Recorded on 28 December 1999, live at Amann Studios, Vienna.
Two versions of this CD were produced: a 'US' version in a standard jewel case with design, as above, by Shanti Marlar. The other version is a European-only design from D+/Marcus Sterz; reproduced below, this also comes in a jewel case but one that is totally clear, with a silk-screened silver disc on the outside through which can be viewed the powder-blue CD and its freezer-type stars of coldness.
Burkhard Stangl and Christof Kurzmann are both internationally known musicians from Vienna. Stangl is best known for being a member of the seminal improv group Polwechsel, for his superb solo record Récital, and for his five part, work-in-progress opera Venusmond. Kurzmann is a co-leader of Orchester 33 1/3 with Christian Fennesz, runs Charhizma Records, and appears on the self-titled improv document CD on Charhizma, along with Fennesz and Werner Dafeldecker, with guest appearances by Kevin Drumm, Jim O'Rourke, and Martin Siewert.
While both musicians have been involved in the Viennese music scene since the late eighties, and have been friends just as long, their musical interests lay in different areas until fairly recently. They never played in the same band until Kurzmann sat in with Polwechsel in September of 1999 in NYC. When they returned to Vienna, they recorded this duo record, inspired by four favorite movies of theirs and by a quote from Austrian writer Robert Walser. Schnee consists of four long soundscapes, with Kurzmann's sedate electronics underpinning Stangl's atmospheric plucking.
"Schnee is not about freezing, it is about snow. Therefore anything 'liquid' is gone, and has been transferred into a malleable body -- its grainy patterns and particles are what Kurzmann creates circular asymmetrical patterns within. Stangl's guitar is brittle, dissolving like icicle drops. This record's beauty is in the critical fact that it explores the differences in computer generated and acoustic music, unlike a forced marriage or a systematic clash. Strikingly, it finds its entry at the extremity of fundamental difference between the worlds of the two instruments. It is not reductionist -- in that it does not lack matter to its dialogue. Simply these two artists are so assured and comfortable within the language that it leads to saying less." - Dean Roberts.
Schnee is also available in a European edition, designed by the highly respected Viennese graphics studio D+ and Marcus Sterz, through Charhizma (www.charhizma.com). The music on the US and European editions is identical.