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act 216 · klangstabil · math & emotion · cd

01 math & emotion - the square root of one
02 perdere per vincere (the italian opening)
03 love has too much audience
04 fighting colours
05 gridami
06 hanham vs. steinitz
07 lauf, lauf!
08 good night kingdom
09 beziehungsohr
10 twisted words

also available:

klangstabil. the chess opening. t-shirt. ant-zen ikon70 / mhz-st09
black t-shirt w/ frontprint in silvergrey & white ink. plus klangstabil button
available sizes: s, m, l, xl, one-sized girlie-shirt

klangstabil. faust. t-shirt. ant-zen ikon81 / mhz-st10
black t-shirt w/ frontprint in dark copper & white ink. plus klangstabil button
available sizes: s, m, l, xl, one-sized girlie-shirt

klangstabil. math & emotion. fine art print. ant-zen ikon84 / mhz-art01
math & emotion cover fine art print. 70 x 50 cm. unfolded. painting by ugurcan yüce

written and produced by klangstabil.
mastered by simon v.
cover painting by ugurcan yüce.
graphic concept & layout by salt.
released in collaboration with megahertz.

to unite the apollonian and the dionysian, the rational and the exstatic has never been easy, which is why the greeks had a god for each case. it is to be noted that music falls within the area of responsibility of the rational apollo with his muses, but dionysos was always ready to get the party started and turn the volume up. to paraphrase salman rushdie from "the ground beneath her feet", that the struggle of the great musician is to try to set the pure, clean tones of apollo's song in movement to the impure rythmn of dionysos.

each epoch has tried to bridge the dichotomy in it's own language, in the baroque with ratio and god, the romantic with power and nature, the modern with disonance and alienation and our post-modern with rythmn and the medial self. each an existential answer and question to our human condition.

our sensual awareness is steered by our emotions. questions of awareness are existential questions both philosophically and literally. emotional morbidity can lead to untimely death. perhaps the more a person encapsulates and isolates their emotional condition, the more pathological becomes their state.

nothing perhaps represents for us the spirit of deferred gratification and balanced power more than the game of chess. nothing seems so mysteriously ordered, 8x8 the 64 squares and the hierarchical pyramid of feudal order. it may say something of the origin of chess that hindu teaching guides us to the 64 abilities a man must master, or the 64 combinations of the 8 categories of erotic acts in the kama sutra, amongst other similar combinations. likewise, the i ching demonstrates in 64 hexagrams the manifold universe as the sum of 6x odd and even. the master, as opposed to the computer, has stored the combinations through experience and chooses the next move as the intuitive sum of all this experience just as the random fall of coins opens the door to an oracle.

all art has to be understood as speaking first to the heart. when a clever artist today says that he or she wants to make us think with their attempt to shock, then they have failed to understand either art or us. art speaks to our emotions first and not to our rational faculty. we feel first and ask questions later. the first steps to mathematics starts in our emotional awareness.

our feelings come and go, are true for a time and then change. in the moment that i feel, my feeling is unequivocally true, whereas anything i say rationally, including this essay can be argued about and disputed. that 1+1=2 is something that nobody will dispute either, but 3-1=2 is also true.

once again klangstabil approaches the squaring of the circle.

(excerpt from 'math & emotion - a prologue', written by alasdair macaulay)

the idea of producing a concept album about chess arose in the summer of 2005 when boris may started cultivating an interest in the game to find a way to overcome his growing mental laziness. maurizio blanco also liked the idea of turning chess into a musical concept. chessboards and relevant literature were aquired so as to get into to the spirit of the game. originally, the title of this album was planned to be "mindchess". later on, it was transformed into 'math & emotion' because this title reflects the way klangstabil learned how to play the game. "the concept 'math & emotion' became wider and overstepped the limits of a mere game of chess. it was projected on interhuman behavioral patterns in the everyday game of life." (boris may)

at the end of 2005, boris may was captivated by the idea to make a cover for 'math & emotion' in the dime novel/ghost story style of the german "gespenster geschichten" comics. these ghost novels were pulp fiction that was published in the 1970s and that impressed him deeply in his childhood. after some research he was able to contact the artist who did the cover paintings, ugurcan yüce (can). boris may: "since he is not only a painter but also a musician, we got on to the same wavelength very quickly when the concept of 'math & emotion' was explained. i explained how the chess theme should run through the whole album." this contradiction is visually realised by two archetypal spirits emanating from boris may's and maurizio blanco's bodies to fight the deadly match to the end.

the music on this album seems easily accessible, resuming the path klangstabil has been on for years. the first impression to the expectant listener might be undiluted dark electro-based pop, but this isn't an inaccurate evaluation, as they call it 'klangpop'. massive synth surfaces, pulsing sequencer patterns and intense vocals intertwined with precise computerized drum beats add up to memorable tunes. on closer examination oblique details become visible: elaborated rhythmical work, hidden sound fragments and the specific tension klangstabil are well-known for - all aided by significant lyrics in german, english and italian. the more you engage in 'math & emotion' the more the deepness of this release will develop - just like the seemingly simple game of chess and the game of life.

