500 gr |cs052








































Another trio involving Birgit Uhler is, here together with Lars Scherzberg on saxophone and Micheal Maierhof on cello. Much along similar lines as the two other releases mentioned here with Uhler, this is pretty free music playing, but also it stays very much on the traditional side of improvisation. Nice for sure. Frans de Waard (Vital)

Recorded live in Berlin, this is a trumpet/sax/cello trio moving along the coordinates of classic reduction but with a little more margin for the convergence of silence and big splinters of what often sounds like contemporary chamber music, with some old Art Zoyd improvisational flavour. Feeding their explorative needs, the musicians operate their machines like if they were throwing stones in a pool at regular intervals, then stopping to observe the ripples generated, finally throwing more objects to change those (ir)regular geometries. There is no apparent friction among the instrumental voices, with Maierhof's cello contributing to the general temperament with touches of resonant wood, in a nice amalgam with the more introverted reciprocal responsiveness between the different air currents by Uhler's trumpet and Scherzberg's sax, which seem to accept the third of a perfect pair without any defensiveness. This three-legged animal walks around at its own peculiar pace, finally arriving right there where it's needed. Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

After a couple of recent jousts with electronics (in the form of Gino Robair's "voltage made audible" on Sputter and Lou Mallozzi's turntables on Landscape: Recognisable), 500 gr finds trumpeter Birgit Ulher back in the company of "traditional" instruments: saxophone (Lars Scherzberg) and cello (Michael Maierhof). Though of course they certainly don't sound traditional: all three players reveal great familiarity with extended techniques on their respective instruments, and, more impressive still, leave each other space to explore them. This is not so much a return to the austere Berlin Reductionism ca. 2001/2 – there are very few silences of more than a couple of seconds – as much as a look further back into the history of German music: the pristine clarity of Webern, the spiky pointillism of Stockhausen's Kontra-punkte and the extreme compression of Mathias Spahlinger (think the Vier Stücke). It's a terse, closely argued music, angular and intense without being expressionistic. And certainly not sweet either, despite the giant sugarcubes on the album cover. Dan Warburton (Paris Transatlantic)

It’s good to see that, over the last several years, trumpeter Birgit Ulher has become a more active player since her voice is increasingly commanding. She works a generally familiar field—nestled at the intersection of post-Bill Dixon splatterphonics and reductionist strategies—but what’s interesting about Ulher’s playing is not only her own expressions but the situations she seeks out. On 500gr (CS 052), she is part of the trio Nordzucker (where she’s joined by saxophonist Lars Scherzberg and cellist Michael Maierhof). The paired horns explore alternating staccato blasts and laminal cool-downs in ways similar to those generated by Ulher’s work with Martin Küchen. What I find interesting is the way they react—over the course of these nine improvisations—to Maierhof’s radically unpredictable cello maneuvers. At times, he plays with the arco grace of Tristan Honsinger, but elsewhere mangles the instrument, making it submit like Fred Lonberg-Holm. Only on one track—the plangent “50gr”—does the trio get sparse and meditative. Certainly there are plenty of birds-chirping moments, but I prefer the organic industrialisms heard elsewhere. A fine disc. Jason Bivins (One Final Note)

Third and last chapter (for now) of the Ulher-saga on this website. I could say this release joins perfectly some tension close to the work with Malozzi and Zerang but it also pays tribute to silence and breaks relaxing the possible listener. The list of instruments (trumpet, saxophone and cello) gives the idea this' a chamber trio and I think we can also dare to define "Nordzucker" as the electro-acoustic answer to chamber music. Probably 'cause of the line up I've caugh myself thinking some episodes were not that faraway from some old improvisations from that avant-jazz-scene which formed names like Tom Cora, Fred Frith and Zorn (a "holy trinity"!?). This cd is free from any itch hurry up, everything is kept tightly in control, every sound is accurately dosed and it keeps kissing the surface from below without breaking the icepack. Sometimes you'll probably guess if the parts they've played have been written, but honestly I think this music belongs to pure improvisation. The last hint that gives a real post-chamber-music aftertaste has to do with the natural reverb of the studio where it all has been recorded, this "natural ambience" is really classical or jazzy alike or al least in the same vein. The closing piece is a sort of exhibit barely sketched, you can't but love it. If you're completely new to the music of Creative Sources this could be a soft way to lose you virginity. Andrea Ferraris (Chain DLK)

