"Mit Wittgenstein in Krisuvík - zweiundzwanzig Elfenlieder für Island"
(With Wittgenstein in Krisuvík - twenty-two Elf Songs for Iceland), the solo CD by
Wolfgang Müller, is released on a-musik, Cologne.
They don't speak - they sing!
In August 1995, Wolfgang Müller met the head of Iceland's Elf Department, the medium Erla Stefánsdóttir, in Reykjavik, for a long interview. To his question whether elves are only to be found in Iceland, Erla answered: "of course not. Elves are everywhere." And how do the communicate with each other? Is there an international elf language?, enquired Wolfgang. Amused, Erla Stefánsdóttir plucked some fluff off her red jumper and shook her head:
"elves don't speak - they sing!"
Elves' singing is normally inaudible to the human ear. Unlike music made by humans, it goes directly into the head of the listener. Hearing, therefore, is not an essential function in order to perceive it. An extremely fascinating thought for Wolfgang Müller, who had already produced music with a hearing challenged friend in the early Eighties - in turn, Gunther
Puttrich-Reignard taught him the German sign language.
In contrast, BAT, Wolfgang Müller's first solo LP (released in 1987), contains supersonic sounds made by eight kinds of indigenous bats, which were then processed to make them audible to the human ear. It is the first known recording in the world of sounds these animals make in order to locate their own positions and to defend themselves.
In 1999, Wolfgang Müller, together with the sign language interpreters Dina Tabbert and Andrea Schulz, worked on a remake of the LP "Die Tödliche Doris", which was originally released in 1981 and had been out of stock for a long time: with the interpreters' help, he let the music and the text be transformed into sign language, ie. something extramusical. The video recording of this will be released without sound.
Icelanders were, curiously, considered by visiters from the mainland to be by far the most unmusical nation in Europe for many centuries. "...a foreigner would find just as much displeasure as the Icelanders' enjoyment, for they sing terribly and totally out of time and without feeling, especially as they have a slightest idea of the latest feel for music." (Uno von Troil, 1779)
Today, this picture seems to have completely reversed. Numerous Icelandic singers are to be found in opera houses of the world, and Reykjavík's club and music scene is seen as one of the most innovative in Europa. Bands and solo artists from Reykjavík are well known all over the world. Iceland is now considered to be a particularly musical country.
"In order to create an agreeable environment, where elves would feel comfortable, I must remain equally open to the musical, the non-musical and extra-musical," says Wolfgang Müller. And so, various musical styles, directions and currents are found running through on on his new CD, "Mit Wittgenstein in Krisuvík". Elves and dwarves are behind all of those,
inaudible and yet perceptible - some friendly, the others wrathful; sometimes merry, serious at other times.
Wittgenstein in Krisuvík
Ludwig Wittgenstein, who spent several days in Iceland in 1913, later wrote in his principal work of philosophy, Logico-tractatus philosophicus, the following closing sentence: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." Wolfgang Müller complements this with the statement, "whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must sing," and makes the Unknown, the Invisible, the Hidden things about Iceland, its culture and its game rules, audible in German and other European cultures, always based on authentic sources. The booklet to the CD includes nine photographs, taken in Iceland by an unknown photographer, around 1913 - ie. precicely the time when the young Wittgenstein was in the country with a fellow student, David Hume Pinsent.