Portrait Karlheinz Essl

Photo: © 2009 by Johannes Tichy
  CS Leigh

The Music of Karlheinz Essl


I first encountered the work of Karlheinz Essl at a Jonathan Meese exhibition in Vienna. Essl had composed a soundtrack for the exhibition which I found to be at once complimentary to the work of this very great artist while remaining wholly autonomous.

I have had an interest in soundtracks for exhibitions for many years but usually the music is weak. It can be the songs of a friend or something cobbled together by the artist like a set of wobbly home spun basement tapes. But this was truly amazing. Just to be able to hold your own in a Meese exhibition is one thing but to stand out is something much more impressive. What I took away from this exhibition more than any other thing was a wish to know more about the music of Karlheinz Essl and in my quest since then to listen to as much of it as possible my interest has only increased exponentially.

Essl's work is discursive while at the same time it represent a viable idea for extending the experimental music project outwards from minimalism and electronic noise work toward something that exists as a composition which presents its own set of footnotes at the same time. His 2008 release SNDT®X never ceases to excite and the tracks Deconstructing Mozart und GRIDS are continual revelations.

Syntax #1 , London 2009

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Updated: 7 Jan 2018