klangstabil discography on ant-zen 10.2k8:
math & emotion. cd. ant-zen act216 / megahertz mhz-cd04. 2008
math & emotion. cd-special edition. ant-zen act216.1 / megahertz mhz-cd05. 2008 mp3 album. ant-zen dig008. 2008
taking nothing seriously. cd. ant-zen act136. 2004
sprite storage format. lp. ant-zen act90. 1999

klangstabil on the internet:


radio f.r.e.i. aktuell
die idee ein konzeptalbum zum thema schach zu veröffentlichen entstand im sommer 2005, als boris may interesse am spiel fand um seine aufkommende mentale faulheit zu überwinden. auch maurizio blanco fand gefallen an der idee das thema schach als musikalisches konzept umzusetzen. schachbretter und relevante literatur wurden herangezogen um dem geiste des spieles näher zu kommen. anfänglich sollte das album den namen "mindchess" tragen, wurde dann aber in "math & emotion" geändert da dieser titel den weg reflektiert, auf dem klangstabil lernten dieses spiel zu spielen. das konzept "math & emotion" begann zu wachsen und überschritt die grenzen eines schieren schachspiels. es wurde projeziert auf die zwischenmenschlichen verhaltensmuster im täglichen spiel des lebens. treibende rhythmen, pulsierende sequenzen und verträumte klavierpassagen, dazu deutsche, englische und italienische texte, all das findet man auf "math & emotion". und das so perfekt in szene gesetzt, das man nicht darum herumkommt immer und immer wieder die playtaste zu drücken sobald die cd zu ende ist. klangstabil verstehen es gekonnt einen spannungsbogen zu erzeugen, der den hörer fesselt, mitreisst und im nächsten augenblick wieder zum träumen bewegt.

4 jahre sind seit dem letzten album "taking nothing seriously" vergangen. eine zeit in der klangstabil den sprung vom geheimtipp zur festen grösse in den clubs geschafft haben. um so gespannter durfte man auf das neue album "math & emotion" sein, das nun am 17.oktober 2008 erscheint. die idee ein konzeptalbum zum thema schach zu veröffentlichen entstand im sommer 2005, als boris may interesse am spiel fand um seine aufkommende mentale faulheit zu überwinden. auch maurizio blanco fand gefallen an der idee das thema schach als musikalisches konzept umzusetzen. schachbretter und relevante literatur wurden herangezogen um dem geiste des spieles näher zu kommen. anfänglich sollte das album den namen "mindchess" tragen, wurde dann aber in "math & emotion" geändert da dieser titel den weg reflektiert, auf dem klangstabil lernten dieses spiel zu spielen. das konzept "math & emotion" begann zu wachsen und überschritt die grenzen eines schieren schachspiels. es wurde projeziert auf die zwischenmenschlichen verhaltensmuster im täglichen spiel des lebens. (boris may) treibende rhythmen, pulsierende sequenzen und verträumte klavierpassagen , dazu deutsche, englische und italienische texte, all das findet man auf "math & emotion". und das so perfekt in szene gesetzt, das man nicht darum herumkommt immer und immer wieder die playtaste zu drücken sobald die cd zu ende ist. klangstabil verstehen es gekonnt einen spannungsbogen zu erzeugen, der den hörer fesselt, mitreisst und im nächsten augenblick wieder zum träumen bewegt. songs wie "math & emotion - the square of root one" und "twisted words" werden mit sicherheit den weg in die clubs dieser welt finden. mein anspieltipp ist jedoch das gesamte album. (andy)

a review in russian language can be found on the machinist's website:

gothic nr.62
wem ist ihr clubhit "you may start" nicht noch lebendig in den ohren. mit dramatischer eindringlichkeit rückt das duo aus reutlingen der anti-kommunikation auf den leib. dabei kann man sie zwar grob dem electrobereich zuordnen, doch eine feinere kategorisierung wage ich angesichts ihrer experimentierfreude nicht. auch "math & emotion" schillert wieder in vielen klangfarben und stilen. kein song gleicht dabei dem anderen. lediglich das große thema der inhaltsebene, welches den beiden gegensätzen ratio und emotion gewidmet ist, verbindet die zehn titel unterhalb der soundebene. dazu bedienen sich klangstabil wiederkehrend der schachmetapher. mehrere stücke scheinen die langen wartezeiten bei schachspielen klanglich zu manifestieren, in denen die spieler ihre nächsten züge planen, ohne dabei auch nur eine miene zu verziehen. tick, tick, tick - die zeit verrinnt ohne verschwendet zu werden, denn innen tobt ein sturm der gefühle. besonders gefällig kommt da beispielsweise "fighting colours" daher, in dem zudem ein text von ulrich raschke eingebunden wurde. die idee der schachmetapher entstand übrigens vor rund vier jahren. kaum ist der letzte zug getan, kommen klangstabil mit einer nach vorn gerichteten italopop-nummer namens "gridami" um die ecke. hier ergreift ein bauer das wort, der von der spielerin führung erbittet, bereit geopfert zu werden und nur erbittet nicht in vergessenheit zu geraten. einzige kritik fasst "hanham vs. steinitz" ab, denn das minutenlange rezitieren der spielzüge auf dem brett wirkt doch einigermaßen monoton. aber vielleicht soll es das genau tun. abgesehen davon steckt in jeder einzelnen zeile geballte forderung kommunikation wieder zu lernen und zu zelebrieren. insgesamt fasst die platte großes lob ab, weil klangstabil es gelingt grenzen zu überrennen ohne sich dabei zu verlieren und untreu zu werden. mut muss schließlich belohnt werden - also hört nur aufmerksam hin. (kareen reissmann)

