Ernst Horn with “desert storm” performance at Roxy
Automatic translation: www.deepl.com
To present the Gulf War as a network of associations was the concern of Ernst Horn, who staged his music performance “The Skies Over Baghdad” in front of only 25 visitors at the Roxy. Three video-powered television screens, a large array of keyboards and samplers and a series of acoustic Arabic instruments were enough to transform the room into a sound-filled cage whose phono grids moved ever closer to the visitors’ bodies.
Ernst Horn, who expanded his project live with the multi-instrumentalist Michael Popp, succeeded in caricaturing the media reality in a gloomy way. He had recorded countless hours of CNN live coverage in order to be able to sketch the Gulf War as a computer game entertainingly set up by television stations.
Ernst Horn also used his digital laboratory as multifaceted as last year’s media event. After a gently choral beginning, which transformed the Roxy into an echoing cathedral, George Bush’s declaration of war sounded in the tone of a Sunday sermon to the folk song “Vom Himmel hoch, o Englein kommt”. His sentences were chopped up until at the end only barbaric words like “Destroy” or “Knock Out” remained. The Arab view of the approaching missiles was conveyed by rhythmic thunderstorms of percussion, which were lost in ecstatic Allahu akbar chants in interaction with Michael Popps Oud. Then the powerful arguments of pneumatic hammers, which were overrun by tanks. The synthie beats that once made “DAF” popular. Carnival at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Helau, they’re making a mark today. Vivid sound images, created by Ernst Horn, who pulled out all the stops in his keyboard cockpit, including the old oscillator synthesizers. A techno attack that threw the desert storm out of the pits with brute force.
Recovery was only possible when Michael Popp stroked his bow over the strings of the tambour and conveyed the scent of Iraqi bazaars with his Arabic instruments. Only briefly, then again explosive sound mixture from the sampler. Collapsing new buildings in Baghdad. “Art Of Noise” for the hard-boiled. Live censored talk shows, shortened at the mixing console to suffocating sounds. Hard rock beats, and suddenly the werewolf triophonically attacked the visitors from behind as a distorted sound wave. Digital shocking moments that were dissolved with discreet organ music and old English madrigals as the final “slow down”. An intelligent midi work without the pillorying aftertaste of flickering oil wells. Rather a contemporary inventory: hard as nails and cold as gun barrel.