"Germ Studies’ music is a conversation in time ...Their eyes rarely meeting, they set to work extracting the most delicate noises as possible from their respective instruments. The result? Partly soundtrack to a digital planet, partly a study on the permanence of music. While Abrahams’ programmed synth carries the audience from thudding depths to painful and instantaneous highs, Cooper’s guzheng morphs from ancient acoustic to space-age and back, played masterfully with fingers, palms, and drum sticks." VISITATION RITES (live review)
Review excerpts for the double-album GERM STUDIES FOR GUZHENG AND DX7:
"a madly generous double album: 198 duets for Clare Cooper’s traditional Chinese zither (guzheng) and Chris Abrahams’s ancient (1980’s) Japanese DX7 synth. ...Abrahams’s heartbeat pulses, digital gargling and mutoid disco sci-fakery are a fierce proposition countered at every turn by Cooper’s non-oriental bowing and scraping...great improvising." THE WIRE
"fascinating ... pieces flit to life like mating cells, making skewed, suprise lurches and appearing generally feverish throughout. The interplay between artists is never less than enthralling, their actions raw, revealing, and lovingly recorded, a ceaseless procession of sounds veering off in all directions." CYCLIC DEFROST
Graphic Design: Clare M Cooper
Artists: Germ Studies - Chris Abrahams (Dx7) Clare Cooper (guzheng)
Label: Splitrec, Australia
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198 scratches, itches and ailments.
Germ Studies is the inspired Australian pairing of renowned Sydney pianist Chris Abrahams, and Berlin-based harpist Clare Cooper – but if you're expecting a harmonic polyphony of harp and piano you'll be shocked by the alien landscapes that span the 198 tracks of this double disk.
The unlikely combination of 1980s Japanese synth and 1380's Chinese harp creates an ambiguous and ambitious music. Although stemming from a language borne of contemporary electro-acoustic improvisation – Germ Studies approaches the path from a very different angle – filled with wonderful, ecstatic and unexpected joys.
Chris Abrahams is perhaps best known for his work with the improvising trio The Necks. Clare Cooper is interested in extended vocabularies on the concert harp and the guzheng.
Not content with the gargantuan output of 198 distinct pieces, GERM STUDIES goes a step further – presenting an A3 Wall Chart with 198 Germ illustrations, depicted in sinister and candid detail by colleagues and friends, from Otomo Yoshihide to Clare's mum.
More than a collection of improvisations by two imaginative musicians, Germ Studies is a defining document, presented with all the care and attention to detail that these complex, bizarre and beautiful pieces deserve.
PROJECT: GERM STUDIES