5

Axel Dörner/Franz Hautzinger/Mazen Kerbaj/Carl Ludwig Hübsch: Ariha Brass Quartet

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
The visual component of music has seemingly always been given short shrift by critics, and for that matter, listeners too. Except for the rare instances where a person is born with an acute synesthesia, or the ability to see musical notes as colors or shapes, perception of sound is limited to emotion and the sensation of movement i.e. dance music. Improvised music, especially minimalist improvisation practiced by the Ariha Brass Quartet maybe the best avenue for a listener to develop their own form of synesthesia.

The practitioners here, three trumpeters, Axel Dörner, Franz Hautzinger, Franz Hautzinger, and Carl Ludwig Hübsch hoisting a tuba, practice a unique approach to their instruments. Dörner's horn has been featured in the modern jazz ensembles of Alexander von Schlippenbach, Ken Vandermark, and Sven Ake Johansson, and the post-bebop revival bands Peeping Tom and Die Enttäuschung. Similarly, Hautzinger's work in the Max Nagl Ensemble and Hübsch in Michiel Braam's Hybrid 10tet may not prepare you for this otherworldly experience. All four musicians set aside a traditional approach to playing, substituting breathe for notes, abandoning a mouthpiece, and applying amplification to microscopic sounds.

The quartet recorded this session in Beirut 2013, after a week's residency and performances. The four like-mind players open the disc with "Mar Mikhael in The Afternoon," the longest improvisation at 16-plus minutes. The fluttering of notes is accompanied by the snorting of unseen wild beasts and the coyote howls of brass. Their language, developed in the past 20 years or so, is a direct descendant from the European (as opposed to the American) systems and improvisers such as Derek Bailey, Eddie Prevost's AMM, and Paul Rutherford.

Stripped of the conventions of noted music, the growls and micro-notes would not be out of place in sci-fi cinema as the backdrop to the silence of an orbiting space station. The squiggles and on/off switches of sounds inhabit the ghosts in the machines of the imagination, but also the rumble and hum of the earth's inner core. "Hamra Drinks" buzzes with the low (really low) bass reverberation and the looping notes of trumpet that take on an organic biologic shape. Each piece conjures a response be it a visual, an emotional, a fragrance, a flavor, or something tactile. Ahira Brass Quartet opens the listening experience to all five senses.

Track Listing: Mar Mikhael in The Afternoon; Gemmayzeh Drinks; Armenian Coffee; Hamra Drinks; The Last Supper in Sin el Fil.

Personnel: Axel Dörner: trumpet; Franz Hautzinger: trumpet; Mazen Kerbaj: trumpet; Carl Ludwig Hübsch: tuba.

Title: Ariha Brass Quartet | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Al Maslakh Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Shifting Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Borders
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "The Journey" CD/LP/Track Review The Journey
by James Nadal
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Towards Language" CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Songs Without Words" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Without Words
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Speechless" CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.