Barcode Quartet, Copyright Peter Purgar

Barcode Quartet

Barcode Quartet started life in Alpenglow, a festival collaboration in 2010/11 that took place in both London and Graz between improvising musicians in Austria and the UK. A diversity of approach and characters forms Barcode Quartet, the collision of these in performance creates the score.

Annette Giesriegl is a dynamic, exciting and creative vocalist based in Graz, Austria and works in the field of jazz and improvised music. Her studies of overtone singing, throat singing, Indian music with an emphasis on Indian vocal techniques, the use of electronics and other extended vocal techniques give line to the textural play of piano, violin and drums.

London based musician Alison Blunt has consuming interests in making music in the moment and in interdisciplinary explorations. Elisabeth Harnik is an accomplished classical pianist and composer based in the County of Styria, Austria who's consistently proved that academic training is no impediment to spontaneity.
Harnik and Blunt - both representing the generation of improvisers who didn't come to the discipline via jazz, work within an electro-acoustic inspired sound-world, using unique preparations and extended techniques. Graz based musician and media artist Josef Klammer has worked continuously developing his instruments and sound since the middle of the 80's. His drums and subtle electronics bring expressive punctuation and a huge range of colour, providing the musical glue to the ensemble.

 

London based musician Alison Blunt has consuming interests in making music in the moment and in interdisciplinary explorations.

Born 1966 in Innsbruck, Austria and lives since 1990 in Graz, Austria. She is a vocalist who crosses boundaries, whose education started in jazz music. She studied jazz singing at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz with American vocalists Mark Murphy, Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan and Andy Bey, during which time she placed particular emphasis on the study of improvisation, finished in 1997.
She has spent years exploring the sonic range and potential of the voice and finds musical expression for the explorations in free improvisation, engaged in studies of overtone singing, throat singing and the work of vocalists such as Meredith Monk, Bobby Mc Ferrin and Sainkho Namtchylak, and has taken part in workshops with the French Bassist Joelle Leandre, Eddie Prevost from AMN and the vocalist Maggie Nichols and spent months in London studying Indian music with an emphasis on Indian vocal techniques.

She performs since over 10 years regularly in the free music scene in London and gigs with musicians such as Eddie Prevost, John Edwards, Veryan Weston, Steve Beresford, Alison Blunt, David Leahy, Rowland Sutherland and the radical free improvisation band: Primal Fruitcake. Her latest project is the Barcode Quartet with Elisabeth Harnik on piano, Alison Blunt on violin, and Josef Klammer on drums – CD released 2012 (SLAMCD288), with a concert tour in 2013 in Australia and Newzealand (Soundout Festival, 2013) and a Brazilian Tour in September 2015.

Free-lance composer and pianist, was born 1970 in Graz and lives in Gams (County of Styria/Austria). She studied classical piano and later - with Beat Furrer – composition at what is now the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz. The „repertoire“ and its extensions in composition and improvisation is her central focus. Harnik works within an electro-acoustic inspired sound-world, using unique preparations and extended techniques.

Performances include: Easterfestival Graz 2002, Hörfest Graz 2003/04/05, Styrian Chamber Music Festival 2003, Klangmühle Orth an der Donau 2005, Munich Opera Festival 2006, Mozart-Year Vienna 2006, Paul Hofhaimer Musiktage 2006, Composers’ Forum Mittersill 2008, Haydn Year 2009, Festival 4020 Linz 2009, Soundings Festival London 2010, Opera Graz, Musikprotokoll/Steirischer Herbst 2011, E_MAY  Festival Vienna 2011/2012, Klangspuren Schwaz 2012, Transart Festival Bozen 2012, Wien Modern 2013, Estonian Harpsichord Society Festival 2014, Audio ArtFestival Pula 2014 a.o.
 
She has worked with renowned artists and ensembles such as the Ensemble Zeitfluss Graz, the Ensemble  09 Linz, the Ensemble  MusikFabrikSüd, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, the Klangforum Vienna, the Ensemble “die reihe“ Vienna, the Ensemble Kontrapunkte  Vienna, the ensemble Reconsi Vienna, the Ensemble PHACE Vienna, the Ensemble Platypus Vienna, the Haydn-Trio-Eisenstadt, the Trio AMOS Vienna, the Trio EIS Vienna, the Thürmchen Ensemble Cologne, the Fidelio Trio London, the Cantus Ensemble Zagreb, the Ensemble mise-en New York and various national and international soloists.
 
