Lull: The Zipper (2010)
Excitement, expert musicianship and vigor are fused into an adventurous program via these four European instrumentalists, who reunite after life's circumstances separated them approximately four years ago. In practical terms, the group moniker might serve as the antithesis of what the quartet has to offer. Indeed, they are not aiming to lull anyone into some form of cosmic bliss.
The quartet sows the seeds for avant chamber jazz and semi-structured song forms to complement their bustling improv attack. However, one of their key ingredients is rooted within an ability to use space as a vantage point. Saxophonist Tanja Feichtmair's popping and emotive lines help set the stage for boisterous free-bop passages and the throttling of pulses and momentum. Lull lowers the heat, yet frequently engages in slippery and winding dialogues, where the ensemble often parlays a multidirectional approach, in concert with inward-looking interludes.
Cellist Uli Winter's staccato phrasings and angular contrasts often instill notions of suspense, amid keyboardist Josef Novotny's soaring and textural implementations. On "The Zipper," Feichtmair's bass clarinet work intimates a stewing thematic buildup, nicely tinted by drummer Fredi Proll's deft brushes and Winter's fluid lower register. They finalize the program with "Longing For Poetry," featuring the saxophonist's cyclical, one-note phrasings and Novotny's subliminal effects. Here, the unit exercises a low-key rumble etched by Winter's creaky patterns, as the band subsequently accelerates the pace, creating lucid imagery throughout. It's experimental music that touches the heart and gushes with affecting sentiment; these attributes alone speak monumental volumes.
Track Listing: The Latchkey; Stide The Stroke; Subversive Activities; The Zipper; The Tittle-Tattie; Longing For Poetry.
Personnel: Tanja Feichtmair: alto sax, bass clarinet; Josef Novotny: piano, electric piano; Uli Winter: cello; Fredi Proll: drums.