Their calling card should read something like; “avant-garde - - will travel” which is a spin on the old American Western TV series, “Palladin”. The trio of Hans Koch (woodwinds, EFX), Martin Schutz (cello, EFX) and Fredy Studer (drums) recorded Cuban musicians and overlaid arrangements on the 1999 release, Fidel
and turned in something similar after venturing to Egypt with the 1997 recording Heavy Cairo Traffic
. Yet here, on Roots and Wires
these seasoned warriors pursue some sort of hallucinatory, sounds-of-urban-chaos scenario as they collaborate with two turntable artists, DJ M. Singe and DJ I-Sound.
On the first track, “The Background Is the Foreground Then Delirium”, the musicians get off to a funk induced start as the sounds of scratchy turntables, squeaks and cartoon-like themes inch their way into this modern jazz trio’s expansive format. Here, Fredy Studer establishes the brisk pace with his cyclic rhythms yet the band shifts gears via heated interplay and an increasingly climactic groove as they perhaps – emulate the sounds of a busy metropolis in the midst of a sweltering hot, summer’s day. - - Pounding rhythms, Schutz’ searing electric cello, out of control gizmos and periods of dissonance hit you hard from all conceivable angles. The piece titled, “Thai Speed Parade” commences with the group’s steamy lines, dense rhythms, ethnic sounds, turntables and constant beats as the overall vibe and tempo is often pleasingly maniacal. With “Dread Bread”, the band pursues some sort of alien trip-hop motif thanks to Koch’s steely edged performances on bass clarinet, multifarious crosscurrents, layered yet at times subtle EFX, hard rock backbeats, voices and free-jazz interplay. A sonic assault in the classic sense, yet these compositions represent a bit more than just loose grooves as they even rekindle thoughts of prog-gods King Crimson on the piece, “Notasusstieg” where we find Schutz and Studer laying down a throbbing yet ominous pulse!
Simply put, Roots and Wires is a gas! Sure, it resides within the – outside – yet who said modern jazz or – new music – can’t be fun. With that, we eagerly anticipate this band’s next journey. Highly recommended.
* * * * ½ (out of * * * * *)
Hans Koch; bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and tenor saxophones, electronics and sequencer: Martin Schutz; electric 5 string cello, acoustic cello, electronics and sequencer: Fredy Studer; drums and percussion: DJ M. Singe; turntables: DJ I-Sound; turntables.