achtmal.1 - SoloSchichten  

achtmal.1 - SoloSchichten

Gesamtzeit: 29:40

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All Music Guide


Bad Alchemy 40

Auf Abwegen 33

  The music presented here was originally created for a conceptual audio-visual installation by Ruth Bamberg and Philippe Micol. Extracting the sonic component of such things and putting it onto CD isn't always a good idea, but here it works fine because the group simply played a long improvisation of the sort which might easily have been done in a more standard setting.
The thing which strikes home most forcefully is how well this group play together. Eight is a large number in a free improv setting and often groups of this size end up playing very featureless music which in interesting in short bursts but has little light and shade. This octet avoid that because everyone is willing to either sit out for long periods or to accompany others. Usually such discipline is only achieved by means of a conductor or a formal scheme, the second of which appears to have been employed here, but only in a very loose sense.
The half-hour-long piece is presented as a set of "solos", accompanied in various ways and interspersed with larger groups. The soloists are good - special mention goes to Gottschalk's nervy meditation on a limited palette, but each player's contribution is involving. There's a real sense of drama in this music: perhaps that's because of its unusual performance context, perhaps not, but the music really moves around, and in logical, long-term ways which improvisation usually doesn't concentrate on.

One gets the impression that these are young but very smart players who have been playing in this idiom for a good while. Each has a distinctive personality and there's no floundering around hacking out cliches. This is tight, focussed stuff which seems designed to show off the individuality of the participants without sacrificing the ensemble playing which can make larger groups both fun and dangerous.
Instrumental^, this group hangs together terribly well: Hirt's electronics are stringy enough to meld with Gottschalk and with Theurer's sometimes maniacal assaults on the piano interior, while Keune and Volker work well together and Volker and Poore are available to thicken things up. Ors-Hagen's wailing voice appears only at the beginning and end but it introduces the idea of the soloist within the group very nicely and ties things back together at the end. Overall, a hugely satisfying experience. Don't be put off by its brevity; many free improv albums are too long, a few too short, but this one is exactly the length it ought to be.

Richard Cochrane
Musings 2002