She received a great number of rewards and prizes, most recently she was Artist in Residence at the OMI International Arts Center New York 2010 and Composer in Residence 2013 at the IZZM in Ossiach/Austria. 

In addition to her work as composer she appears as improvisator at various national and international festivals such as the V:NM-Festival, the Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon, the Nickelsdorfer Konfrontationen, the Artacts Festival St. Johann, the Music Unlimited Festival Wels, the Soundgrube Vienna, the Comprovise Festival Cologne, the Beethoven Fest Bonn, the A L'ARME! Festival Berlin, the Jazz & More Festival Sibiu, the Alpenglow Festival London, the All Ears Festival Oslo, the Umbrella Music Festival Chicago, the Okka Fest Milwaukee, the Musicacoustica  Beijing, the SoundOut Festival Canberra/AUS  a.o.

Born 1958, Lienz, Easttirol, Austria. He worked initially as a photographer, studied drums at Music University Graz. Since the middle of the 80's the musician and media artist Josef Klammer has worked continuously developing his instruments and sound whilst maintaining his involvement in research and the transformation of media immanent music potentials.

Klammer received an Award For Computermusic in 1994 by the Ministry of Art and Science and in 2003 the Elektronic Award for the Klammer & Gruendler Duo project, of the ELAK Vienna and Musikforum Viktring exhibitions, sound installations and music projects in Vienna, Hongkong, Sevilla, New York, Karlsruhe, Berlin, Darmstadt, Katzow, Rimini, Paris. He also made music for TV and movies; radio plays and radio programs for the ORF (Austrian Braodcast Corporation); Stage music for productions at theatres in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Schwerin, Gera, Ljubljana, Klagenfurt, Linz and Graz and in Wiener Festwochen.

In 2008, Klammer was an Artist in Residence at ZKM Karlsruhe and IEM / Musik University Graz.
Numerous and regular concerts and recordings with a wide variety of ensembles playing New Improvised Electronic and Experimental followed. Music. Jury for Prix Ars Electronika (Digital Music), Styrian Cultural Initiativ and IGNM. Curator for diverse festivals and initiatives, music projects / school workshops.

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Barcode Quartet
Live In Brazil (Grazer Etikett, 2016)

Live in Brasil is the sophomore album of the quartet, following You’re It (Slam Productions, 2012), which was also recorded live on August 2015 at Jazz na Fábrica Festival in São Paulo and the following day at Quintavant-Audio Rebel in Rio de Janeiro, distributed only in digital format. The live setting and the extended, improvised format enable the four musicians to operate freely on the spectrum between the spontaneous and intuitive, composition in real-time and what slowly blossoms as nuanced compositions. All while experimenting and incorporating the highly singular herstories/histories of the four musicians.

The opening, 35-minutes “Tranquilo”, present the quartet in its most eccentric, inventive and imaginative mode while maintaining a balanced and emphatic interplay. Harnik's percussive motifs on the piano keys and strings extend the subtle, colorful percussive work of Klammer, both cement the erratic atmosphere of this piece. Giesriegl's wordless vocalizations and suggestive phrasing offer a dadaist narrative, full of sudden dramatic twists, intensified and sometimes even contrasted by Blunt's playing. Somehow all the chaotic, dense playing is channeled into a powerful momentum, gravitating towards an ecstatic conclusion. The following “Gig Rec” begins with the fractured, rhythmic run of Klammer, soon abstracted with even faster rhythmic gestures of Giesriegl, Harnik and Blunt, all employ extended vocal, bowing and hammering techniques. But later this piece adopts a contemplative and abstract mode that highlight the evocative and passionate delivery of Giesriegl and the inventive, free-spirited playing of Blunt. The São Paulo performance concludes with a short, playful encore, “Our Toys”.