elektronische musik ist vielschichtig, auch wenn verfechter der akustischen instrumentierung dies nicht wahrhaben wollen. besonders interessant wird es, wenn man die ausgetretenen pfade, die unzählige bands bereits gegangen sind, zurückverfolgt und an den anfangspunkt gelangt. klangstabil hat dies gemacht. sie sind zwar nicht in die urzeit zurückgewandert, haben aber mit ihrem werk "math & emotion" einen großen sprung nach hinten gemacht. ihr sound erinnert an die kühlen anfangszeiten des electro-pop. kraftwerk mag man raushören, john foxx ist sicherlich auch mit drin. und trotzdem ist klangstabil eigenständig und wirklich unikat. "math & emotion" beschreibt nicht nur sehr gut die eigenschaften der klangstabil'schen musikkunst, sondern sind auch die zwei wesentlichen pfeiler, die das schachspiel ausmachen. die bandmitglieder sind dem schach ziemlich verfallen und fingen vor gut drei jahren mit einer musikalischen umsetzung des spiels an (nicht zufällig sind auf dem cover zwei schachspieler und an der wand ein schachbrett zu erkennen - ein übrigens vortreffliches artwork). so beginnt das album nach dem titelsong mit der "italienische eröffnung": "perdere per vincere" erinnert mit seinen italienischen lyrics tatsächlich ein bisschen an die eiskalte version solcher 80er bands aus italien wie ryan paris und dergleichen. aber das ist nur eine facette dieses unglaublich vielschichtigen und intelligenten werks. "love has too much audience" beginnt beispielsweise mit streichern und einer wunderbaren pianolinie, die durch einen forcierten sprechgesang eine sehr eigene note bekommt. jeder song erzählt eine eigene geschichte, dementsprechend ist auch jeder song anders. eigentlich gleicht kein stück dem anderen. und dennoch scheint sich durch das album so etwas wie ein roter faden durchzuziehen. mag es vielleicht diese durchweg traurige grundstimmung. dass klangstabil ihre stücke in deutsch, italienisch und englisch singen, verleiht dem album eine zusätzliche dynamik. "math & emotion" ist ein trip am scheitelpunkt zwischen licht und dunkel, eine wanderung in melancholische gefilde. nur manchmal scheint das licht wie in "gridami", ehe es wieder verschwindet und man in die nacht eingehüllt ist. ein wirklich innovatives werk, das intelligent strukturiert ist! (nuuc)

the new album of klangstabil is out and has been given the title math & emotion. the first new release since taking nothing seriously got released four years ago. the concept on this new klangstabil album is the game of chess as symbol for the tension between ratio and emotion. just like with chess, music as a form of art can be mathematical in ranking notes but it eventually is the emotion that counts. music first reaches the emotion and only then we start asking questions. klangstabil like no other masters the art of addressing emotion as well as the rational mind. at first hearing it is noticeable how accessible the intelligent gloomy electropop of this duo has become, yet after several listening sessions the music proves to again contain deepness and to reveal all sorts of little yet refined details that were not obvious at first. klangpop they call it themselves. monumental synthesizer layers, pulsating sequencer patterns and intense emotional vocals combined with compterized drum beats, vocals and this has led to a couple of very accomplished tracks with lyrics in german, english or italian sung or recited at the well known slogan alike way of klangstabil. highlights are the opening track 'math & emotion - the square root of one', the italian ballad like 'perdere per vincere ( the italian opening)', the almost radio friendly popsong 'gridami', the jazzy triphop beats and grooves with computerized voices in 'hanham vs. steinitz' and the forceful danceable yet majestic electropop track 'lauf, lauf!'. but also the other tracks are of a very high quality. the music of klangstabil is hard to catch in words and has to be experienced. intense and beautiful, emotional and refined. the total is far more than just the sum of its parts. with math & emotion klangstabil has again managed to further develop their artistic abilities and presents a truly unique sound. (teknoir)

