Reviews to [koe:r] “Susystems”
“Listening to recompositions of renown Standards such as “You Go To My Head”, in which the singer, accompanied by Wolfgang Puschnig’s frenetic alto saxophone, plays out the lyrics by singing the tune’s finale in the highest head register, we hear a singer not afraid of extremes. Susystems has found her own category within the singer/songwriter modus operandi.”
Sound & Media:
“Sounds a little like Laurie Anderson, only more contemporary. A cool sound for the modern intellectual.”
“… The result is music for grown-ups with an international flair, somewhere between Jazz, Electronic Music, Pop and Funk, offering us a listening experience made of extreme opposites: thrilling and relaxing, touching and eccentric, overall catchy but, if you listen closely, cumbersome and strangely shaped. Simply beautiful.”
Hessischer Rundfunk 2, Günter Hottman, über „You go to my Head“ (D):
About “You Go To My Head”: “I would even go so far as to put this brand-new recording on the same level with my absolute favorite version of the song. Yes, I am talking about the one recorded by Chet Baker and Paul Bley in 1985…”
With her project “Susystems”, this newly discovered Austrian artist impresses with style, understatement and an artist’s taste. Ridler’s voice possesses the ability to sound as cold as ice in one moment, and to warm us with a lover’s sensuality in the next. In her compositions, she moves effortlessly between melodic Pop, Electronic Dance Music, Rock and emotionally charged Jazz improvisations. Her band consists of musicians with more than enough expertise to follow her wherever she goes. It all sounds much, much better to me than many of those pale scandinavian singers do. Highly recommended!”
Her cover versions sound like poems set to music, willfully conceptualized and interpreted for our digital age. Ridler’s claim to absolute authorship reaches as far as the actual release of her album, which was released on her own label Electroland Records and underlines her idea of Susystems being one person’s 360-degree-model.
ROLLING STONE Magazin (Germany):
Susanna Ridler’s koer – Susystems ****
The jazz singer captivates us with an adventurous puzzle
The fruits of two years’ labour? Digital fragmentation and reassembly for “some kind of musical canvas which needs careful shaping and reshaping?” Sounds like a very brainy concept. Much too inflexible in order for it to accommodate jazz musicians. And still the Viennese singer Susanna Ridler chose to use a jazz quintet for the recording of her second album. And managed to pull off the unexpected: a well-rounded piece of work, intimate and emotionally charged, with organic grooves that seem to breath in their own rhythm and harmoniously integrated improvised parts.
On the opening track, the cheerful sounding “Walk”, Florian Kmet’s guitar sounds funky and Philly-like. But wait, the duo can do otherwise. The Jazz Standard “Angel Eyes” starts off using Rock-Riffs as a basis for what climaxes in shrill hysteria. The somewhat gothic sounding ballad “Farewell” reminds us of Beady Belle, as do various other parts throughout the album.
As the arranger of her own work, Susanna Ridler enjoys the advantage of being able to balance out her voice and the instruments in a most subtle way. She describes her production process as an arch, leading from the emotional starting point to various deformations through the computer, and finally back to musical emotion. What is recorded in the studio by renown jazz musicians like Wolfgang Puschnig (saxophone), Peter Herbert (bass), or Gerald Preinfalk (who makes most striking use of the bass clarinett), is radically revised, while keeping the artist’s original statement intact. The result sounds surprisingly catchy: sometimes lively, then mysterious, and sometimes even carefree.
Ridler’s compositions range from atmospheric sound patterns to the groove driven – which is why the final track “SusysteMix” reaches the listener sounding like the adventurous puzzle of a remixer, freeing the music from the beats-per-minute corset. This Viennese surly must get along well with Bugge Wesseltoft. But while his suggestive formulas seem to proclaim a better world, Susanna Ridler prefers to pose the question: “Where does this take us?” – “Susystems”, by all means, is leading us straight into the realm where strokes of genius reside. (Electroland Vienna/Broken Silence)
Klaus von Seckendorff
Best Songs: “Walk”, “Navigation System Crash”
Interview for “Concerto”, Issue 01, 2012, with Wolfgang Taschl
One can still dream, can’t they…
Interview with Viennese Electronic Music artist and vocalist Susanna Ridler
Susanna Ridler’s dreams all circle around the same theme – the perfect fusion of Pop, Jazz, Electronic Music, Funk and Rock through one crucial working tool, the computer. The creative output of improvising musicians and her voice round up the mix. After a well received debut album and a Remix EP Ridler recently presented her second album. Reason enough to ask her for an interview.
“I am fascinated by the opportunities to manipulate sounds and change their structure. I wanted to do the same thing by using acoustic instruments and then combine the two.” , she says. Unusual too is the use of electronic elements, and so the fundamentals of a song are created on a computer, and then some composed parts are being recorded in the studio with musicians, improvisations are added and then the different parts are being fragmented, manipulated and rearranged to subtle worlds of sound. Ridler’s compositions are also not to be mixed up with beat- and rhythm driven electronic productions for clubs, quite the opposite, Ridler’s music reveals itself more through cleverly devised sound sculptures in the lower beats-per-minute range.
You started working on your Electronic Music-Jazz-Pop project [koe:r] in 2004. What requirements does the music have to fulfill?
I was dreaming of a mix of Electronic Music, Jazz and Pop. In the beginning there were simple songs, that I arranged on the computer and this is how I began my own journey through a digital universe of sound.
Your new album is titled “Susystems”, how did this come about?
The name was a result of my working methods. It’s the net where my songs are created, where they take on form and shape. The songs all have very different styles and mods, and “Susystems” is the matrix that is embosoming it all.
