Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

May 20, 2015

GIFT FIG: the duo of ALFRED 23 HARTH & CARL STONE, “STELLENBOSCH” (KSE #298), live in South Africa 9/2014

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A23H SA poster


“Stellenbosch” (KSE #298)  CDR album

recorded live in South Africa, September 2014

Alfred 23 Harth: Reeds, Dojirak, Kaoss Pad
Carl Stone: Laptop and Voice

limited edition of 150 copies 

$8  US  postpaid / $11.50 elsewhere postpaid

payment via paypal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com

please provide a note with your order listing the items you’ve ordered and your mailing address….thanks!


The first GIFT FIG album, released by KSE in January 2012, was one of our most popular and acclaimed releases. The combination of two such pioneering and beyond-category figures as Harth and Stone provided not just telepathic improvisation and spontaneous composition that mixed and merged each other’s contributions until trying to separate out the parts became irrelevant….but also a kind of “third mind” came into being. About the 2012 Gift Fig album, Massimo Ricci wrote, A meeting between two big names whose partnership would have been nearly unthinkable just a few years ago. But there’s something that links Alfred Harth with Carl Stone besides their indubitable artistry: the influence of Asian cultures on their respective lives and crafts (one is based in South Korea, the other in Japan). These six tracks constitute a compendium of two concerts occurred in 2009 and 2010 in Frankfurt and Tokyo, but the extremely high quality of the sound and the lack of audience noise makes the CD comparable to a studio work.

The set is basically built upon Stone’s transformation (via Max/MSP) of Harth’s emissions, with subsequent additions of further pre-existing materials. The palette is obviously homogeneous: Harth also treats his “babies” (which include Eastern wind instruments like taepyeongso and dojirak) with a Kaoss pad, and uses bows on the instrument’s bell and in other parts too. Both employ samples and voice. But the description of the sources doesn’t excessively help clarifying how this uncompromising record sounds. The material, at least from what I gathered by repeated listens, appears mostly improvised. Many different scenes succeed in ever-radical spurts, without concessions to any kind of easiness or relief; a latent tension informs the bulk of the sonic settings, which in some moments approach a near-explosive configuration. Percussive aspects are frequently privileged, the mechanical features of the reeds amplified and expanded to become an out-and-out menace: imagine a giant crab walking towards you with bad intentions (“Adler_Kino 23 Gu II”). Somewhere, Harth’s pulmonary exhalations morph into powerful winds deprived of a chunk of the frequency spectrum. And I could go on.”
However, this new STELLENBOSCH album, recorded live during a tour of South Africa in September 2015, is quite different. It’s an album with more space, an album which incorporates distant shores into its landscape, but even though at its heart is intuitive multi-levelled improvisation, Stone’s background as an electronic composer and Harth’s background as improviser and collagist always inform the paintings in sound. It’s spell-binding, it raises the listener into a higher state of consciousness, it features a good amount of Harth’s virtuoso reed playing, and it takes the concept of “deep listening” one associates with 70’s works such as the duo version of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and ups the ante to the 23rd power.  The possibilities within improvisation/spontaneous composition have grown exponentially each year since the 1970’s (which had grown incredibly since the jazz-based blowouts of the mid-late 60’s), and while this album would have appeal to someone weaned on, say, the Sam Rivers/Dave Holland duets on Improvising Artists, on another level, it makes that kind of thing, progressive in its day, sound like ragtime.
A beautiful, challenging, deep, and transcendent series of spontaneous sound-collages, recorded live, from two contemporary masters who continue to blazing down the highway toward a horizon of pure possibility.
ALFRED 23 HARTH and CARL STONE……the duo of GIFT FIG.  STELLENBOSCH (KSE #298). Two contemporary explorers in sound and aesthetics. We’re honored to release this new album, but warn you it’s limited to 150 copies. GET YOURS NOW. Ordering information can be found at the top of this release announcement.

gift fig foto

Visit Mr. Harth online at

Visit Mr. Stone online at

Gift Fig 2

watch a live performance of GIFT FIG here:


Whiie ordering this GIFT FIG–STELLENBOSCH album, why not pick up some of KSE’s other CDR albums of contemporary forward-thinking music:


full-sized KSE CDR’s ($8.00 each, ppd. in US—outside US $11.50)

Please include a note with your paypal order including the items ordered AND your mailing address (which Paypal often fails to provide me)….thanks!


new releases for 2015:


NEW FOR 2015: KSE #293, MORE EAZE (aka Marcus M. Rubio), “stylistic deautomatization”


NEW FOR 2015: KSE #307, STEVE FLATO, “Exhaust System”

derek 2015

NEW FOR 2015: KSE #292, DEREK ROGERS, “Depth/Detail of Processing”


NEW FOR 2015: KSE #300 (CDR), FOSSILS & BILL SHUTE, “The Florida Nocturne Poems” (poetry and music album), cover art by MP Landis


This is the sixth and final release in KSE’s Spring 2015 group of albums. Thanks for your support of and enthusiasm about these works. When I listen to the recent albums by Derek Rogers and Fossils and Marcus Rubio (More Eaze) and Steve Flato, I’m honored to have played a part in bringing them to you. These would have been my favorite albums of the year no matter who released them, so for KSE to be releasing them is truly a dream come true.

We will be back in mid-to-late June with an amazing new psychedelic creation from Pittsburgh’s THE GARMENT DISTRICT (featuring Jennifer Baron), “LUMINOUS TOXIN” (KSE #296)….and then after that, a stunning new duo album from LISA CAMERON and ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “SOL ET TERRE” (KSE #299).

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