No Business for Dogs

Lovely Objects
Aume NO #

A far cry from Rich vs. Roach or other conventional drum meetings, Lovely Objects is a minimalist seminar in instant composition, relating outlying percussion impulses to the sympathetic excitement of a piano’s internal string set. Chamber-styled aleatory interface, the seven tracks are structured around timbres and textures not volume or rhythm.

Austrian pianist Juun – AKA Judith Unterpertinger – plus Austrian percussionist Bernhard Breuer and American Steven Hess, who plays drums and electronics, use unexpected beat explosions to caplitalize different sections of these instant compositions or graphic scores. Like similar quests advanced by Berlin-based microtonalists such as drummer Tony Buck or inside-pianist Andrea Neumann, absorption lies in acceptance of the ride rather than the destination.

Member of the London Improvisers Orchestra as well as a composer for various media, Juun often builds her performances on string plucks, chiming echoes and other harp-like arpeggios that continuously resonate from the soundboard throughout the instrument’s innards as she creates difference strategies on the keys themselves. Meanwhile Breuer, whose background includes affiliation with techno and industrial noise combos, concentrates on a series of repetitive smacks and ruffs, plus pressurized cymbal and grating harsh squeals on unyielding material to construct distinct leitmotifs. Infrequently in the foreground, Breuer’s distanced drum rumbling is infrequent and only used to make dramatic statements.

Involved with electronic oscillations, which create aural replications of vinyl crackles, band-saw cross-cutting and pots-and-pans whacking, Hess’s percussion strategies are to ally himself with either of the other players. His background, which include gigs with stylists as different as American clarinetist Jason Stein and Austrian sound manipulator Christian Fennesz suggest this duality, which as a percussionist are further expressed in drum-top hand-patting and shakes from tambourines or rattles.

Throughout the disc percussive clatter and processed oscillations sometimes pull back enough to allow thematic piano expositions to meander without upsetting a track’s basic flow. Shortly afterwards, new sequences involving specific whorls and patterns from each player redefine the process to interlock the instruments’ pulses.

Fascinating for what Lovely Objects are displayed here, the question is whether the enigmatically named trio will be able to – or will want to – trade this reductionist atmosphere for a forthright musical statement next time out.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Lovely: 1. Object #3 2. Sweet Object 3. Magic 4. Television for God 5. Cocovin 6. Dirt and Not Copper 7. Skyscraper

Personnel: Lovely: Juun (pianoguts); Bernhard Breuer (drums); Steven Hess (drums and electronics) and Alfred Reiter (sound)