How is this album different from your debut album?
On my first album I used my voice only as additional color among many other things. The sound was less acoustic. With “Susystems” the voice and the instruments are more center-stage. The goal was to make it more alive and physical. My first CD was more kind of back-ground music. “Sysytems” is only partially suited for shallow ears.
Peter Herbert and Wolfgang Puschnig were already part of your first album, now you have also recorded with Florian Kmet, Alexander Lackner and Gerald Preinfalk. How did that collaboration come about?
I have known Peter Herbert for a long time because we did work for the theater together. My style really took shape when I composed something especially for him for my first album. Working with him gave me the boost I needed for the rest. I met Wolfgang Puschnig 2007 at the Porgy&Bess, he liked my song experiments. To perform live with him is something special for a vocalist. Alexander Lackner is supporting Florian Kmet and me with additional colors when we perform live. They are my core band. Kmet is adding a very interesting funk and rock aesthetic to the music. The collaboration with Gerald Preinfalk was a result of me composing something for bass clarinet.
When you start working on a track, do you already know where you want it to go or does it emerge out of the process?
My music is the result of a process. I am inspired by emotions, books I read, or the news, conversations, just life itself. I have an idea for a song, maybe it’s a melody, maybe a title, or a lyric, or a groove, a sound… from this initial idea I reach out further into the unknown. Only my song “Winter” was created on the piano.
You released your first album four years after founding the project, and now the second one is being released four years after that. Do we have to expect another four-year cycle?
Really? Was it really four years each time? I wasn’t aware this happened. I really worked on the second album for about two years. So maybe the third one will be ready faster.
You released a Remix EP of your debut, do you have similar plans for “Susystems”?
I am contemplating it, but in a way I feel I already did it myself this time. The last track on the CD, “SusysteMix” is sort of a Remix of all the melodic material of the CD. Just some fooling around.
„Austrian Music Export“, Text by Michael Ternai
Susanna Ridler [koe:r] – Susystems
April 10th, 2012 | Published in jazz/improvisation
Susanna Ridler is an artist who has never limited herself to any traditional musical terms. Instead, it has always been her objective to tread new paths far from old and conventional music patterns. This shows on her new album “Susystems” (Electroland Records Vienna) of her project [koe:r], which will be released on the 27th of April in Germany. The singer and composer takes the role of a free spirit with a very unique musical vision. Seperated from any style constraints, she takes us on an extremely atmospheric and exciting sound journey with surprising twists and turns.
When trying to put her music into words, the description that her music is a very modern and cross-genre interpretation of the concept of fusion music seems to be appropriate. In her compositions Susanna Ridler tries to build bridges between different styles as well as between artificial computer sounds and acoustic instruments, between tradition and modernity. She creates extremely colorful, complex and sophisticated sounds, a very unique and detailed sonic portrait that can hardly be pigeon-holed into one category. The way Susanna Ridler understands how to unite the different ingredients in captivating, immensely varied and intricate arrangements, proves her keen understanding of the different forms of music. Somewhere between the poles of pop, jazz, electronica, funk and rock, she knows how to give her music a form and bestow it with connectivity, despite its complexity.
The singer and composer approaches her pieces with the meticulousness and curiosity of a scientist. Nothing is left to chance. Every note, every tone is set deliberately, every break, every phrase follows a self- defined concept. “This mergence is supposed to create a harmonious and special sound. I also try to consciously create every note, which leads to a complex composing and arranging process. After all a CD is more than just a given moment in time. It is like a musical painting that has to be extremely refined,” says the artist about her approach.
Liberated from any constricted thinking, Susanna Ridler is supported in her vision of modern art music by a stellar backing group. With Peter Herbert (bass), Florian Kmet (guitar), Alexander Lackner (bass), Gerald Preinfalk (bass clarinet) and Wolfgang Puschnig (saxophone), the singer blessed with a discrete-expressive voice has outstanding musicians standing by her side who excellently understand how to vitalize the ideas of Susanna Ridler.
“Susystems” is a piece of music that offers an enchanting and captivating listening experience. Open- minded music lovers who like to indulge into new sound scapes should definitely give the new CD by Susanna Ridler’s project [koe:r] a try and
Michael Ternai (translated from German)
Reviews to [koe:r] / 2008
Die Presse (A):
Her mostly computer generated „slow motion aesthetic” exude that bewitching soulfulness
we know from Sidsel Endresen and David Sylvian.
Der Standard (A):
On [koe:r], Ridler’s voice functions as a multi-layered, coherence-creating guideline through Dub-alike, detailed, all-out composed electronica soundscapes:
At times, just an acoustic color that is integrated in the contrast-rich structures, then emerging as a song leading character, where songs such as Jobim’s Corocvado or Gershwin’s Summertime are sensually deconstructed.
3 Sat Kulturzeit (D):
Susanna Ridler sounds out the possibilities of modern studio techniques, creating multilayered and abstract sound worlds. But in the center of the unique sound body clearly rings a jazz heart.
Gershwin’s Summertime exists in over 10 000 interpretations but Susanna Ridler’s version stands the proof: the “downbeat dress” she provided the song convinces with callous charm.
Vogue (D): Jazzy, intellectual, sensual
A refreshing, nimble, autonomous disc which makes one think of seaside and holiday without borrowing the „Café del Mar” cliché.
An access to music that is at the same time unusual and phenomenal how one wouldn’t expect it from this country. [koe:r] ripples like a waterfall. And this waterfall ripples incredibly delightful – and beautiful.
Sound & Media (A):
“… ein wenig Laurie Anderson, übersetzt in die Jetztzeit. Cooler, zeitgemäßer Intellektuellensound.”