How do you approach what we call music – for its creators, for its listeners, for its tangent society? Martin Kohlstedt, a composer and pianist in the maelstrom of contemporary experimental classical music searches and provides his own answers in form of improvisations, modular compositions and foremost in the embrace of intuitive emotion. Nothing must be forbidden in music if it was, in its core, born from irrevocable encounters – that is his credo.
The multi-part documentary dubbed «Strom» accompanies Martin Kohlstedt on his journeys. They lead him from his rustic thuringian home to the seemingly abstract musical cultures of Iran, the United States and Russia to circle around and ultimately arrive back at himself. In this manner the single episodes try in their own way to find answers to the questions at the beginning: How can you grasp music in a documentary context? For the film-maker Patrick Richter the search for certain moments becomes the main tool: The next note could very well be the moment where everything happens or is already gone, at the inbetween of stage and home, far and near, between person and persona. Sound and image intertwine: In the attempt to capture the moment of musical genesis on film the act of listening itself is made visible.
«Strom» – the german term for «stream» as well as «electricity» – is also the title of Martin Kohlstedts current album, is a reference to the amalgamation of instrumental corpora with an electrified world. But first and foremost the title is an hommage to the playful stream, the flow in his music. The documentary focuses on the flow of passing encounters within the formats of a musical film and an artist portrait at the same time. The music talks about itself, it is self-referential and that is precisely what Patrick Richter wants to achieve with his film – an introspection within the imagery, an observation of yourself observing. You can see how Kohlstedt finds his past within his music and time and time again tries to break with it – and you can feel how the film tries to reenact this search and these fractures. Music outside the realm of listening is unbridled and Martin Kohlstedt knows that – and repeatedly looses himself. Freedom.