Berlin‘s finest in clarinet entertainment since 2000

about

The International Nothing
(Berlin)

Kai Fagaschinskiclarinet, composition
Michael Thiekeclarinet, composition

Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke started working together as a clarinet duo in 2000. After improvising for some time in a mainly quiet and noise-based style, they became bored with that and turned their thoughts in new directions to find the delicate pleasures one might not associate with clarinet duos.

In 2003 they shifted their project towards the composition of pieces focusing on tone material. In a kind of pipe-organ style they are merging the two clarinets into one complex sound, which often sounds like more than two voices, through the comforts that multiphonics and difference tones offer. The pieces have a warm and slowed down quality and might be associated with electronic music.

The two clarinetists always develop their compositions together. Their way of composing can be described as “empirical”. The music doesn’t begin from the mind of one musician, but relies instead on the ears of both, and on the long collective process of trying, failing, changing and developing ideas during numerous rehearsals until a piece is brought into its final shape.

Their debut album mainstream was released in 2006 by the Japanese Ftarri Label. As well as five duo pieces, there are two pieces with guests: one song with Margareth Kammerer (voice & guitar) and one quartet piece with Christian Weber and Derek Shirley (both on double bass). Another track is a remix with additional vocals by Christof Kurzmann.
From the fruitful collaborations with Margareth Kammerer and Christof Kurzmann, in 2005 an independent quartet was formed. Under the name The Magic I.D. they concentrate on experimental song forms with very unique and charming results.

After many years of withdrawn work, in October 2007 Thieke and Fagaschinski played their first duo concerts since 2002. So far, the duo has performed its music in Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and U.S.A., including festival appearances at Donaueschinger Musiktage (2007), Konfrontationen (Nickelsdorf 2008), Experimental Intermedia (New York 2009), Seattle Improvised Music Festival (2009), Maerzmusik (Berlin 2009), Expozice Nové Hudby (Brno 2009), Serralves em Festa (Porto 2010), Musiques Innovatrices (St. Etienne 2010), Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Darmstadt 2012), Météo Festival (Mulhouse 2012), Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (2015), Klangspuren (Schwaz 2015), Transart (Bolzano 2015), Musikprotokoll (Graz 2015), Music Unlimited (Wels 2015), and Ftarri Festival (Tokyo 2015).

The duo is constantly working on new compositions. In May 2010 their second album with the promising title Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything was released again on Ftarri. This time they fully trusted on the duo constellation and left out any guests. Through years of continuous work their technical and compositional skills have been cultivated. Their new pieces show a deeper permeation into sonic detail and utilize more advanced forms without giving up on their laid back quality.

With financial support of Initiative Neue Musik Berlin e.V. The International Nothing has been again at work on new pieces throughout 2010. Those have been introduced to the public in a special concert, which also celebrated the 10th anniversary of their collaboration, at Berlin‘s ausland on October 6th, 2010.

In June 2014 the duo has released their 3rd duo album The Dark Side Of Success on Ftarri and is now preparing the release of an album consisting of compositions for a new extended version The International Nothing (and something) featuring bassist Christian Weber and drummer Eric Schaefer on Monotype.

Discography:
The International Nothing – Mainstream (Ftarri, 2006)
The International Nothing – Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything (Ftarri, 2010)
The International Nothing – The Dark Side Of Success (Ftarri, 2014)
The International Nothing (… and something) – The Power Of Negative Thinking (Monotype, 2016)

furthermore:
The Magic I.D. – Till My Breath Gives Out (Erstwhile Records, 2008)
The Magic I.D. – I’m So Awake / Sleepless I Feel (Staubgold, 2011)

Links:
theinternationalnothing.bandcamp.com
kylie.klingt.org
www.michael-thieke.de
www.ftarri.com
www.myspace.com/themagicid


The International Nothing
Über die Seinsbestimmung der Klänge

Nichts ist wichtig.
Dazu ist die Welt zu groß.

Anonymus

Kai Fagaschinski und Michael Thieke sind die Protagonisten von The International Nothing, im anglo-amerikanischen Raum würde man sie als composer-performer bezeichnen. Die Klarinettisten begannen ihre Zusammenarbeit vor nahezu 10 Jahren als Improvisationsduo und sind nach einigen Jahren in dieser Konstellation, wie sie selbst sagen, „an die Grenzen der Improvisation gestossen“, „es ging nicht mehr weiter“. Warum? Weil, so meine ich, Improvisation – auch und von Fall zu Fall – Freiheiten zur Verfügung stellt, die der Seinsbestimmung der Klänge partout nicht gerecht werden wollen.

Fagaschinski und Thieke haben die Konsequenzen aus dieser Crux gezogen und begonnen, ihre Klarinettenkonversationen zu analysieren, zu systematisieren und zu strukturieren. Klänge haben ihre Eigenzeit, und manche davon sind nur dann zur ihrer Entfaltung bereit, wenn sie sich wohlgeordnet und wohlgeformt und immer wieder gleich an ihrer jeweils richtigen Stelle wiederfinden. Erst die regelmäßig wiederholte Bezeugung von Nachbarschaft der Klänge ergibt hier den erwünschten Klangfluss. Doch von Beginn an wurden ihre Kompositionen aus dem Geist der Improvisation entwickelt (Phantasien hätte man früher dazu gesagt), auch die Arbeitsmethode des Duos gleicht weniger dem klassischen Komponieren mit Arbeiten auf Papier als vielmehr dem Liederkomponieren eines zusammengeschweißten Singer Songwriter-Duos. Die Stücke werden, teilweise über Jahre hinweg, gemeinsam peu à peu entwickelt und geformt. Ihre minutiös ausgearbeiteten Stücke sind wortlose, mit versteckter Klarinettenvirtuosität vorgetragene Kunstlieder, die vom fremden Sagen und Singen erzählen. Nicht etwa Musikgut von fernher, sondern die Verfremdung des eigenen musikalischen Selbst ist Thema: Im-sich-selbst-Exotisieren zu sich kommen. Das Resultat ihrer musikalischen Forschungsarbeit ist eine enigmatische, sehr persönliche Klangflächenkunst, die „Umspringbilder“ zwischen warmen Klarinettenakkorden und angespitzten, an elektronische Frequenzspektren gemahnende Sounds evoziert. Die Musiker leisten sich dabei den Luxus, rücksichtslos an der Zeit vorbei zu komponieren; es entsteht der Eindruck, als wäre ihre Entschleunigungsmusik schon immer da gewesen.

Burkhard Stangl, Wien, Dezember 2008
[taken from the program book of MaerzMusik 2009]


The International Nothing

Yes, THE INTERNATIONAL NOTHING is a clarinet duo, but it is first and foremost a sonic concept, the idea that one can combine two identical instruments and give the impression that there is a lot more going on.

Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke have been working on this duo since 2000. They released three albums so far, and they also work together in the avant-pop band The Magic I.D. Through the years, they developed techniques that draw from multiphonics, quasi-unissons, and other methods to produce phantom notes. Their compositions – which they always develop together – use slowness and precision in virtuosic ways that are difficult to imagine.

Method music, yes, but not that methodical: THE INTERNATIONAL NOTHING’s music is not of the uncompromising minimalist kind; it is a unique musical form that explores a fragile kind of beauty. In other words, it is butoh for the ears.

[taken from the program book of Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville 2015]

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