By Ken Waxman
Part of the accelerating interchange between experimental musicians from Europe and the United States, multi-reedman Wolfgang Fuchs of Berlin has become a regular transatlantic commuter. Known for his leadership of the King Ãœbü Orchestrü and the all-reed Holz Für Europa group, Fuchs heads even further out on Six Fuchs. That's a geographic referencefor the CD was recorded in California's Bay Area during a productive visit by Fuchs in 2003.
On Six Fuchs, the bass clarinetist and sopranino saxophonist is the only European present. His Yank buddies are Gino Robair (percussion); Tim Perkis (manipulating electronics); Tom Djll (trumpet and pocket cornet); John Shiurba (guitar); and Matthew Sperry (bass). Sadly, Sperry was killed in a bicycle accident shortly after this recording was made. The electro-acoustic string-reed-electronics interface on this recording is expanded with Robair's energized surfaces and Djll's brassy oral additions.
Limited to six tracks, the sextet has up to eighteen minutes in which to expand every available nuance. "Buttery Consort" unrolls at that length, mixing the rough with the tender. Quivering reverb, which sounds as if a dull knife blade is pressing against the strings, joins with horn tones which suggest both men are trying to blow through metal sheets held in front of their bells. On the other hand, Fuchs' temperate, chalumeau breaths and Sperry's legato stops are made uneven by the application of shrill, rasping loops from the electronics and bubbling slurs from the pocket cornet.
Six Fuchs offers a sound picture of recent Bay Area improvisation and suggests that Fuchs should continue traveling and collaborating.
Personnel: Tom Djll: trumpet, pocket cornet, balloon, hog caller; Wolfgang Fuchs: bass clarinet,
sopranino saxophone; John Shiurba: guitar; Matthew Sperry: bass; Gino Robair: energized
surfaces; Tim Perkis: electronics.