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Matthias Müller / Eve Risser / Christian Marien: Formation < Deviation

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Matthias Müller / Eve Risser / Christian Marien: Formation < Deviation
Two German improvisers, trombonist Matthias Mueller and drummer Christian Marien, join forces with French pianist Eve Risser for a brace of intriguing collectives under the moniker Cranes. Müller and Marien have performed together since 2006 as Superimpose, often appearing with guests, including saxophonist John Butcher, trumpeter Nate Wooley and vocalist Sofia Jernberg on their 2021 release With (Inexhaustible Editions). Prior connections with Risser include Müller's participation in her large ensembles, like the Red Desert Orchestra, while Marien and Risser first played together at the Moers Festival in 2015.

Those strands cohere in this studio session from 2017, where they share an ethos which emphasizes texture and sound, largely avoiding the conventions of their instruments. Risser, as she does in the co-operative trio En Corps, transforms her piano into a sonic engine via a particularly personal take on the sort of piano preparations pioneered by John Cage. She manipulates dampened keys to achieve effects as varied as a frog like croak or a gamelan trill. Müller utilizes the full vocabulary of the contemporary trombone, switching from the brassy norm to didgeridoo-like drones, gusty exhalations and gurgling warbles. In that he's well matched by Marien's litany of scrapes, ratchets, taps and rattles.

The result can be like listening to a discussion in an alien language. While one can't be sure what they are saying, one can tell communication is taking place. Different voices assume prominence at different times, but always within an overall fabric minimalist in register in which the occasional repeated patterns or sudden interventions assume greater import when they arise. Each piece transcribes an arc. So "The Inevitability Of Truth And Mistake" moves from an exchange of rustles, metallic shimmers and wavering sustains to overlapping layers and heartbeat pulsations before swelling to a final crescendo.

Any number of ear-catching details inhabit the broad trajectories. An especially engaging passage in "Illusion Of Innocence" occurs when chuntering trombone plosives, Morse code piano strikes and tappy patter combine to generate a lurching momentum. It's just one example of the surprising soundworlds they create, testament to an extraordinary focus.

Track Listing

The Inevitability Of Truth And Mistake; Illusion Of Innocence.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Formation < Deviation | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Relative Pitch Records


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