“suites and seeds” was recorded by “Anemochore” – it’s a quartet based on Frantz Loriot (viola), Sebastian Strinning (tenor saxophone and bass clarinet), Daniel Studer (bass) and Benjamin Brodbeck (drums). All four musicians are famous improvisers. Their own playing style, inventive point of view, passion to create something new and exciting, unique sound made them the central figures of avant-garde jazz and contemporary academical music scene. The musicians are collaborating with other jazz masters – their music always has inspiring, bright, passionate, driving and evocative sound. All the music is an organic synthesis of innovations and traditions, the main basics of avant-garde jazz, contemporary academical and experimental music and interesting relations to one or another music style.
The musicians of “Anemochore” quartet manage to create an exciting, bright and inspiring sound in “suites and seeds”. The compositions are completely based on the basics of free improvisational music, avant-garde and experimental jazz. The roots of avant-garde jazz is the source of inspiration and original ideas – musicians make a return to its typical elements basically related to 1960’s American avant-garde jazz. The relations with other music styles and genres are highly detected – innovations of contemporary academical music, sonoristic experiments, the basics of experimental, spectral or concrete music, are frequently used here all together with the basics of avant-garde jazz. The compositions have an open form – that makes a great opportunity to improvise without any frames or strict rules. Free, inspiring, dynamic and wild improvisation is the only form of playing – sudden changes, dynamic turns, immediate reponses to each other’s playing and spontaneous solos are the main basics of it. An innovative, original and multi-colorful instrumental section is created by combining together experimental, extended, original, specific, weird, provocative, radical and traditional playing techniques. Saxophone and bass clarinet by Sebastian Strinning make the base of the melody line. Independent expressive and vital melodies are in the centre of it – improviser has a thrilling, dynamic and emotional playing style. The melodies are accompagnied by roaring riffs, frantic wild culminations, hollowing trendy blow outs, flowing elegant passages, special effects, strange timbres, sonoristic experiments and huge range of expressions gently combined together. Vivid gentle and expressive tenor saxophone is contrasting to deep, heavy, vibrant, heavy and dark bass clarinet, which creates the other side of the album – relaxing, calm, steady and cool. Deep and solemn viola is masterfully created by Frantz Loriot. The music is expressive, vital, filled with contrasts and surprises. An improviser is blending together the main tendencies of contemporary academical music and the traditions of free improvisation. Fresh, awakening, shrieky and evocative solos are mixed up together with monotonic slow tunes, special effects and slow meditative pieces. Bass keeps the main bass line. Daniel Studer is the master of his art – he manages to mix up repetitive series, deep heavy tunes, remarkable melodies, suggestive solos and vibrant terrific culminations. Expressive bebop, aggressive tremendous hard bop, calm and steady cool, extravagant and modern post bop all blended up together with fascinating culminations, breaking sessions, impressive free improvisations and spontaneous changes – Benjamin Brodbeck manages to combine all these elements in one place and create an expressive, dynamic, surprising and independent rhythmic section. Avant Scena
Altering personnel really doesn’t make much difference for the compositional and improvisational elaborations of Zurich double bassist Daniel Studer. So while these discs, recorded within 10 months of one another, may superficially appear to reflect a chamber-music styled precept – the give-away titled Extended For Strings & Piano interpreted by five players – or a jazz combo-like concept – Suites and Seeds, which features reeds, drums, bass and viola – his musical vision is more comprehensive.
For a start, the formally educated Studer, who has also worked with improvisers such as John Butcher and Giancarlo Schiaffini, is cognizant of the restraints and freedom available with extended string techniques. In a way the quintet disc is an extension of the long running trio he has with violinist Harald Kimmig and cellist Alfred Zimmerlin. Here the three are joined by pianist Philip Zoubek who specializes in similar straight/experimental activities, as well as violist Frantz Loriot, who plays with the likes of Christoph Erb and Pascal Niggenkemper. Loriot and Studer are the strings on the other CD which also features tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Sebastian Strinning who has recorded with Gerry Hemingway and drummer Benjamin Brodbeck, who has a familiarity in minimalist, ethnic and electronic music.
None of those concepts are present on Suites and Seeds, which also reflect Studer’s ideas, but the percussionist’s irregular patterning and hip-hop beat reflections are put to good use. This is specifically notable at the top of the session where textures move from reductionist to formalist to swinging move in protracted outbursts. The validity of this strategy is confirmed when coupled with Strinning’s facility on both horns that encompass intense setrofluctuation, whistling clarinet peeps and smothering tenor saxophone breaths. Adding to the polyphonic expression are the string parts which either meld timbres for chromatic motion, cascade horizontal sweeps to consolidate tones or pluck and pick the strings with such strength that they threaten to splinter.
Sweeping up and down the string set to confront bean-bag-like thumps or reed quivers is one thing, but the three-part “Dehiscence” suite is designed to break open the interface the way a pod bursts. Intermittent and low pitched, “Dehiscence, Pt. I” ascends from tongue flutters and warbles to connect with below-the-bridge string smacks that arch forward on conga-drum-like pats. With “Dehiscence, Pt. II” given over to theme variations from each player, the final multi-layered but understated “Dehiscence, Pt. III” makes room for solo turns which include dissected whines and cries from the tenor saxophonist, bell-and-triangle pings and crunches from the drummer and glissandi and pizzicato pops from the strings until this insect-scurrying-style of improvisations give way to silence.
Just as Anemochore is named for a plant whose seeds are distributed by winds, so too does the concept reflect activities on the nine selections which make up Extended For Strings & Piano. Lacking both reed and percussion as on the other disc, transitions are less obviously noted. But the performances are marked as much by aleatory sound distribution as dexterous textural extensions. With certain intermezzos designed to showcase particular techniques, some can be characterized in a single phrase such as dealing with the highest-pitched squeak (“Verba 1”) or a match of piano rumble and tripled strummed string (“Verba 3”). Even a slightly lengthier track like “Bagatelle 1” appears more concerned with capturing the intonation of exerting maximum pressure as if a grass rake is being pulled along the strings with such force that the rosin is stripped.
Notably other séances are more bellicose, but include narratives as well. For instance “Motus” becomes higher-pitched and speedier as it evolves, with stop-time multiphonics from the strings squirming on top as Zoubek’s keyboard pitter patters. As a spurt of sul ponticello scrubbing is heard, so to is the division among violin, viola, cello and double bass. Moving from zither-like below-the-bridge rasps and wood slapping the piece downshifts as the strings are heard in concert with vibrating items on the prepared piano strings. In the same way “Operandi” can be heard as a piano showcase. Soundboard echoes are included as keyboard accompaniment to sweeps col legno slaps from the string quartet. After Zoubek sounds a full-flavored chord he stretches out to stopped key and inner-piano clunks, connecting with tremolo string expansions.
Hearing what Studer and his associates can do to extend and distribute notes and tones with ensembles of conventional instruments in somewhat unconventional settings, confirm that future chapters of these musical programs will also be worth exploring. Ken Waxman (Jazzword)