Austrian electric violinist Mia Zabelka, born 1963, studied classical violin and composition in her Vienna hometown. Like Jon Rose, Takehisa Kosugi, Hideaki Shimada, Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros or Limpe Fuchs, Zabelka belongs to a handful of avantgarde violin pioneers pushing the boundaries of their instrument into the realms of electroacoustic music. For her first LP, Somateme, published 1987 by Edition RZ, she teamed with Giselher Smekal on tape and sound treatment, plus Robert Bilek as guest saxophonist. Smekal, born 1945, is both an Austrian contemporary music composer and a free jazz saxophonist with legendary Reform Art Unit free jazz ensemble, with which Zabelka herself played ca 1987-93.
♫ Subtitled Körperklänge, or body sounds, Somateme is an electroacoustic suite for electrified violin, sound processing, tape and musique concrète sounds from contact microphones. The imposing opener Aura starts with heartbeats, like in a famous Eliane Radigue piece, before delicate violin arpeggios slowly build into a dense intra-psychic mindscape where the violin explores the surrealist environment build around her by Smekal’s tape and sound processing. Track #2 Brücken pairs Smekal’s synthesizer sounds with Bilek’s saxophone, in addition to Zabelka’s violin excursions, for a track which is close to European Improvisation. #5 Sandstrahlentrost includes fireworks sounds on slow motion, electronic drone and violin at the treshhold of dream. Here again, the violin acts as a seismograph of Zabelka’s inner psyche and her music deploys itself with originality, free from contemporary and classical musicians’ clichés.
Aura was awarded the WDR composition prize.
Ströme was awarded the Luigi Russolo Prize.
Sandstrahlentrost was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica.
01 Aura (15:40)
02 Brücken (10:06)
03 Ströme (10:20)
04 Organarie (1:54)
05 Sandstrahlentrost (11:57)
Total time 49:50
LP released by Edition RZ, Ed. RZ-10002, Germany, 1987