KTMP 5307

Contrapuntal and cumulative trio music, this CD finds German musicians utilizing the kinetic timbres available from familiar (violin and saxophones) and unfamiliar (prepared piano and keyed dulcimer) instruments. With Erlangen’s Klaus Treuheit colorfully spraying keyboard variations ranging from organic chording to jagged internal plucks and stops; Wuppertal-based fiddler Christoph Irmer’s tremolo pointillism; and the vocalized, werewolf cries of saxophonist Georg Wissel from Köln (see MusicWorks #100) the piece attains self-contained totality.

Irmer and Wissel, members of the Canaries on the Pole chamber-improv ensemble, and the keyboardist who composes for film and theatre, reach profound rapprochement at the mid-way point. Here Treuheit’s two-handed chording and plucks and strums on the altered internal strings are transformed into a carpet of harpsichord-like clashes referencing Bach’s inventions. Operating in parallel, but non-intersecting lines the others work up a duet of mouse squeaks from the violinist and aviary cries and twitters from the saxophonist.

Earlier atonal pulses are stacked against one another with Wissel tongue-slapping, overblowing and muting his horn’s bell against his leg for jagged, broken-octave shrills; Treuheit apparently rolling rubber balls along and between his instrument’s strings; and Irmer’s angled spiccato bowing bouncing harshly along his strings. At points it sounds as if all the instruments are being scraped along the studio floor.

Counterbalancing this sonic violence are rare pastoral moments, with the keyboardist producing dramatic note clusters that could accompany silent movie, and Irmer sounding pedal-point ostinato or sweet, legato sweeps. Only Wissel’s output remains defiantly dissonant, expanding his horns’ tessitura with barks, intense split tones and breath pulsations that are all sound and no notes.

— Ken Waxman

— MusicWorks Issue #104