Mia Zabelka & Giselher Smekal – Somateme

Mia Zabelka & Giselher Smekal - Somateme LP front cover
Mia Zabelka & Giselher Smekal - Somateme LP back cover
Mia Zabelka & Giselher Smekal - Somateme LP side 1
Mia Zabelka

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


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13 Responses to “Mia Zabelka & Giselher Smekal – Somateme”

  1. 1 markus February 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Always wanted to hear this one, thanks. Can anyone share the Luigi Nono lp on Edition RZ?

  2. 2 continuo February 14, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Wasn’t it reissued on CD at some point? Anyway, I don’t think I have the Nono LP, but I posted several Edition RZ releases before:
    Various – Inventionen I >
    Various – Inventionen II >
    Ricardo Mandolini – Electro Akustische Musik >

  3. 3 jan February 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Looks very interesting, thanks!

  4. 4 continuo February 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    This is a wonderful disc, Jan, you won’t be disappointed.

  5. 5 Joaquín Mendoza Sebastián February 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Wonderful..just finished listening..the sounds on this album are pure bliss

    Thank you


  6. 6 continuo February 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    The music is all the more impressive if one considers Mia Zabelka was only 24 years old when she recorded this.

  7. 7 jan February 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Let’s all award track #2 Brücken, too. Such a marvel, I’m really impressed!!

  8. 8 continuo February 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    How come this album is not better known, I wonder.

  9. 9 rosa-rosa February 16, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Sorry, but it is nonsense to present this recording as mono-mp3.

  10. 10 jan February 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    @ rosa-rosa: Can you be more specific, please? For me, nitwit, it’s a bit of a guess at a riddle.

  11. 11 continuo February 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Jan, “rosa-rosa” is a spam bot. It left several comments today regarding mono versions on recent posts.

  12. 12 jan February 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Wooops! I felt offended on your behalf :-)

  13. 13 Chris November 27, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Hi, wondering if you could please re-upload this? It’s been deleted. Would love to hear it, especially after all these glowing reviews.

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