Markus Eichenberger / Daniel Studer

July 26, 2018


hatOLOGY 748

A nonpareil realization of an certain idea, clarinetist Markus Eichenberger’s and bassist Daniel Studer’s Suspended lives up to its title by austerely suspending its seven improvisations between the commitments needed for both notated and Free Music. Gem-hard and never overstepping extremes of noise, pitch or rhythm, this disc by two veteran Swiss players still manages to attain its un-inflated goals without fracturing linear motion.

Restricted but not reductionist, the sounds put out by the Zurich-based reedist and string player have been developed over time. Studer, for example, has recorded with innovators like Giancarlo Schiaffini, Alfred Zimmerlin and John Butcher; while Eichenberger has played with Ulrich Phillipp, Carl Ludwig Hübsch and Michael Vorfeld among others.

Essentially the strategy on this CD is by juxtapositioning a collection of thumps, pulls, buzzes and peeps a squirming mass of individual though related textures is developed. Instances of this are elaborated on “Staying Numbly” and “Glancing Loudly”. On the first tune, nearly inaudible reed puffs and string motions move upwards to settle on altissimo sighs mixed with woody stopping; while on “Glancing Loudly” buzzes and growls from Eichenberger create enough friction to moderate Studer’s splayed spiccato resonation. The giveaway titled “Upwards” emphasizes the attained percussiveness of the instruments with brief guffaws and tongue slaps from the clarinetist as the bassist’s thick string-stopping sweeps the tones into combinative expression.

Tellingly the final “Aiming Anew” describes the musical relationship with timbres from both suggesting a blossoming flower. As Eichenberger’s intense blows moves the piece chromatically, Studer’s string swabs vary the pitch colorations. Both radical and refreshing, the CD’s tracks’ underlying tonality speaks to the duo’s skills and like the final title states, suggests newer elaborations to come.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Walking Harshly 2. Pausing Reluctantly 3. Staying Numbly 4. Glancing Loudly 5. Listening Sideways; Gliding 6. Upwards 7. Aiming Anew

Personnel: Markus Eichenberger (clarinet and bass clarinet) and Daniel Studer (bass)