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Werken - Sum

Sum is the debut album of Werken, one of the aliases of Tilman Ehrhorn known for his releases on Mille Plateaux and Resopal Schallware.
Working full time as saxophone and reed player, composer, producer and sound designer Tilman Ehrhorn is a highly regarded jazz artist who also took roots in the electronic world.
Among teaching, giving jazz clinics and regular work in theater, tv-, radio-, and cd- productions he has established himself as a composer as well as a performing artist in clubs, at festivals and for concert tours all over the world.

This release introduces an experimental and ambientish dubby side of his producing skills. Almost every sound has been generated on a modular synthesizer. Some important developing tools within the synth are sine- and noiseoscillators, with which also most of the percussion sounds are built.
The majority of tunes are crossfading to the following; the progress of the album ranges from the opening track to its closing reprise like of one piece.
In many parts of the tracks, beats are used rhythmically free to interrupt a pulsing soundpad, which is a main element of the music. Some minimal changing figures are taking hold to break up continous sequential patterns.
The non-conventional manner of generating sounds as well as using elements of chance within the production process creates similarities with the improvisational niveau of jazz and contemporary composed music.




Track List:

  • 01. On
  • 02. Some Home Truths
  • 03. Dub Traffic Pt I
  • 04. Odd Fish
  • 05. Now I See
  • 06. C & P
  • 07. Surrender
  • 08. Dub Traffic Pt II
  • 09. Blues
  • 10. Port Elizabeth
  • 11. Over


Download ZIP file from zymogen.


© Tilman Ehrhorn
© Zymogen

Cover Artwork:
© Mikel Aramendia Lacalle
© Zymogen

This work (audio tracks, cover, text) is licensed under a creative commons license.


Reviews for this release

I'm rather annoyed. The day after I decide to drown this blog in the kitchen sink, an album emerges from my hard drive and demands a review. Will you lot out there stop releasing good CC albums so I can finally throw CTW in the wood-chipper?

"Werken" is a nom de plume of Tilman Ehrhorn, a Berlin-based music producer, composer, saxophone/reed player and sound designer. He's a vastly experienced jazz musician, having collaborated with the likes of Wayne Shorter (I am not worthy, I am not worthy), Hamburg Sinfoniker, L'Atelier d'Orchestre, and has appeared on many jazz and electronica recordings and been involved in numerous German TV and theatre productions. He's also worked with Native Instruments, having designed presets for their highly regarded Massive, Absynth and FM8 softsynths, and helped to develop Kore 2, NI's software controller.

So, let's take a look at that CV...modern jazz, electronica, composer, professional sound designer. Hmm. If only someone with those talents decided to release an album. Or decided not to, allowing me to crochet my nose-hairs and spend more time feeling guilty about not attending the gym. Cake, I need cake. Wouldn't you know it, Mr Ehrhorn has done just that. In Sum, you'll find 11 tracks of dubby, crackly ambient that will delight fans of the terrific Urlaub Auf Balkonien, the Qwartz-winning album from Krill.Minima. Its stately, granular milieu will be the perfect fit for your brand new and not-at-all-blindingly-expensive Google Nexus One as you trudge through snow-laden streets.

Sum is about as hand-tooled as electronica gets. Werken has made nearly every sound on the album himself, using a modular synth to build the percussive elements and the lovely stabs of crackly goodness that permeate the surprisingly light reverb. I keep expecting a run-of-the-mill kick/snare/hi-hat combo to start up, but it never does. Instead, Werken stays true to his love of jazz improvisation, preferring to search for an overall structure derived from a combination of many elements rather than conform to something more overtly rigid. It's less "tsss tsss tsss tsss" and more "zzzt kssk domp fffn ussh". I may have used different halves of my brain to write those last two sentences.

This release from Zymogen netlabel (a very strokeable Italian netlabel that gets everything right apart from...*deep sigh*...making it tricky for amateurish CC blogs to preview or host their albums) won't make you tap your feet or nod your head, but it will tickle your fancy. My recommended track is C&P, but the link isn't working, so instead I'll proffer Surrender, four minutes of chopped-up white noise dub that will convince you that Tilman Ehrhorn is a talented musician who is adept at manipulating electronic sounds.

I'm sure he'd love to get a few emails thanking him for his free CC album. After all, his EP is greater than the Sum of its parts. Ouch. Clunk. Apologies for not reviewing Sum in more detail. If I do ever write another review, I'll concentrate on the music and stop penning such godawful puns. Anything else would be punishing to read. Heh.
Catching the Waves / 07 Jan 2010

Net-label Zymogen proceeds gladdening fans of interesting electronic music with original releases. Recently album Sum by Tilman Ehrhorn became the 24th one in their catalogue. Tilman presents here under his new, not used earlier pseudonym Werken.

Listening to this music, I would say that creativity of Erhorn as an electronic musician has not cardinally changed since 2003, when his remarkable album Task was released on label Mille Plateaux. I think that this album is one of the best reflections of such influence as clicks'n'cuts - music of clicks, rustles, various glitch, cut into tiny pieces by quasiscissors and presented in the form of contrast mosaics of sound pieces. Though under his new alter ego Erhorn manipulates these scissors in another way - the structure of sound cuts' constructions gains more grace, gives way to the free experiment and to the flight of an artist's fancy. Here we can remember that the author of music works actively as a jazz musician. Techno is still somewhere near, we can feel its unique spirit, though connection with it became very thin and transparent.
That's impossible not to point out the first-class sound design in this interesting release. The whole spectrum of sounds in Sum was produced with the help of synthesizer Nord Modular - from tiniest clicks and crackle to bass-sections, noises and slow pads. Mosaics of synthesized sounds form by themselves the matt layers, some of them are very cold, the other are considerably warmer and brighter. They are changed by the next ones for many times and there are enough events for a full-value long-play.
Sound Proector / 17 Dec 2009

Zymogen nos presenta el álbum debut de Werken, seudónimo de Tilman Ehrhorn, previamente conocido ya por sus trabajos en, por ejemplo Mille Plateaux. Tilman es compositor de jazz, saxofonista, profesor y, entre varias cosas mas, diseñador de música electrónica.
"Sum" es un álbum de Glitch-Dub (clicks & cuts) en la linea de los primeros albumes de Poole o mas recientes de Krill Minima. Todos los sonidos han sido obtenidos de un sintetizador modular y un oscilador. Los envolventes "pads" del sintetizador están fragmentados y troceados, unas veces por las secciones rítmicas o por otros "pads", formando una inteligente estructura, continua desde el primer corte hasta el ultimo. Muy recomendable.
Netlabels & News / 15 Dec 2009