Olaf Rupp / Marino Pliakas / Michael Wertmuller: Too Much Is Not Enough (2009)
This guitar, bass and drums trio has clearly moved beyond the power trip that such a line-up might imply. In doing so they have entered what, on the basis of this release, is a kind of nihilistic phase in which the power stems from collective endeavor, as opposed to any conventionally virtuosic approach.
This isn't necessarily a good thing, especially when much of the resulting music's impact is subcutaneous. An insidious sound lies beneath the skin of "Stoppare," even while the level of interplay is obviously very acute. Here, at least, the trio is engaged in something other than the headlong flight that's emblematic of "Adito 1," where skittering drums and overdriven guitar are the order of the day in a way that echoes Derek Bailey in the company of the Japanese bass-drums duo Ruins, albeit without the late guitarist's unquestionably singular way. Here the music's nihilistic too, and not in a constructive way.
That said, the trio is capable of finesse and they prove it on the title track, the rewards of which are arguably greater because that much more effort is demanded. Rupp's fondness for the overdriven approach is again in evidence, and when he brings it to bear he sounds like a musician still striving to find a voice. That said, in the rupturing of conventional time and hyperactivity the steely heart of a coherent group identity is revealed which, while it might not be unique, does at least display an impatience with established methodologies.
This can however be a little wearing, particularly in music so lacking in light and shade. Indeed, on "Typ. RPW," a kind of odd minimalism seems to blossom forth in the midst of all the hyperactivity. That nihilism's here again too, although Wertmuller's awareness of dynamics serves as counter-balance, especially as the music ends abruptly enough to offer an intimation of how well integrated the trio is.
Ominous forebodings are however often the only thing on offer, as per "Boller Ballade I," where undercurrent is the only thing on display. It is, however, plain from thisand perhaps oddlythat this is a group with a marked aversion to playing the same thing the same way twice, and whilst that isn't necessarily a mark of creativity it does suggest a collective of admirably insatiable curiosity.
Track Listing: Adito I; Stare Da Dio; Boller Ballade I; Quasi Stellar; Stoppare II; Tristan Try; Speed Swing; Typ. RPW; Oberton Speed; Stoppare; Prasseln; Too Much Is Not Enough.
Personnel: Olaf Rupp: guitar; Marino Pliakas: bass; Michael Wertmuller: drums.