are read by a narrator. The visitor of “Dissimilation” himself/herself is creating sounds and noises that are bundling the signs in the room. This possesses remarkable powers of suggestion.

FM o99.5 - JAZZTHETIK 1998 Nr.5 (Eric Zwang Eriksson)

Translated from German: The third production – Olbrisch‘s FM 099,5 – already tells us in its title what material was used by the artist for his composition. No live instrument can be heard. Instead recordings from the archive of the radio station that is broadcasting in the region of Donaueschingen (!) on the frequency FM 099.5 are played. Originally the composition was designed as a 48 hour long radio program that was sent through the aether during the Donaueschingen Music Days 1993. Now, this program has been shortened and an edited version has been pressed to CD. The music has to be called graphic, and even the word music seems misplaced in the dense network of sounds, noises and voices. Audio play? Sound collage? Tone landscapes? The inclined listener experiences secret and sinister worlds in this challenging sound spectacle, these three intertwined webbings of electronic citations that originate from the Donaueschingen anniversary.

FM o99.5 - DIE ZEIT on 6.8.1998 (Frank Hillberg)

Translated from German: Who does still believe that the computer made work life easier? Everybody. Even though the ‘paperless office’ has caused a five times higher consumption of paper (manuals, faulty print-outs). Even though countless hours trickle away while trying to understand a basic program function. Nevertheless, the superstition is still very common that computers have freed sophisticated mankind from the drudgery of dirty and repetitive work.
In the sector of music as well. ‘Search algorithms, collect sound materials, push a button – done is the master piece.’ Who believes that has never tried it. Computer music is one of the most ungrateful affairs. The devices are confusingly complex and the problems therefore unlimited and the outcomes mostly very modest. The piece FM 099.5 was born when the Donaueschingen Music Days gave composer Franz Martin Olbrisch the assignment to create a piece of computer music that is related to the history of the festival. Now, you need to know that Olbrisch is somewhat extreme in everything he does. So the composer vanished for two years in the depths of an electronic studio. With him, he took countless audio tapes of orchestra and ensemble pieces, of jazz concerts, installations and audio plays that were brought to life in Donaueschingen. Out of this repository he took tiny and tiniest snippets. Fed them into the computer. Transformed them. Rearranged them. Slave labour.
When he emerged he brought a sound cosmos with him that contains the history of New Music in a nutshell and is yet very unique. In FM 099.5 (Wergo 2054) Olbrisch is using not a single tone and yet, he created a distinct opus altogether – no citations, no assonances. While listening, the kind of dizziness is evoked that seizes you when you perceive what should not exist: for instance a string-flageolett that is louder than an orchestra tutti or a hissing breathed upon flute that is blowing away an entire ensemble of pipe winds. The proportions and consistencies are wrong – the small is large, the light is heavy and the soft is hard.
So there is finally computer music that is not feigning a synthetic sound world full of howlers, beepers and other science fiction movie effects, but is introducing new perspectives to music. One could find back to the belief that you can create something artistic with the box after all.

FM o99.5 - WESTZEIT 1/1998 (Karsten Zimalla)

Translated from German: To the series of my „Best of 97“ belongs next to the five listed records the 4th series of the trend-setting “edition zkm”.
„FM 099.5“ (Wergo) by Martin Olbrisch could be a magic moment to some of us. Developed as a 48 hour long non-stop radio program for Donaueschingen 1993 is putting the expression “musique concrete der Neuen Musik” in a nutshell. Recordings from the archive of the Donaueschingen Music Days were the basis for Olbrisch’s net of relations and connections between music and voices. The 45 year old composer from Mülheim devised his sound rooms from 2,000 snippets and has edited them now for performance by concert speakers. 3 in total more than 60 min. long milestones of acoustic/media art. Great tip!

différance / Spuren - OHREKREIS VOLKSSTIMME on 18.8.1997 (Liane Bornhold)