der medienkonverter
ist es wirklich schon so lange her seit dem letzten klangstabil-album "taking nothing seriously"? beschäftigte sich dieses mit dem nichts als solches, ist das neue album "math & emotion" des duos im prinzip genau das gegenteil. es geht um die verbindung des rationalen mit dem emotionalen, zwei begriffe, die wesentlich das menschsein prägen. die fähigkeit, rational zu denken (zumindest in den uns gesetzten grenzen) und die fähigkeit, uns von unsere gefühlen leiten zu lassen, haben nicht nur dazu beigetragen, dass die menschheit bis heute überlebt hat, sondern definieren uns unter anderem als menschen. nun lässt sich die behauptung aufstellen, dass sich gefühle nicht in zahlen oder mathematischen formeln ausdrücken lassen. andererseits löst die mathematik bei den meisten unterschiedliche gefühle aus. die einen sind angewidert, die anderen entzückt. ein spiel, das diesen widerspruch enthält, ist schach. auch hier stehen sich kühle logik und emotionen gegenüber. ein gegensatz, der sich im übrigen auch in das reale leben übertragen lässt. boris may fing mitte 2005 an, sich mit schach zu beschäftigen. bald darauf hatte das duo die idee geboren, das thema schach in seiner musik zu verarbeiten. schon gegen ende des gleichen jahres versuchte boris may, den maler der cover der 70er-jahre-comics "gespenster geschichten" ausfindig zu machen, um die covergestaltung für das neue album zu übernehmen. jener ugurcan yüce ist selbst musiker und ließ sich schnell überreden, die arbeit zu übernehmen. auf diesem cover findet sich der benannte widerspruch im kampf zweier geister, die aus den beiden schach spielenden maurizio blanco und boris may aufsteigen. musikalisch sind klangstabil nach vier jahren immer noch deutlich wieder zu erkennen. dennoch gibt es ein paar entscheidende änderungen. "math & emotion" ist in teilen sehr poppig geworden und enthält sogar reminiszenzen an den synthpop der 90er. natürlich ist der sound gewaltig und kann ohne probleme ein paar sequenzen zu einem ganzen song aufblasen. das ganze nennen klangstabil passender weise "klangpop". hinzu kommt der gesang in deutsch, englisch und italienisch mit zum nachdenken anregenden texten und ergänzenden samples, wie man es von dem duo gewohnt ist. ein song wie "gridami" lässt einen dennoch erstaunt richtung cd-player schauen, klingt er doch ein wenig wie eurodance-pop, was durch den italienischen gesang nicht besser wird. ganz im gegensatz das das folgende "hanham vs. steinitz", in dem eine computerstimme schachzüge runterbetet. über den großteil des albums überzeugen klangstabil mit ihrem dunklen, industrial-beeinflussten pop. "math & emotion" ist somit einerseits genau das album, das man erwartet hat und andererseits aber genau das gegenteil. da haben wir wieder einen widerspruch. man könnte auch sagen: "math & emotion" ist ein album voller widersprüche und gegensätze. stimmt aber nicht :-)
bereits im sommer 2005 wurde von boris may und maurizio blanco die ideen geboren ein konzeptalbum mit dem grundthema schach zu kreieren. folglich fiel die wahl des titels des aktuellen albums ursprünglich auf "mindchess", wurde aber doch in "math & emotion" geändert, was in den augen und ohren der schöpfer ein passenderer titel ist. klangstabil wollen mit dem thema des schachspiels die parallelen zwischen eben diesem "kopf-spiel" und dem alltäglichen menschlichen leben darstellen: denken, handeln, logik und herausforderung um nur einige überschneidungen zu nennen, die dem einen oder anderen geläufig sein sollten! die erwartungshaltung an "math & emotion" war nach dem 2004er release "taking nothing seriously" enorm hoch, hatte die platte doch mit "you may start", "push yourself" oder "kill all lifeforms" wahre perlen elektronischer musik hervorgebracht. mit der aktuellen veröffentlichung bewegen sich klangstabil weiter auf ihren einsamen pfaden, denn vergleichbares material anderer musikerkollegen ist zumindest mir in dieser form nicht bekannt und das duo besetzt somit ihre ganz eigene schublade: wie kaum ein anderes projekt verbindet klangstabil tiefe melancholie mit experimentell-industriallastiger härte, unglaubliche klangwände mit feinen melodien und rythmische tanzbarkeit mit an ambient grenzende flächen. "math & emotion" hat im vergleich zum vorgänger deutlich die nase vorn. zum einen ließen may und blanco noch viele weitere ideen einfließen, was das album weitaus abwechslungsreicher und kurzweiliger macht. auch der einsatz von englischen, deutschen und italienischen (!) lyrics zeigt sich als äußerst interessant. das album hat einfach alles, wirklich alles, was ein perfektes elektronikalbum braucht: begonnen mit "math & emotion - the squareroot of one", einer dermaßen druckvollen klangwalze, die "you may start" ein mehr als würdiger nachfolger ist und künftig für wenig platz zur entfaltung auf der tanzfläche sorgen wird. ein völlig anderes erlebnis folgt mit "perdere per vincere (the italian opening)": hier erwartet den hörer mit den italienischen vocals ein ganz besonderer charme, welche aber wie an sich das ganze album einen tiefen schwermut mit sich trägt und somit die gesamte grundstimmung des albums trefflich wiedergibt! so entwickelt sich nun das gesamte album weiter: kein titel gleicht dem anderen, jeder hat sein eigenleben, aber eine selten in musik verpackte tiefe haben sie alle gemein. höhepunkte herauszustellen ist nahezu unmöglich, zumal die lieder mit jedem durchlauf immer mehr an spannung gewinnen, wodurch auch anfangs schwerer zugängliche stücke ihre umso intensivere wirkung entfalten. das traf in meinem fall besonders auf "twisted words" zu. von mal zu mal wurde dieser track immer intensiver und das unkonventionelle sample entwickelte einen unheimlichen gänsehauteffekt! sei es weiterhin das getragene und wunderschöne "love has to much audience" oder das motivierende "lauf, lauf!" (das einen der aufbauendsten texte hat, die ich je gehört habe): auf "math & emotion" reiht sich ein höhepunkt an den anderen. zusammenfassend bleibt mir nur noch eine klare kaufempfehlung abzugeben. für mich ist "math & emotion" eines der beeindruckendsten werke, wenn nicht das beeindruckendste werk diesen jahres. hier stimmt einfach alles: anspruch, abwechslung, ideen, tanzbarkeit und tiefe! perfekt! (elcommandante)

