Burkhard Stangl / Steve Bates

Edition of 100
Hand-packaged CDr

Two / 4:23
One // 19:40
Three /// 17:23

Burkhard Stangl: guitar, electronics, cd player
Steve Bates: guitar, electronics

Three improvised pieces
Recorded in Montréal

France Jobin, Suoni per il Popolo Festival, Oboro, Angélica Castelló,
jake moore, Michaela Grill and Timothy Herzog

Physical and download copies are available via Bandcamp:


Jan-Kees Helms, Vital Weekly
Steve Bates and Burkhard Stangl did a collaboration at the Suoni per il Pololo Festival at Montreal – Canada. They decided to do an improvisation session during an afternoon and recorded it. The result is three beautiful piece of improvised guitar music. The improvisations are recorded without overdub and the second track has no edit at all. The other two have some small edits. Burkhard Stangl, from Austria, is a guitarist and composer and works in the fields of improvisation, electronica and contemporary classical music. He has worked with lots of musicians like Christian Fennesz and John Butcher. Steve Bates works and lives in Montreal and is a musician and artist. He runs also the label, The Dim Coast. The three pieces are like musical journeys in which the traveller moves from one musical landscape to another. Quiet pieces with harmony will flow into pieces of unbalance and dissonance. Both guitarists complete their play and their music is getting stronger and stronger. The atmospheres move smoothly into one another. Hopefullessness sounds like a good running machine. It seems that both musicians collaborated for years. A high quality piece of improvisation music. (JKH)

Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
An improvised guitar/electronics duo (Stangl doubling on CD player). The first track begins with quite the rockish fanfare; I'm assuming that's largely due to Bates, whose work I otherwise don't know, a guess confirmed by the eventual soft strumming heard beneath, a sound area much more in keeping with Stangl. It makes for a nice dichotomy, kind of a sacred and profane deal. That piece only lasts some four minutes and leads to the pair of longer improvisations. "One" is slow and thoughtful, very much in Schnee-like territory (without pop covers), a series of resonant chords that perhaps recall Loren Connors, plus some good, harsh static so things don't cloy. Indeed, they threaten to crumble and collapse, the narrative hanging by a thread, before they regroup and head off in a different direction, one of sustained chords and an electric, dripping figure and outward into stormy, molten free form scapes though retaining an essentially rock-like feel. "Three" comes across as the fullest expression here. Again, it's fairly mellow and slow-paced but richer and, interestingly, less comfortable, not in an overt way but subtly so--the same rocking motion that lulls you can imprison you. A sparer, less over the top Godspeed might be a referent.

Enjoyable, not essential, but always good to hear Stangl.

Eyal Hareuveni, Free Jazz Blog
Austrian Burkhard Stangl and Canadian Steve Bates do play electric guitars, but both experiment with the guitar's sounds, expanding its sonic outputs with electronics (and Stangl also adds CD player). Stangl belongs to the Viennese alternative musicians collective Klingt, known for his work with fellow Austrian sonic explorers Christian Fennesz and Christoph Kurzmann and with British sax innovator John Butcher. Bates collaborates with other like-minded experimentalists, researching sounds, its boundaries and borders, sounds in conflict, sounds in space and in time. The two have performed together with local Canadian sound artists as part of the 2012 events of the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival and a year later in Vienna with local like-minded improvisers.

Hopefullessness was recorded in Bates Home base, Montréal, and released on his own label, The Dim Coast. It offers three improvised perspectives about sculpting sounds produced with electric guitars and enhanced by electronics. The first, short “Two” contrast Bates turbulent, dense drone of distorted, noisy guitar sounds with Stangl's gentle, sparse melodic guitar line. The 20-minute contemplative “One” revolves around Stangl's sustained, resonant somehow bluesy kind of strumming disturbed occasionally with Bates' abstract sounds and static noises, that slowly attract more momentum and volume. This piece is developed patiently as a mysterious, multi-layered atmospheric texture. The last piece, the 17-minutes “Three”, summarizes this arresting meeting. It weaves gently Stangl wise manner of creating a rich, non-linear narrative out of fractured, sudden strumming of the guitar, often gravitating towards sparse melodic patterns, with Bates spicing up the texture, first with pure static sounds, and later by intensifying its course with parallel, distorted guitar lines.