[...] Vous prendrez bien 500 gr de Nordzucker, un remarquable trio trompette, sax alto, violoncelle qui fait éclater la théorie du trio tout comme le fit Ernesto Rodrigues, violoniste responsable de CS, avec Manuel Mota et Gabriel Paiuk dans Dorsal. Birgit Ulher a entrepris une démarche radicale sans idées toutes faites. Sa musique, en supposant que le contenu de ces trois disques intrigants soit enregistré et édité à son initiative, semble suivre le cours dicté par son expérience pratique et son parcours très personnel, plutôt que résulter de la conjonction d'états d'âme et de tendances affichées un peu partout. En cela, elle rejoint l'état d'esprit de son hôte, Ernesto Rodrigues à qui nous devons les publications de Creative Sources. Jean-Michel van Schouwburg (Improjazz)

[...] Without electronics, Ulher's trio with saxophonist Lars Scherzberg and cellist Michael Maierhof can't so easily dissolve into singularity. It's a more abrupt piece of work than the duo with Robair, but still one built from a shared sensibility. So much so, in fact, that it's a tricky game to discern who's playing what within the field of quickly passing sounds, and all three have a nice sense of leaving silence in the room. A sound can seem particularly trumpet-like, but then is interrupted by something more trumpetlike, and so perhaps it was a bowed cymbal but since there's no drummer must have been the sax. Such confusion reinforces their commonalities, but isn't really the point. Rather, what they're doing is presenting a singular concept, one which will reward patient and repeated listening. Kurt Gottschalk (Signal to Noise)

[…] The Nordzucker trio date reinforces the analogy with Dörner even more strongly, with cellist Michael Maierhof and saxofonist Lars Scherzberg adding growly overtones and bright squinks of reed noise. Brian Morton (The Wire)

Der schmale Demarkationsstreifen zwischen Komposition und Improvisation ist längst ein wild wucherndes Biotop, das mit wachsender Dichte synergetisch immer virulenter wird. Wobei meist die Improvisation das befruchtende Element einbringt, das Sandkorn im Getriebe, das sich zur Perle auswächst. Beim Hamburger Trio NORDZUCKER und seinem Debut 500 gr (cs 052) geht es scheinbar um saccharinhaltige Körnchen. Der Feinsinn der Trompeterin Birgit Ulher (*1961, Nürnberg) hat schon mit UNSK (Tidszon, cs 014), im Trio mit Lou Malozzi & Michael Zerang (Landscape: recognizable, cs 037) und in ihren Duos mit Ute Wassermann (Kunststoff, cs 017) und Gino Robair (Sputter, cs 042) den Nerv der Lissabonner Labelmacher getroffen. Im Treffen mit dem Saxophonisten Lars Scherzberg (*1972, Hamburg), der aus der Improschule von Wolfgang Fuchs und Torsten Müller herausgewachsen ist, und dem Cellisten Michael Meierhof (*1956, Fulda), der sein Renommee einer langen Reihe von multimedialen, elektroakustischen, kammermusikalischen und orchestralen Kompositionen verdankt, geht dieser Feinsinn so weit, dass neben den Klangmolekülen auch die Zeitpartikel und die Löcher im Klanggewebe mit der Briefwaage dosiert werden. In 9 minutiös austarierten Geräuschmixturen setzen die Drei ihre Instrumente auf eine Weise ein, die in der Post-Incus‘schen europäischen Improtradition tatsächlich längst eine Tradition geworden ist, während in der akademischen ‚Musica Nova‘ allenfalls Lachenmanns Bruitismus sich auf sie zu bewegt. 500g würde auf dem ECLAT in Stuttgart oder dem UltraSchall in Berlin repräsentativ für eine Ästhetik stehen können, die sich Beckett als ihren Schutzheiligen erkoren hat und Adorno darin zu folgen bereit scheint, dass „Dissonanz ... die Wahrheit über Harmonie“ ist, dass Kunst dem Fremden und Heterogenen Gerechtigkeit widerfahren lassen muss und „ästhetische Spiritualität ... von je her mit dem >Fauve<, dem Wilden besser sich vertragen (hat) als mit dem kulturell Okkupierten.“ (Bad Alchemy)