dark entries [11/2008]
voor het zevende album van het duitse duo klangstabil was het aanvankelijk de bedoeling om een conceptalbum te maken rond het schaakspel. de idee ontstond in de zomer van 2005, toen boris may zich in het schaakspel begon te interesseren om zijn groeiende mentale luiheid te counteren. zijn muzikale partner maurizio blanco was deze conceptidee genegen en schaakborden en relevante literatuur werden aangeschaft om in de geest van het spel te komen. in eerste instantie zou het album "mindchess" gaan heten, maar de titel werd later veranderd in "math & emotion" omdat deze titel de manier weergeeft waarop klangstabil het schaakspel aanleerden. het concept "math & emotion" werd breder en oversteeg de limieten van het pure schaakspel. het werd geprojecteerd naar intermenselijke gedragspatronen in het spel van elke dag. want ach: is gans het leven eigenlijk geen schaakspel? een mooie metafoor in elk geval! "math & emotion" telt 10 songs (53 minuten speelduur). sommige songtitels sluiten perfect aan bij het thema, "fighting colours" is wel het mooiste voorbeeld, bij anderen is dat echter minder duidelijk. klangstabil zijn een beetje een vreemde eend in de bijt van het ant-zen label, want hun veellagige dark synthpop staat dichter bij kraftwerk of wolfsheim dan bij industrial. dark synthpop zeggen we, want donker en melancholisch klinkt het inderdaad. toch is het niet altijd kommer en kwel deze keer; een paar keer breekt er zelfs een straaltje zon door het klangstabil synthwolkendek. de songs "perdere per vincere (the italian opening)" en "gridami" gaan zelfs aardig richting zonnige en vrolijke italodisco. en de verwijzing naar dat genre is echt wel zo gewild; de lyrics van beide songs zijn niet toevallig in het italiaans. nu is italodisco niet bepaald ons favoriete genre (en dat is een understatement), maar gelukkig weten boris en maurizio er een typische klangstabil-draai aan te geven, zodat we er toch best mee kunnen leven. klangstabil zijn eigenlijk een genre op zich. 'klangpop' noemen ze hun licht experimentele donkere synthpop-electro met massieve synthlagen en pulserende sequencerpatronen. intense vocals in duits, engels en italiaans en koele drumcomputerbeats maken het muzikale plaatje af. het is heden ten dage niet simpel om nog origineel te klinken, maar klangstabil slagen er wonderwel in! [hv]

vital weekly + [11/2008]
my first album by klangstabil, was "straftat gegen das leben", purchased in the copenhagen-based record-store baden baden back in 1997. from this quite industrial-based and technoid album it is quite impressive how this joint-venture project has managed to develop, founding new approaches of their musical explorations. with the previous album, "taking nothing seriously" (ant-zen, 2004), klangstabil began to focus on a quite emotional pace built on deep felt vocals from boris may beautifully combined with grandiose soundscapes added a few doses of semi-harsh interventions, making the album nothing short of a masterpiece from the industrial scene. now four years later comes this follow-up from maurizio blanco and boris may alias klangstabil. the grandiosity and the melodic approach are even clearer on this new album titled "math & emotion" meanwhile the harsher elements are suppressed resulting in a quite listen-friendly work. a quick comparison could the dark electropop of depeche mode, but klangstabil has their own unique style powered by the strong vocals combined with the duo's ability to create catchy rhythm textures and pompous synthlines. on "math & emotion", klangstabil once more proves that they belong to the first class of the contemporary industrial-scene. (reviewed by niels mark)

