Review of September 19, 1998 Et Al. [12k1024]

Tokafi (.COM)

“If I have a religion in life, it’s the iPod!” That’s what Kenneth Kirschner once said in an interview with Marc Weidenbaum for Disquiet. And that came to mind when I listened to September 19, 1998 Et Al. I’m talking about the entire album here, not the track by the same name. For Kenneth Kirschner’s philosophy is one of utmost minimalism on his side and of utmost freedom of interpretation and experience for the listener on the other side. The first step he took to make this happen was to get rid of titles that might distract the listener and lead to false expectations. Since 1989, he has consequently called every piece of music by the date he started the project and kept it this way. Cause he wants his music to be the lone subject of interest.

It becomes perfectly obvious that Kenneth Kirschner truely is a man of consequence when you access his website It offers downloads of all of his compositions, strictly sorted by date and simply showing the size in MB. No biography, no press releases, no stories on upcoming events, no tour dates. Just his music, plain and simple, and always free of charge. Which takes me back to the remark at the beginning of this article and his equally remarkable philosophy on music and its distribution. As far as Kenneth is concerned any music, especially his own, should be available anytime, anywhere, anyhow, for everyone. Thus the iPod. It means being able to listen in a random environment, having the power to let the music go on and on and on and on. And on. Not at all interrupted by whatever the music industry seems fit.

Okay, while I go on with Ken’s philosophy, I have to admit that there are many places for you, the reader, to get more information about this particular part of his work. And that is exactly why I dedicate so much space to this issue. Go get involved with Kenneth Kirschner’s philosophy. Once you do you will possess a precious secret, a golden key unlocking the door to the wisdom of his unique vault. Don’t you dare hesitate, it’s absolutely worth your while….

In the meantime, I am sure you will ask yourself what kind of CD review this is. I could not agree more with you. As a matter of fact, this is not your ordinary review. And I dare say, I have no intentions whatsoever to get going on the music of September 19, 1998 Et Al. At least not in a general, randomly ‘true’ way. Why?

I owe it to Kenneth Kirschner. Not that we have ever met or had a word with each other. But I think and hope that I understand his philosophy. One of his main laws seems to be that music, is what the individual thinks and feels about it. It’s what happens in your mind when you hear it. It’s his music’s effect on your situation, be it good, bad or ugly. Never mind. It’s all and entirely up to you, you as a human being in your individual and unique situation of life. This is exactly one of the reasons why he abandoned the titles of his pieces. This is, why he wants to allow every single one of you to have her or his individual musical experience with his work. And this is why he decided to encourage the free distribution of his work. Now, at last, I have and may say one thing about the CD I am discussing here, and I have to stress that it is entirely my view, not necessarily yours:

When hearing September 19, 1998 Et Al., I experienced being in a huge building, at least five hundred feet high and wide, like a gigantic dome with no content, made from stone. I couldn’t see or feel, and the music, based on excitingly steady percussions, yet denying to be bound in any way, shape or form ever heard before, majored by supernatural sounds I don’t dare to explain. The hollow, dark and empty dome allowed me to be in a place not interfered with by any outer distraction. The dome was and is my music, the place seemed fit for me to access its utmost limits…..

For me this represented an unbelievable journey into my inner self. For you???? I wouldn’t have a clue. Believe me, you will just have find out for yourself!

By Fred Wheeler

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