spontan in granit cs557









Bauer studied double bass at the Hochschule für Musik in East Berlin in the former German Democratic Republic. Over the years he worked - as a composer as well as a musician - with many ensembles playing contemporary classical music as wells as improvisation. Both Lyon and Cologne were his home base for a while. Since 1991 he is based again in Berlin, where he worked with David Moss, Chris Cutler, among others. He performed solo works specially composed for him by Georg Katzer, an important composer in the former GDR. He is the brother of Conrad and Johannes Bauer who both were very active in the west in the 80s and 90s. Anyway, nowadays Mathias Bauer works with Berlin-based ensembles like Unitedberlin, Asian Art and Junge Music. With Maria Lucchese (theremin, zither, voice, gongs) he is one half of the duo Alchimia Organica. For 'Spontan in Granit' however he decided to make a solo statement. In 18 short improvisations, he gives way to a diversity of improvised excursions ranging from dynamic to very intimate. He explores different techniques and ideas consequently condensed in a 1 to 3 minutes time span and they are solid miniatures of very expressive and vivid music from an inspired musician. Dietrich Petzold, like Bauer a composer and musician of the German Democratic Republic, recorded the sessions in March 2018. Dolf Mulder (Vital Weekly)


Der Kontrabass, dieser große Gegenstand, eröffnet, gezupft, gestrichen oder auch einmal andersartig ordentlich durchgeknetet, ein weites Feld für Klangerzeugung konventioneller oder unkonventionellerer Art – gerade aber auch jenseits gleichschwebender Temperatur. Matthias Bauer macht auf Spontan in Granit in 18 Solo-Vignetten davon ausführlich Gebrauch, dabei weitgehend in unkonventionelleren Bereichen verweilend. Er bedient sich eines gehörigen spieltechnischen Arsenals, um, einmal heftiger in der Attacke, dann wieder zurückhaltender, eine stets abwechslungsreiche Reise in tieftönende Landschaften zu präsentieren. 18 Mal Kontrabass-Free solo – sowas kann schnell einmal eintönig werden, wird es aber nicht in diesem Fall, ganz im Gegenteil, was Bauers Expertise am Instrument und seiner musikalischen Sensibilität sowie seinem Erfindungsreichtum zu verdanken ist. Interessantes von ganz unten.
bertl (Freistil)


Figuratively putting another string in his bow, Matthias Bauer limits himself to the balanced upright accessory plus the four strings of his double bass during these 18 brief intermezzos demonstrating bull fiddle virtuosity without bravado. The veteran Berlin-based improviser, who has over the years partnered with innovative players such as saxophonist Floros Floridis, drummer Baby Sommer and trumpeter Bill Dixon, among many others, easily confirms that he’s cunning and crafty enough to easily go it alone.
Exhibiting equal Arco and pizzicato facility, Bauer doesn’t limit himself to either style on selected tracks. In fact, a piece like “spontan in granit 16” is so open that the triple-stopping tremolo phrasing develops a third line that creates a stirring ostinato unrolling as the repeated patterns from other strings move chromatically. Furthermore as his plucks are magisterial from the first selection, it’s no surprise that a track such as “spontan in granit 5” can consist of moderated slaps and resounds that outline a crunching narrative which doubles in speed by the climax. Similarly his finger finesse encompasses relaxed guitar-like plucks on other pieces like “spontan in granit 9”, where the exposition pulsates to wider, knife-sharp stabs and then settles as a restrained finale.
Bow work isn’t neglected either as on “spontan in granit 18” and “spontan in granit 14”. On the first he alternates husky sweeps and multi-string strums, ending with a foray up and down the tightly wound strings to create a staccato, but not timbre-upsetting climax. This string scratching is used on “spontan in granit 14” in combination with sul tasto swipes which swiftly move from bridge to fingerboard and back again. Taking the narrative steadily downwards, by the end contrast between sul ponticello scrapes and individual plucks relaxes into restrained bounces.
With the greatest emphasis on story-telling as he advances the sounds, each of the brief tracks is like a chapter in a book or one in a collection of short stories. Like the latter as well, gratification from this program lies in hearing how masterfully Bauer constructs each episode. Ken Waxman (JazzWord)