zillo [11/2008]
endlich mal wieder ein kleines lichtlein in der immer weiter um sich greifenden hellektronischen dunkelheit. zwar kämpfen klangstabil als einer der wenigen retter des guten geschmacks auf verlorenem posten, doch sind ihre zehn nadelstiche in den muffigen pelz des grauens ein akustischer hochgenuss. das gewohnt kongeniale zusammenspiel aus leicht entrücktem gesang und geradliniger, unterkühlter elektronik bietet ein höchstmaß an rhythmus und tonaler perfektion. dass sich das duo may/blanco dabei ausgerechnet das schachspiel zum thema gesucht hat, passt in das verschrobene universum der beiden klangtüftler. bloß nicht den einfachen weg gehen! das könnte langweilig werden und die eigenen ansprüche torpedieren. und wer kann sonst schon noch von sich behaupten, die beiden polkappen mathematik und emotion miteinander verschmolzen zu haben?! und dann noch auf eine art und weise, die selbst schach-laien zum zunge schnalzen zwingt. [urban]

they fell
klangstabil is a band whose sound is difficult to pin down. while electro, of course, digging deeper either takes you nowhere or everywhere. math & emotion is no different. powered on a chess theme, the album is an almost epic struggle between two polar spheres: logic and emotion. the opening track, "math & emotion - the square root of one", is a dark, synthetic song with cold vocals and deep beats stretched to their limit. "beziehungsohr" is another standout track, with monotonous circling beats and sparse sampled flourishes. however, the album ends on it's highest point, "twisted words", with a vocal delivery that's nearly spat out and smashing glass as rhythmic emphasis. "gridami" feels out of place on the album, and sounds to be playing nice with a mainstream pop-flotsam aesthetic, while "hanham vs. steinitz" incorporates trip hop elements a'la portishead that might seem foreign to the album, but proves to be an integral diversion. klangstabil gets better with with every release and, following suit, math & emotion is one of those albums that is good on the first listen, but even better on subsequent plays.

heathen harvest
after the reappearance of electro a couple of years ago an avalanche of bands has flooded the world scene, most of them come from europe, though the axis seems to be located at germany where the best acts makes the distinction. klangstabil is today one of the more applauded and respected representatives from that particular scene, not just in germany but in the rest of europe and at least a good portion of the world. a band with no further introduction needed, presenting their later album that should be simply described as a classic, an overly intelligent piece and a paragon for what modern and intelligent ebm electro with brained attitude should stay. klangstabil acknowledge theirselves as avantgardists above all. from their primal experimentations in abstract electronica, industrial and noise till their most advanced rejuvenation on electro on their penultimate album "taking nothing seriously", they have done an outstanding career that balances them to create original pieces full of emotion, rhythmic cunning and meticulous melodic creativity. math & emotion retakes the precedent stance experienced on their previous conceptual album and constitutes itself as another musical form and context. the harshest, violently noisy tone, morbid melody line and furious temper from the previous album disappeared. math & emotion is also a consequence and necessary sidestep from its predecessor preserving the poetical creativity and infusing it with new thematic, elaborated melodies, different mood and perspective. the album concentrates on the dichotomy found in the dionysian and apollonian aspects found in the art of chess, rationality vs instinct, method vs improvisation, inmaculate purity vs exalted spirit and so on. all those aspects presents as well as a mirror reflection on the actual facets from our own lives, from the more mundane episodes of our diary living to the decisive battleground of our choices, desires and personal struggles. life is a permanent battle chess and that is what "math & emotion" brilliantly captures through their hyper modern vision of post modernity and electronic music avant gardism. darkness has never been so elegant and popular before! first of all we have to point out that the work basically nurtures itself from three genres that germany, the nation in which they reside has been famous for: electro (yesterday and today), synth pop and techno, using all of them altogether to create a perfect chemical balance that finally defines the character and distinctive seal of the band. the duo capitalize their power by taking the best side from each genre in order to conform a whole new thing, accordingly to the new century, not only musically but also and most specially, lyrically, which is where resides half of the magic from klangstabil. there is an also additional connection with other styles but in less proportion, like some flavours of late 90's trance, especially in the more moved themes such as "gridami" and "lauf, lauf!" some excerpts from italo disco are also present and perhaps neoclassical feel as well, remarkably appreciated in the grandiloquence from the piano when it appears and the ominous and synthetically gelid electronic accompaniments that surrounds it. the powerful beat from electro is called when needed to reinforce the sentiment in the work, never abused, smartly encompassing the apathetic playfulness from synth pop that its typical melodies bring. the technoid elements serve as the more experimental exposure, varying the structure, avoiding the repetitiveness and giving extra textures where & when needed, polishing the finishes and giving abundant exuberance, with a kraftwerk(ian) influence noticeable at times. math & emotion follows the premise of its concept by playing with the opposites present in their theme, rhythmic stances are often stumped with highly melodic parts, providing gracious movement to the plot, creating an unparalleled match of beauty and force. bombastic rhythms succeeds more calmed ones and viceversa at the same time ominously elaborated melodies oppose to more minimalistic ones giving a permanent flood of movement and freshness to the work. outstanding poetry and lyricism, remarkable aspect considering the brainless and often out of hand attitude reflected in this section that is appreciated in the vast majority of bands that now wander into this genre, this goes for new ones and old ones. not everything is pop sensibilities and electronic delicacies; the dark side of the work resides in the mood that emanates within. i would say there's lots of spleen in here and although their construction may be popular this work will remain as part of the underground scene for its limited appeal in terms of thematic and feeling, this is music for selected personnel. sadness and ire cohabit respectfully, the later one represented in the voice (that at times resembles of solitary rants full of poetic anger) while the melodies always remain consistent to soulless synthetic feel, a world of plastic and ultra rationalistic approach on reality, where melancholy reigns as the final testament from human sentiments. there is also a sense of graveness and doom appreciable, which could be the missing link between this album and its predecessor. they paint a bleak world with their music and poetry; a world commanded by pragmatic measures and prefigured ideals, security above liberty and utilitarianism as the imperative condition for victory, victory presented as an empty deal with no additional finalities in itself. a match of chess where "the end justifies the means" and no further adventure or additional knowledge is appreciated during its realization. cold and merciless, but infinitely beautiful in form, math & emotion compactly constitutes itself and leaves the listener completely submerged into their visionary musical voyage. to highlight is the fact that the album has made a hit in the alternative/underground charts from europe for at least several weeks, in germany, nederland and greece! themes like the opener "math & emotion", "gridami" and "lauf, lauf!" (curiously each one represent the three languages that klangstabil manages during the work) can be easily usable for massive appealing since they have an excellent sense of melody and rhythmic catchiness. another appreciable sense for balance found is the inclusion of more atmospheric pieces in between sections, songs like "fighting colors", "hanham vs steinitz" and "beziehungsohr" are highly atmospheric and instrumental, "hanham vs steinitz" has this almost industrial feel, with their robotic repetitiveness and computerized voices. intermediate pieces adds the final balance to the presentation: the wonderfully poetic and musically inspiring "perdere per vincere", remarkably catchy and seducing, the melancholic "love has too much audience" and the farewell "twisted words" easily transforms this whole album in a solidified cornerstone of the year but also an epic creation and clear reference in the genre. a top notch release for ant-zen/megahertz. very recommended!

