Lothar Ohlmeier/Tobias Klein

March 27, 2024

Left side right
Trytone TT 599-101

Klaus Ellerhusen Holm & Andreas Røysum
Quantum Teleportation
Nakama Records NKM 023

Variants of dual reed dialogue on these discs are equally fascinating in small doses as  the improvisers involved confirm their individuality. Norwegians Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (Bb clarinet and alto saxophone) and Andreas Røysum (Bb clarinet and bass clarinet) put aside their experience with groups to test the macro and micro limits of air, reed, metal and wood extensions among a series of indoor and outdoor spatial situations. On the other hand Germans Lothar Ohlmeier (bass clarinet and tenor saxophone) and Tobias Klein (bass clarinet and alto saxophone), part of one band together and many separately build on reed contrasts and cooperation expressed by the likes of the World Saxophone Quartet.

Anyone expecting harmonies or melodies during Quantum Teleportation’s six tracks would best go elsewhere. There is some unison improvisation and broken-octave forward motion, but the design is to discover new and novel reed strategies. Moving between their four horns, the Norwegians expose a practice book’s compendium of reed effects. These range from gentle trills and flutters to deep breathing sneers and vibrating honks. Also emphasized is the disparity between a propelled line of brief squeaks, squalls and squawks to one that evolves with unbroken horizontal density. Whistles, peeps, circular breaths, extended shakes and both tongue slaps and stops are part of the reed vocabulary. Plus vibrating timbres sometimes bring out tones close to those of a French horn, or when advancing in lockstep tremolo, pipe organ suggestions. Moves from place to place include outdoor settings. That means on tracks like “Coulombic Density” and “Sheep Chase”, further buzzes and tweets from birds and small animals enter the otherwise isolated reed continuum.

As different as Norway is from Germany, Ohlmeier’s and Klein’s game plan may also incorporate extended techniques, but throughout, the balance proposed by the title is put into practice. While none of the five tracks could be confused for lullabies, beauty as well as barbs and bellowing are also expressed. Layered and overlapping timbres mix solos that are squeaky and peeping with ones which are moderated and straight-ahead.

That means a track such as “Peptide” which begins with rhythmic tongue slaps that intensify as more enhanced air is blown through the horns’ body tubes and later advances with tandem chalumeau register slurs, includes a touch of lyricism. Silent interludes break up the separation of one player’s renal snorts and the other’s airy blowing, with a sequence of near static engagement. Round robin variations also come into play.

As the two circle around one another with reed textures that vary from long lines to brief affiliations and concentrated fills, pivots up and down the scale are seamlessly handled. However if the tandem undulations on a track like “Burning Money”, are harmonized, these puffs must eventually share space with bluesy saxophone honks and equivalent altissimo squeaks. As the climax timbres warmly collapse together.

Remembering that Left side right is all about exhibiting unusual reed techniques in a Jazz-affiliated setting, whereas Quantum Teleportation is primarily concerned with those techniques in a unvarnished improvised setting, will add to appreciation of either or both discs.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Quantum: 1. Entanglement in the Bell States 2. Coulombic Density 3. Dharani No. 4 4. Angular moments 5. Qubits 6. Sheep Chase

Personnel: Quantum: Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (Bb clarinet and alto saxophone) and Andreas Røysum (Bb clarinet and bass clarinet)

Track Listing: Left: 1. Effortless Sweetening 2. Burning Money 3. Peptide 4. Sweet sorrow 5. Right side left

Personnel: Left: Lothar Ohlmeier (bass clarinet and tenor saxophone) and Tobias Klein (bass clarinet and alto saxophone)