Translated from German: Ostinating rhythms are hammering, then flute sounds, sounds of everyday life, a melancholic melody, a pause, later a sound emerges from the signal of a siren that is provoking the listener at times and at times is simply driving him on. The music is coming from tape which also means from speakers that are skillfully arranged in the room. But this music is not terrifying as it does not stand alone. In the room which is completely dark, you see pictures. A span above the ground, four projection canvases are stretched on which color slides can be seen, pictures that generate a joint composition with the music. A composition which every visitor and listener is creating for themselves when he or she is wandering through the room, when he or she is experiencing pictures and sounds from different points of view, sitting down and letting the changing color, light and sound rhythms sink in.
All senses have been triggered this Sunday at castle Hundisburg. In the course of the 5th International Summer Academy Hundisburg, the hosts had invited Franz Martin Olbrisch from Berlin who presented himself with this extraordinary concert, a concert for audio tape and beamer on the corn loft of castle Hundisburg. Music with light and image in the room. Each of these artworks by the Olbrischs is unique, is tied to the respective room, the visitor, the emotional mood and virtually cannot be reproduced in the same way. Since the 1980s you can experience such light-image-concerts by Franz Martin Olbrisch, amongst others in Berlin, Darmstadt and Oldenburg.
Following the ‚traces‘ which Olbrisch was pointing out and presenting in the Hundisburg corn loft, created a rather peculiar charm that presumably originates from the fact that his composition is directly linking itself to the everyday experiences in life without thickening the plot in a certain direction. The huge freedom for own associations is also evoked by the images that light up on the canvases, sometimes standing still, sometimes disappearing for the span of the blink of an eye and re-emerging in brighter or dimmer light – just like you look when passing by or standing still, harmonically, naturally. In these snap-shots, these ‘traces’, the artist is at first showing people who, seen from above, create the traces, leave them behind – a footprint in sand, for example, shards of glass, a crack in asphalt. Later, however, the traces transform into the abstract, maybe to that degree to which the music is bundling into a more comprehensible and harmonic melodic unit. What remains are colored surfaces, contrasts, structures and single words that everyone can personally take with them and spin them further – finding traces and maybe a story of its own.
After two hours, the visitors are stepping onto the castle courtyard. Excited and relaxed at the same time, you feel very intensively the uniqueness of the castle at night, the artistic atmosphere that is bringing across the architecture, music and last but not least the sculptures of the youngest wood-sculptor-symposium that have been arranged in the courtyard. Sensitized to the beauty of the cultivated landscape Haldensleben-Hundisburg you set off homebound, knowing that you will come back.

FM o99.5 - FAZ on 10.7.1995 (Achim Heidenreich)

Translated from German: Musical art non-stop for two days and nights: Everyone who, after the jump into the cold water of the Darmstadt open air pool on the ‘Lichtwiese’, was in the mood for aesthetic immersion was able to let him or her get sprinkled by Franz Martin Olbrisch’s sound shower “FM o99.5” for 48 hours at the Technical University. This monumental piece of work was composed for the Donaueschingen Music Days 1993 – back then it could be received by radio via the denominating frequency in the city at Danube’s origin – and is now filling the auditorium of the department of architecture with digitally altered sounds but also electronically untreated music in which passages from composer interviews were fitted according to a specific schedule.
That’s how Wolfgang Rihm’s cry ‚Listen! Listen!’ – his answer to the question how is music should be heard – not only filled the stairway but also was sounded via the external speakers into the adjacent forest. Taking this exclamation seriously, in memoriam John Cage, for everyone who engaged him- or herself the most wonderful music could be heard: The screaming of chirpy children from the crowded pool was mixing with the fervent birdsongs from the forest. Not least, Olbrisch’s aesthetic transformation of a single resonating chord, of which an audio recording was once given to Olbrisch by the cellist Michael Bach, was cloaking the hideous concrete block of the university with a delicate veil of sound.
The ‚Lichtwiese‘ did not become mount ‚Montsalwatsch‘ and the functional building not the mythical ‚Gralsburg‘ but a change in perception of and intercourse with the music was easily achieved by the composer with this neat, ample installation. Who brouhgt enough time did not miss that the elaborate combination of composition and interview was both a striking sensual and an intellectually reflecting work that inspired numerous architecture students to playful, associative three-dimensional models and conceptions.