summer darkness
ok- let's assume most of you start to bounce to an imaginary industrial beat when you see the ant-zen label tag... well: ok- the label did release some pounding and heavy industrial records. still and nonetheless and to be current: the [law-rah] collective, on of the more recent releaes, isn't exactly harsh industrial or noise... ok- so ant-zen caters to several audiences... good for them, not?! but how does ant-zen perform when it comes to a game of chess? stupid question? not totally... for one of the more recent release and in and of itself one of the most noteworthy happens to be centered around the subject of chess, playing chess and furthermore several peripherical subjects surround the infamous, highly regardered if not crucial game of chess... this release is klangstabil's 'math and emotion'; a concept-album based on the game of chess in a larger setting than the 64 squares per se... check the limited edition release for the full low-down.....and to know it's more than a game to klangstabil. it's a way of thinking, of acting, of living, of performing, of breathing, of being... therefore it's a noble game; if not: the noble game! longing loves lost over a game of chess; wars won of lost like wise... and who can claim victory? the one in the game? the one who won there? and who did he win? by chance? by math? or by emotion? switchted around: what's victory? is it mind over matter or matter over mind? is it math over emotion or emtion over math? and: apart from the game of chess... how does this last question equate to your own personal life and the game you play in there? or even: the games you are playing there, now here, then there...?! you know what's rather funny- klangstabil was all over the place on their previous releases and now in some way its no different as there are numerous styles to be deteremined. yet: this record is a concept-album and adheres to the concept. as such 'math and emotion' doesn't go for the broader scope of sounds... it delves deep and deeper... towards a point wheren idm and rather-mellow industrial meet with heart felt lyrics and/or robotic summations of chess-moves... here the noise lies in the understatement; the noise lies in the math of the music and the emotion the listener might infer. or: in the obvious upfront lyrics where the math is to be determined by the listener.... the impact either way remains the same as klangstabil manages to play a very clever game of hide and seek; of decoy; of not a schwalbe, but close to it... and thus this record isn't what is seems to be at first hand. not as simple as chess seems to be when first confronted with it. like the game of chess: this record reveals its mathematical ánd emotional secrets and depths only over time.... and as with the game of chess: it's exactly this depth which delivers a genuine and deep appreciation. the cover is multi-coloured and between the black and white squares of the chess board klangstabil doesn't present a grey fog. the brilliance of this record lies in the colouring of the sounds, the layers and the lyrics; all together. it's all one... this one; this moment, this instance of one; where sounds and layers and textures and lyrics and concept meet--- this one appears after several repeated listening sessions. just like the game of chess only reveals its true and amazing vocabulary of almost infinite option while playing..... at summer darkness festival 2009 you too can witness this beauty of the friction and balance and netherworld and heaven between math and emotion live as the grandmasters behind klangstabil will perform a smashing live set at the festival!! so ask yourself: do i choose math or emotion or both? and either way: what's my next move? thus: the one and only question is: remain still or move... make a move... and if you do, make a move or made a choice not to... why? based on math? or on emotion? or like with the game of chess on a combination of both (otherwise man would have never been able to beat the strongest chess-computer!)? or on the basis of the netherworld between math and emotion? or beyond? well: as far as i am concerend exactly these question mark the brilliance of this record for this album poses all of these question and seems to hint towards some kind of answer, but it's up to all of us to make a choice, to make a move...

reflections of darkness
klangstabil formed in 1994; the same year the two protagonists maurizio blanco and boris may met as they soon realised they're communicating on the same level. soon they started producing without ever having the intention of getting anything of the material released. over the years, klangstabil created their own niche in combining elements of the very beginning of electronic music with modern means and just recently released the concept album 'math & emotion'. 'math & emotion', are they mutually exclusive or do they affect each other? is love calculable? to be honest, i don't think so. i just can't imagine that a strong feeling can be reduced to a simple logical formula; especially love has - for the most part - nothing to do with logic, maybe that's why it's one of the strongest emotions we have and one of mankind's best abilities even if it sometimes carries strange blossoms. but who knows "...maybe i'm wrong,...". musically, a ferocious bass drum constantly cracks through the surface of a chilly atmosphere that is simultaneously unleashing a plethora of emotions onto the listener on the album opener 'math & emotion - the square root of one'. cleaner beats envelope a string-tinged atmosphere, when maurizio blanco takes over the mic for the italian opening 'peredere per vincere' (loose in order to win) by turns with direct talking and verses and placid chorus lines. as paradox as the title may seem, it's not. just imagine you've lost your job a long time ago and you've been drifting into a social outcast with almost nothing, no friends in sight and the longer that situation lasts the more depressed you'll get, but suddenly you make some friends you've most likely never met otherwise that change and enrich your life in a way you never thought would be possible. they are the light on your darkness. with them it's easier to bear everything, so sometimes it really happens. now let's roll on to the song that moved me the most 'love has too much audience'. poignant string arrangements are towering into the night sky and together with the wonderful piano play of torben wendt (diorama), this song's already an emotional chunk, but it wouldn't be half as intense without boris may screaming at us words we should all think about, unadorned and unfiltered and asks some important questions: "when did we start to tolerate this emptiness? forgotten the most important words?" "when will we cease to hide ourselves and demand back our ability to feel and move?" 'gridami' (yell at me) is the track lots of listeners feel to be out of place on 'math & emotion', but i think it's exactly, where it belongs, even if it sounds like an italo-pop song of sorts and is catchier. the lyrics are directed to a specific person, the goddess. he says "play me, risk me, treat me, but think of me. dominate me, move me, use me, but stay with me." with that he's expressing his undying affection for her and that half of him would be gone without her. "without the other one you'll loose in this game." the piano tones on 'lauf, lauf' (run, run) instantly create an element of tension subtly filtered through a curtain of fluid alienation, so it sounds like these are the bells that are calling for the battle, the own personal battle, just like the lyrics: "this is peace, this is war if you just learn how to beat yourself". they're telling you to come forward, to speak what's on your mind because " one knows you're screaming when you're silent". i was thinking what they're trying to picture with the solemn instrumental track 'good night kingdom', then i looked out my window, saw the sun setting on the horizon and how the night fell over on the world and then i knew... first the song appears quite harmless, then the sample comes and you're beginning to realize that it's anything but the aforementioned and as soon as boris delivers the first lines of the distorted vocals it's getting obvious that someone's having a real grudge against the society with their exchange of meaningless words, with its idle talk. "twisted words and gossip talk chit chat everywhere i walk." he's not willing to swallow everything any longer "hopelessness has reached the top". that's giving rise to the speculation, what's he doing. find out but listen carefully not only to the lyrics. often it's already careful listening is what is able to prevent a disaster. i'm going to cut myself short on the conclusion. 'math & emotion' is a big leap forward for klangstabil and they increased they intensified the emotional component to a level other bands will hardly ever reach. there's a ltd. edition of the album available as well, coming in an oversized booklet, whereas it's more of a book if you ask me. it's featuring the beautiful album art in extra-large. a real eye-turner as you can see all the fine details in the pictures and drawings. of course all the lyrics are included + special information about the genesis of the album and some little goodies. if that's not worth the extra money, then i don't know, so if you see an offer for this edition, grab one! it's limited to 400 copies. (sebastian huhn)

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