Wide Ear Records WER 024

Scrutinizing the rasping textures propelled by mating electronic and acoustic instruments, the Swiss-based Kaiserbuck trio moves through seven tracks designed to show off the dexterity of Marc Unternährer’s tuba, Sascha Henkel’s guitar and the drums of Alex Huber.

Acoustically oriented Hyseteresis draws on the trio members’ experience in more conventionally constituted bands. Unternährer, for instance, has played with cornetist Josh Berman and saxophonist Keefe Jackson; Henkel with saxophonists Benjamin Weiderkamp and Christian Weidner; and Huber with saxophonists Silke Eberhard and Philipp Gropper. Moving further away from Jazz conventions than these associations would suggest however, Kaiserbuck appears to revel in the clashes caused by contrasting metal-against-mental cymbal-brush scratches with droning guitar pulses as tuba tones burble underneath. One antecedent to Henkel’s spare chording may be Derek Bailey. But he’s more inner-directed. In fact, there are spots such as on “Notöffnung” where he seems to be ignoring the whistles and clinks from the others to propel am idiosyncratic path.

Not that this singularity is self-indulgent since it’s infrequent; plus the CD’s most sustainable programs are based on close-listening and close-connection. So even though “You Really Believe That” is a showcase for the guitarist’s clipped strums, hard twangs and near-bottleneck whines, assertive tongue fluttering from Unternährer and irregular patterning from Huber create a contrapuntal, contrasting line even as Henkel turns to near Metal-styled freak outs. “Heard It All Before” contrasts rock-hard splashes and crashes from the drummer with growls and whistles from the tuba plus knob-twisting and string squeezing from the guitarist, culminating in unexpected, near mechanized burbles and cries. In the same way although it’s completed by a capella lowing tuba blats after repetative guitar strums, “She Got What She Wanted” begins with a piercing tone that could come from any of the instruments. Additionally, these unclassified timbres, tempered with electronic hissing characterize the concluding “Ebene”.

Overall these tracks set up Kaiserbuck’s indivisible individuality that is atmospheric, meditative and dedicated to stretching the timbres of acoustic instruments to their limits alongside electronic pulsations. In short the sounds from this trio are worth investigating if you accept the music on its own terms.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Paranoia 2. 94 85 1 523 053-0 3. She Got What She Wanted 4. Notöffnung 5. You Really Believe That? 6. I Heard It All Before 7. Ebene

Personnel: Marc Unternährer (tuba); Sascha Henkel (guitar) and Alex Huber (drums)