The last piece, “Audio Rebel’s Dog” deepens the wild, chaotic vein of opening piece. The distinct eccentric and unstable nature of this improvisation still makes some sense. Obviously, mysterious, unorthodox and non-linear kind of sense, but somehow all the weird-sounding ideas fit this unique puzzle. The violin of Blunt that quotes folk motifs, the operatic-theatrical delivery of Giesriegl and the percussive sparks and the sprints on the piano keys of Harnik and the sparse drumming and strange noises of Klammer all connect, collide, disperse and connect again, immediately and organically. All together suggest a rich, multifaceted sonic picture that never exhausts you from deciphering its myriad elements. Eyal Hareuveni, Free Jazz Collective

Cover painting by Heidi M. Richter

Barcode Quartet
You're It! (2012) (SLAM Productions SLAMCD 288)

Ein ähnlich dichtes Zusammenspiel wie auf dem Opener You’re it! erlebt man in der improvisierten Musik nur selten. Auf den ersten Blick überrascht daher die knappe Beschreibung auf der CD-Hülle: Das Barcode Quartet lebe von der Vielfalt der musikalischen Herangehensweisen, von dem Aufeinanderprallen unterschiedlicher Charaktere auf der Bühne.

Nach eingehender Beschäftigung werden jedoch tatsächlich zahlreiche Gegensätze hörbar, die dem Album seine Spannung verleihen. So streben auf Oxford Street zwar alle Musiker in dieselbe Richtung, doch die Geschwindigkeiten, die gewählten Abzweigungen variieren. Elisabeth Harniks Piano klammert sich an kleinste motivische Zellen, Alison Blunts Violine schneidet sich den Weg frei und Josef Klammer sprintet, stolpert, trommelt hinterher. Über all dem schwebt Annette Giesriegls beschwörend experimenteller Gesang. Hier wird musikalische Individualität gelebt, ohne das Gesamtergebnis aus den Augen zu verlieren. Zwar sind nicht alle Stücke dieses Live-Mitschnitts ähnlich intensiv, und vor allem die kurzen Verschnaufpausen lassen zündende Ideen vermissen. Doch das vermag den Gesamteindruck nur unwesentlich zu trüben, zumal das Quartet am Schluss des Albums doch noch beweist, dass es auch die Kunst der ruhigen Töne beherrscht: Das knapp zehnminütige Wonder klingt wie ein Konzertabstecher auf den Meeresgrund, wie ein Freejazz-Konzert in Zeitlupe. Das Konzept des Openers wird ad absurdum geführt, das straff gespannte Korsett gelockert und die Töne in die Weiten des Ozeans entlassen. — FreiStil


The Barcode Quartet’s You’re It is a meeting of musical minds from the Graz and London new music scenes, Alison Blunt (violin) and Elisabeth Harnik (piano) representing the latter, Annette Giesriegl (vocals) and Josef Klammer (drums) the former. Recorded live in Frohnleiten near Graz, the foursome’s interplay is intricately balanced, inherently exciting without overt melodrama, often ending in sudden hushes. So imbricated are the improvisations that it can be difficult to distinguish individual instruments. Ranging in mood from quiet ‘chamber jazz’ to extroverted power-rock pulsing, tracks like Oxford Street, Alpenglow, Driver, Aaahdrenalin and Wondering all realize an immensely satisfying musical gestalt. — New York Jazz Record


Il live, registrato al festival Kunsthaltestelle Streckhammerhaus in Austria, vede all'opera un quartetto austro-inglese che fa dell'improvvisazione totale radicale la sua bandiera. Nonostante l'apparente osticità della proposta la musica ha un che di caloroso e vibrante, dato dall'esperienza dei musicisti in questo settore. Provengono tutti da esperienze di musica contemporanea, non necessariamente di matrice jazzistica ma conoscono l'arte dell'improvvisazione e dell'interazione. La pianista Elisabeth Harnik lancia dei suoni presi dall'interno del suo strumento e subito la voce di Annette Giesriegl ed il violino di Alison Blunt trovano un punto di accordo, un dialogo serrato con quelle note, entrambe al di fuori di quella che è l'ortodossia dei loro strumenti. Ed il batterista Josef Klammer, anche agli effetti elettonici, aggiunge la sua parte alla bolgia di suoni, a volte sottili ed invitanti, come il lungo dialogo tra voce e violino di Fractured. Ci sono i polifonismi di Oxford Street, insomma non mancano le sorprese ad ogni passo, frutto di idee comuni con precise tracce per svolgerle. Ad ogni brano arriva quella sorpresa che solo l'avanguardia sa dare. A volte scomposta, emozionante, radicale, appassionata. Ma sempre avanguardia, in grado di smuovere l'ascoltatore, di creargli dei dubbi sulle sue certezze musicali. Sull'ultimo brano Wondering c´è Denovaire, musicista che ha studiato in India gli strumenti di quella tradizione, ad aggiungere un tocco di esotico con il suo esraj al già stimolante collage di suoni del quartetto. Vittorio lo Conte (Musiczoom)


