Christoph Schiller & Anouck Genthon

Zeitweise Leitcher Schneefall
New Wave of Jazz nwo/0019

Christoph Schiller/Eric Ruffling


Creative Sources CS 514 CD

One aim of improvised music is to create unprecedented sounds. And by specializing in the textures that can be extracted from the spinet, the piano’s 18th Century ancestor, keyboardist Christoph Schiller, who now divides his time between Basel and Weil am Rhein is firmly involved in this trope. On these hushed, microtonal CDs, Schiller applies his tweaking of the traditional keyboard to responsive sounds from an instrument as venerable as his, Anouck Genthon’s violin on Zeitweise Leitcher Schneefall, and one the epitomizes modernity, Eric Ruffling’s analogue synthesizer on Trance.

Geneva-based Genthon, who has worked with Jacques Demierre and the Insub Meta Orchestra, helps invest the communication on her spinet encounters with the qualities of a brief snowfall reflecting the title of the session. Singular and intermittent, vibrating plinks from strings attached to the fiddle and inside the piano contrast and conflate timbres as they negotiate among the protracted pauses which characterize the seven selections. With Schiller’s verbalized sighs as further animation, the resonations inflate only so much, until extended sweeps from both players, attain a mini-crescendo of back-and-forth chordal resonance on “ein leuchtender Saum”. As the vertical and horizontal sweeps intensify, widening soundboard spinet vibrations and swelling col legno slaps work their way into parallel, if not always identical, motifs which confirm that interaction,

Another Insub Meta Orchestra member, Basel resident Ruffling, defines his duet with Schiller in another manner altogether during Trance’s two ex6tended improvisations. Adding whistling wave forms and samples of voices, music and what could be a landline phone left off the hook, Ruffling’s output is met by keyboard glides and glissandi plus bottleneck guitar-like picking from the spinet. Eventually narrowed whistles and whooshes combine then disintegrate in distinctive discord. Although slightly shorter, the second track has more diverse sequences with the blurry introduction including percussive creaks and augmented inner-keyboard echoes. As the narrative advances, spinet tones become more pointed, even as synthesized noises diffuse with the sort of scary reverberations that could be heard in a haunted house. Eventually after an interlude that contrasts what could be a formal guitar recital with patched-in crashes and bangs, the resulting dual up-the-scale sprint unites the synthesizer and spinet in reflective and concluding flanges.

Although only one of these discs is entitled Trance, a similar suspension of ambulatory cause and effect should be applied to both. Fastening on the moment rather than the destination results in superior listening experiences.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Zeitweise: 1. die Stille 2. höhe der Sonne 3. zeitweise leichter Schneefall 4. ein leuchtender Saum 5. nach drei Nebeltagen 6. der Meidingersche Fullofen 7. Flaschenpost

Personnel: Zeitweise: Anouck Genthon (violin) and Christoph Schiller (spinet and voice)

Track Listing: Trance: 1. (2191) 2. (19:14)

Personnel: Trance: Christoph Schiller (spinet) and Eric Ruffing (analogue synthesizer)