C.C. Hennix realizes Karlheinz Stockhausen's famous “intuitive music” masterwork from the late Sixties.
Unbegrenzt is the third in an ongoing series of archival records of the unheard music of Swedish composer Catherine Christer Hennix, co-released by Blank Forms Editions and Empty Editions. It follows Selected Early Keyboard Works and Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku (named the #1 archival release of 2019 by The Wire), in addition to a two-volume collection of Hennix's writing titled Poësy Matters and Other Matters
Recorded in February of 1974 and featuring Catherine Christer Hennix (recitation, percussion, and electronics) and Hans Isgren (bowed gong), Hennix's realization of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Unbegrenzt (German for “unlimited”) from Aus den Sieben Tagen is an elaboration both rigorous and radically different from the canonical 1969 recording issued by Shandar. The collection of 15 text pieces written in Paris during May of 1968, “Aus den Sieben Tagen”, denies its performers notated direction and instead provides poetic cues that hinge upon Stockhausen's conception of “intuitive music,” a Eurocentric perspective on improvisation antithetical to the vernacular forms Hennix had engaged with as a young drummer performing in Stockholm jazz clubs with musicians like Bill Barron, Cam Brown, Hans Isgren, Lalle Svenson, Allan Vajda, Bo Wärmell, and many others. While both Hennix and Isgren saw the formal prospect of “Aus den Sieben Tagen” as a productive development of and beyond La Monte Young's event scores, she here steadfastly counters his rationalization of intuition with the Principle of Sufficient Reason. (Cf. Brouwer's Lattice.) Eschewing the busy, conservatory-addled lapses into idiomatic citation of Stockhausen's 1969 recording, Hennix's alternative realization of the “Unbegrenzt” score's instructions to “play a sound with the certainty that you have an infinite amount of time and space” is based on her concept of Infinitary Compositions, the trademark of her ensemble The Deontic Miracle which, at one time, considered adding Stockhausen, La Monte Young and Terry Jennings scores to its repertoire. Taking a mature, minimal iteration of Stockhausen's compositional method of “moment-forming” to heart, her version's dark, controlled feedback and amplified bowed gong subtly shift through an immanent sequence of formative moments, step by step. Its bubbling computer noise, percussion, and repeated ominous transient sounds of temple blocks over the bowed gong terminate with the integrated recitation of exotic text fragments from Hevajra Tantra which faithfully take Stockhausen's score into deeper vistas of the unconscious and a more devastating opening to the unlimited time and space of a dreaming mind.
Best known as a composer, Catherine Christer Hennix has, throughout her fifty-plus-year career, produced innovative work in the fields of not just minimal and computer music, but psychoanalytic theory, intuitionist mathematics, poetry, and prose as well. Born in Stockholm in 1948, Hennix became involved with the local jazz
and electronic music
communities while in her teens, meeting visiting musicians such as Eric Dolphy
and Albert Ayler, studying with trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, and becoming a member of the Elektronmusikstudio. In the late 1960s Hennix traveled to New York City, where, through Åke Hodell, she met Dick Higgins
and, in turn, many other members of the New York avant-garde, including La Monte Young, who would become a formative figure for Hennix and introduce her to both Henry Flynt and her eventual guru, Pandit Pran Nath. In the ensuing decades Hennix has continued to compose and perform music in a variety of formations, including in Flynt's Dharma Warriors, a quartet with Arthur Rhames, and more recently, with her own Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage. Hennix's ongoing explorations of mathematics, meanwhile—namely, the work of L.E.J. Brouwer—have led to teaching positions at SUNY-New Paltz and at MIT, and an extended collaboration with Alexander Esenin-Volpin.