Improvisation libre avec Alison Blunt (violon), Elisabeth Harnik (piano), Annette Giesriegl (voix) et Josef Klammer (batterie, électroniques). Un quatuor à trois femmes, c'est rare en impro! Et You're It est un fort joli disque. Enregistrement en concert. Des pièces courtes qui combinent le caractère abstrait de l'improvisation libre britannique et une légère tendance jazz aux racines suisso-autrichiennes (dans Wondering, en particulier). Les interactions entre violon et piano sont particulièrement intéressantes. François Couture

[...] Housed within the three rooms of Radialsystem V, a former pumping station turned creative space in the city center, the festival's serious musical intent was balanced by the relaxed interval atmosphere of musicians and audience sharing refreshments and thoughts in the bar and by the river. And the passing boats on the Spree provided the backdrop for the more intimate music offered in the venue's top floor studio
space. Here, Conlon Nancarrow's unruly Studies for Player Piano were contrasted with improvised responses from a variety of electro-acoustic ensembles. UK-Austrian unit Barcode Quartet stood out, with their subtle, patiently-evolving chamber textures enlivened by percussionist Josef Klammer, who had seemingly adopted a Nintendo Wii to trigger cartoonish samples with his body movements.Phil Smith (New York City Jazz Record)

Alison Blunt's playing is unique. Eerie, gut-ripping rattles and chokes from hell are interrupted by ringing notes of heavenly hope. I have never heard anything like it.." Jeffery Taylor (Sunday Express)

The live performance, recorded at Kunsthaltestelle Streckhammerhaus Festival in Austria, finds the Austrian-English quartet at work as a messenger of total and radical improvisation. Although the proposal sounds apparently tough, the music has something really warm and vibrant about it due to the experience of the musicians in this field. They are all experienced with contemporary music, without necessarily having a jazz background, and they know the art of improvisation and interaction. (...) No shortage of surprises in every passage.. exciting, radical, passionate. Vittorio lo Conte

 

Tags: Barcode Quartet, Alison Blunt, Elisabeth Harnik, Annette Giesriegl, Josef Klammer
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Latest News

Renan Perobelli

Barcode Quartet returns with new recording "Live in Brazil"

Last week marked the release of the Barcode Quartet's live album, recorded during the group's Brazilian Tour in August 2015 at the Jazz na Fábrica Festival in São Paulo. Read more..

Feb 15, 2017  |  Share:          

© Foto Kato Bookbird

Barcode Quartet Returns from Brazilian Tour

A deep, heartfelt thank you to the musicians for their friendship and incredible music skills; and the people and organizations who helped us putting this tour together: Isabella Tomas, Luciano Dutra, Renan Perobelli, Manoela Wright, Bernardo Oliveira, Mariana Mansur, Pedro Azevedo, Luiza Morandini, Renand Grando, Circuito de Improvisação Livre, Alex Minkin, Ticun Brazil, Chesney Hearst and all their amazing staff & audiences! Without these people's help with housing, funding, producing & setting up shows, publicity, equipment, etc, this tour would not have been possible. We feel privileged to have been part of bringing their artistry to your attention and hope to be back in the future! Read more..

Sep 03, 2015  |  Share:          

© Foto Kato Bookbird

Barcode Quartet to tour Brazil for the first time this August!

Barcode Quartet is very excited to head out on a Brazilian tour this August. Vocalist Annette Giesriegl, violinist Alison Blunt, pianist Elisabeth Harnik and percussionist/media artist Josef Klammer, will perform music created entirely in the moment from a starting point of contrasting histories, energies and aesthetics. This tour is made possible with the support of the Austrian Embassy in Brazil. Please find the Upcoming Tour Dates below & join us! Read more..

Aug 01, 2015  |  Share: