Schlippenbach Quartet: Hunting the Snake
The music contained herein stretches the running time of the disc to its limits threatening to spill over the eighty-minute mark. Four long pieces make up the program and each one is loaded to the gills with furious and furibund interplay. On the opening “Glen Feshie” Schilippenbach’s lyrical chords flank Kowald’s keening arco streaks. Lovens overruns his kit with raucous clatter and chatter, though an underlying fragmentary pulse pervades even his most verbose stick work. After an initial extended shriek Parker drops out leaving the group convulsing heatedly in trio formation. Kowald saws off splintered harmonic shards in a solo interlude before Lovens and Schlippenbach, worrying his piano innards zither-style, rejoin him. Parker’s soprano descends soon after in a whinnying swirl of multiphonics before ascending heavenward in a harmonic arc trailed by bowed bass and cymbals.
Lovens opens “Moonbeef” with a cyclic metallic cranking over which Parker’s suspiring tenor takes hold. Kowald and Schlippenbach annex much of the remainder of space with elastic tears and chiming clusters. Racing across the keys on the title track Schlippenbach vertical wall of self-immolating clusters. Further on in the piece Parker’s serrated soprano sustains create an eerie counterpoint to the pianist’s more lyrical musings. Kowald’s worried bow dogs his strings creating an almost continuous spray of charged particle harmonics. Parker’s solo statement that dominates the second half of the track delivers a deliciously drawn out sample of his long-lauded circular breathing style. Whistling wind chimes and the songs of humpback whales are just some of the auditory images conjured by his extended techniques. So much is packed into each piece that despite the disc’s lengthy duration, temporal density dissipates swiftly. The rarity of this recording alone is enough to announce its value. Couple this with the wealth of improvisatory energy channeled consistently through the music and the disc is made indispensable.
Track Listing: Glen Feshie/ Moonbeef/ Hunting the Snake/ Wenn Wir Kehlkopfspieler Uns Unterhalten.
Personnel: Alexander von Schlippenbach- piano; Evan Parker- soprano & tenor saxophones; Peter Kowald- bass; Paul Lovens- selected drums & cymbals, singende s
Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide
Style: Modern Jazz