|roland dahinden | composer – performer|
From the very beginning, the music—or better—
the art of Roland Dahinden conjures
up the interdisciplinary thinking on which
sounds are based. It impresses due to its obvious
hermetic character, which paradoxically
possesses a great and equally obvious openness.
Dahinden’s art shares these characteristics
with the oeuvre of some great artists beginning
with Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage and
going far back into the past as well as forward
to the present time. Often, but not always, they
attempt to see content and shape in the supposedly
amorphous: the texture of the material, the
self-reflective materiality of the sign, the monochrome.
These attempts can often be characterized
as something transcendent and sublime,
but not in the old German sense of the word
“sublim,” but rather in the term of Lyotard’s
“l’analytique du sublime.“
According to the dictionary, “Sich einen Begriff machen” means in English “to imagine something,” which translates as “sich ein Bild machen [to get an idea of something or somebody].” 1 “Sich einen Begriff machen” could, according to another German language dictionary, be replaced with the synonym “to abstract from.”2 “Image” obviously not only refers to a statuary representation—the traditional and main target of the prohibition of images —, but also to the fixation of a notion as concept. Because the development of such concepts is linked with mechanisms of recognition, it is the image which is responsible for the expulsion from paradise. The gain of those criterions and groupings, which lead to recognition, destroys that immediacy of being in the world, which constitutes the non-conceptuality (and incomprehensibility) of paradise. What applies to the image and the development of concepts, however, does not necessarily hold true for a plural of the image, for images independent from conceptual grouping.
A prefabricated concept or idea, from which one could start or should follow, becomes in these cases obsolete. The notion of a pre-ordered idea yields the development of possibilities. The derivable concepts are granted temporary effectiveness at best. “Universalia sunt nomina ergo post rem” (“General concepts are names and therefore have to be subordinated to the real things“) was the credo of the medieval Nominalists in their fight against the proof of the Realists’ belief of the existence of God, which—slightly altering Plato— sought to present the creation as a realization of pre-existing ideas. On first listen, the succession of sounds in Roland Dahinden’s music seems in one piece, or in the one passage, a little dense. Then, on successive listens, appears as if sustained by a great inner quiet and a love of distance, corresponding very directly to the titles of the works—in which the relationship to visual art is of course directly conveyed. The fact that this music, with its fragility, strives to become as light as the weight of the shadow, as transparent as the flying white of a blank sheet of paper, as inherently shining as the moonlight on the surface of the Mondsee [a lake in Austria], corresponds very directly to the art which often induces the monochrome, the texture, the materiality to tell something and which is closest to Roland Dahinden. But this alone does not bring anyone closer to paradise lost.
“Terms are mythology something invented,” the filmmaker Peter Kubelka recently said in a lecture; there is no “love,” no “thinking,” no “being.” The only thing left are tracks—like tracks in the snow or in the detritus—tracks, which long remain in our experience (and sometimes provide us with the illusion of concepts). How could this thought be captured more precisely in an image than in Richard Long’s cover-picture for this CD? Only these tracks can be trusted. These tracks—and this is what the music of Roland Dahinden, in its fleeting relation to the image and concept perhaps tries to do—let us know that there is also nothing more than following these tracks, that no greater proximity can be achieved, and that one cannot get any closer to paradise.