Hautzinger, Fujak, Sörés

Live in Brussels
Hevhetia EH 0040-2-331

Proof once again that intercontinental musical alliances are much more resonant and rewarding than alliances cooked up for political aims is this CD of balanced improvisations. Recorded in a Brussels performance space, it captures an international group of cerebral sound experimenters meaningfully cooperating.

Confirming improvised music’s transcendence of geography, each participant comes from a different country. For years Austrian Franz Hautzinger has been experimenting with the unique timbre he can pull from his quarter-tone trumpet, often in duo with French vocalist/clarinetist Isabelle Duthoit. Adding both electronic and acoustic properties from sources ranging from a sonic processor to prepared piano and bass guitar, is Slovenian Julo Fujak, who usually balances his concertizing with academics forays. In the same way Hungarian Zsolt Sörés, who has dabbled in everything from soundtrack scoring and book editing plus improvisation, meshes his viola and sonic objects into the live mix here.

Appending real time and real life sound insinuations to the program, Hautzinger, Fujak and Sörés present a more spirited interface than that advanced by more hermetic masters of group dynamics like AMM. As unaffiliated rumbles, squiggles, vibrations and smears quiver into sequences that meld with or repel other motifs, novel resonations arise. For instance mid-way through “Part I”, a whistled melody is suddenly evoked as if someone wanted to introduce the theme from “A Fistful of Dollars”.

At this point however the parametres of the program have already been established with the toolbox of electronic impulses producing a throbbing continuum as well as mechanized comments on acoustic solos. Circumspect features are emphasized throughout, excluding any unambiguous summation or ending. And instrumental virtuosity carries more weight than mere connectivity. That means that at the beginning at least, it’s Fujak’s more formalized piano patterning which strive to keep the performance from capsizing into atonality. Perfecting an attack that ranges from wispy, barely-there grace notes to fierce burbles and otherworldly growls, Hautzinger’s sound bursts exist in their own space. Divorced from the others’ strategies except when he wants to, in different instances the trumpeter showcases hippo-like rumbles or canine-like yelps to express continuity. Plus, at junctures, Sörés’ staccato strokes further destabilize the sound picture.

Miraculously these parallel strategies coexist throughout the creation’s three sections, with a sort-of climax arriving on the third track mostly through the need for closure rather than anything else. By “Part III” however the lower-pitches from each instrument finally bond enough so that together the three experience a sonic breakthrough. Collectively they build up to an expression of cacophonous textures. With prepared piano clicks and signal-processed shrills. piles of sound suggestions are crowded into the audio frame. Eventually sonic reflux segments the tones into recognizable harpsichord-like string jabs, percussive wave forms and quickened brass squeaks. Recognized, the timbres become a narrative.

Live in Brussels is a CD mostly for those willing to concentrate on following accomplished technical explorers’ means of creation and willing to forego the allure of completion. With such high quality improvising on tap however, that procedure may be enough for many.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Part I 2. Part II 3. Part III

Personnel: Franz Hautzinger (quarter-tone trumpet); Julo Fujak (semi-prepared piano, prepared bass guitar, sonic processor and toys) and Zsolt Sörés (viola, live electronics and sonic objects)