Hermann Nitsch - 25. Aktion (Wiederaufgefuhrt) LP
Label: Cien Fuegos
Perhaps the most well-known of Vienna's Aktionists, Hermann Nitsch has produced massive participatory performance art projects, almost all of which involve an excess of pig-blood being splattered amongst the rituals involving food, sex, wine, religious iconography and other primal forces of life. As gruesome as the images can appear of an animal being disemboweled above a bound participant (often a nude woman), Nitsch has always gleefully implored these as celebratory works. So much chaos, discord and violence (implied or otherwise) lends to considerable cognitive dissonance in his work. The same goes for musical compositions that would accompany his performances. Nitsch is well versed in the holy minimalists and Fluxus based strategies of sound production. Not surprisingly, he turns these forms of sustained atonality into grotesquely malformed constructs. 25.Aktion is emblematic of the softer Nitsch's compositional style. First produced back in 1968, this recording is a documentation of a reprised performance of this particular piece re-staged in 1982. He does employ the battery of trumpeters blaring away for as long as possible, but the dense swells of chaotic tumbling rhythms and crashing noise are replaced by the languid drones from a harmonium. Since the late '60s, Nistch reclaimed the wedding gift of a harmonium to his wife producing what at one time was thought to be a 40 volume set of hour-long recordings. Here on 25.Aktion, the sensual harmonic chorales from his sustained harmonium are featured quite prominently in his composition.