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.