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"The afternoon of the microphone"




Alphawezen are Asu Yalcindag & Ernst Wawra from Aachen / Aken / Aix-la-Chapelle & Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Alphawezen project began as an instrumental/ electronic/ contemporarty dance outfit and has evolved into a kind of Ambient Electronic Pop with the help of Asu.

Her ethereal voice and lyrics lend an organic (orgasmic?) quality to Ernst's instrumental work. Asu and Ernst are supported by many other musicians, playing both electronic and accoustic instruments, and sometimes by guest singers, for example Verena Johann on 'Days'.

The debut Album „L'Après-Midi d'un Microphone" on Mole Listening Pearls is a mosaic in that it is comprised of many pieces but also forms a coherent whole.

Pop and Ambient are no longer enemies on this release, but rather compliment each other. Boundaries are being tested here, and as the album progresses it becomes apparent that these boundaries aren't reality, but merely the influence of the external world.

The name of the album is a play on Debussy's "Prelude a l' Apres-Midi d'un Faune". (In French "Faune" is pronounced as "phone").
Ernst has the following to say about his music: "Actually I am very critical when it comes to outsiders and even more critical about my own music. Honestly there is very little music which manages to hold my attention or fascinate me for any period of time. What I like about my music is the sensation of "breathing" that the listener can feel in some of my productions.
I think the listener is susceptible to space and pauses. Asu understands this and I think that's the reason that we work so well together and that our music so unified. The "breathing" I mean is a contemplative kind of aspiration, like on a warm early Summer day when I can lay down in the grass, close my eyes and forget about myself. I use my music to forget myself and to examine the subtle reflections of reality and appearance."
To translate yearning and dreams of faraway sceneries into beautiful and unheard sounds is what makes pop duo Alphawezen aka Ernst Wawra and Asu so special. Their second album „en passant“ comprises of 12 songs full of fleeting moments, the basic mood of which swings between soothing melancholy and mellow serenity. Sublime as in the title track, thoughtful as in „Speed Of Light“, friendly as in „Sommerzeit“ or cool as in „Welcome To Machinarchy.“
En Passant“ comes with such consummate ease as if being produced en passant. But it soon becomes obvious that the album is thoroughly thought through and done with complete mastery. Alphawezen playfully explore the realm between art and kitsch, experiment and calculation, yearning arrangements and hypnotic dance tracks.

Some will storm the dancefloor as soon as „Welcome To Machinarchy“ sets in (to be released as 12inch in august 2004), a charming bow to 1980s New Wave hymns. And some will smilingly remember their first disco adventures, pondering all the mistakes, entanglements and states of confusion of a time long gone. If you move from disco to disco you will gladly discover some fast moving tracks in this diverse offering. If you like to travel at home, you will find it pleasing to travel with Alphawezen. The album „en passant“ reminds of something which came into existence just now but radiates a feeling of something which has been around forever. And that is magical and very soothing.

By the way, the cover pictures one of the most-wanted chess robots of the 70ies, a Novag Robot.
Excursus: The day machines learned how to love, the satellites careened one last time round the earth till they’d spent all their power, petered out and burned up in the atmosphere. Things had come full circle. At the dawn of the 18th century they’d entered the evolutionary arena as a brand new species.

At first, although they soon evinced creaturely emotions and musical intuition, the humanoids exploited them as tractable slaves. The machines – and this is the latest zoologically accurate designation for this life form – have only undergone their long overdue emancipation in our day.
Under their nom de guerre Alphawezen respectively Ernst Wawra and his singing comrades-in-arms Asu, Verena, Simone and Fred shows with the third album "Comme Vous Voulez" their expertise in the weird and wonderful world of electro-apparatus again. A typical Alphawezen recording session is less like a composer’s studio session than a conspirative get-together, replete with elated twitterings and chirpings, murmured and whispered exchanges of secrets and piquant remarks.
The reward for this courteous treatment of the machines resonates through the very first track: “Green Eyes” is possessed of a complex and magical melancholy peculiar to creatures who, after centuries of slavery, have at long last been proffered a helping hand (namely, Mr. Wawra’s nimble-fingered one). The masterfully interwoven melodies, which have become hallmarks of Alphawezen’s music, evoke en passant delectable scenes in the mind’s eye of the attentive listener.

In this case it’s the iridescent self-abnegating “tears in rain” that android replicant Roy Batty talks about so movingly in the movie Blade Runner. But the forceful string theme at the close of the piece intimates that some day the machines might no longer take their exploitation “lying down”, as it were.
We can only hope compassionate voices like Asu’s here will then assuage their rage: “Hush, hush, let's get lost,” she sings, or rather whispers, to us on the second track, “Gun Song”. And indeed, the strings that come in again at the end of the song are no longer marching toward their just cause, but exude a sighing soulful well-being like that of the Beast bewitched by its beloved Beauty.
Before you yield yourself up in wonder to the astounding maturity of Wawra’s menagerie of machines in the serene climes of the redemptive grand finale hymn “Doux Rêves”, there’s a lot to discover – and sometimes even to smile at. In “Film3” or “Freeze”, for instance, Wawra elicits from a very affable specimen of an old Korg synthesizer the very sweetest of sound-pearls from the depths of his creaturely trance.
On this third album Alphawezen takes us through the vast realm between experimentation and calculated effects, bringing us the circle back to the first album.

Since the days of the legendary band Kraftwerk, many have shown that machines can produce more than just rhythmically repetitive booming and thumping. But it wasn’t till Alphawezen’s musical experiments that we learned that polyphonically intertwined enunciations of their vitality have the melodic quality and complexity of 19th-century Italian arias.