140

Achim Kaufmann: Knives

By

Sign in to view read count
Achim Kaufmann: Knives Amsterdam-based pianist Achim Kaufmann combines the fluidity of modern jazz with the extended techniques of avant-garde concert music on his latest solo album, Knives. Many of the works feature Kaufmann playing inside the piano. Besides plucking strings, he attacks the instrument's interior with a number of devices: rulers, a small hand sander, a piano tuner's wedge, and a vibraphone mallet. As can be imagined, this elicits a host of tone colors and textures, ranging from percussive to sustained, at points even including vibrato and keening overtones. "Her Hair a Dark River..." is a particularly evocative piece employing these materials. As might be expected (given its title), it's filled with tons of haunting sound effects.



Listeners who greet these types of post-Cage experiments with antipathy may be skeptical of Kaufmann's pianism, but give a listen to the workout that he gives to Herbie Nichols' "2300 Skiddoo"; you'll hear plenty of swing and a Monk-like fascination with piquant harmonies that brand his approach to the instrument as abundantly informed by jazz. Like Georg Graewe, Fred Van Hove, and John Wolf Brennan, Kaufmann is a musician who combines many disparate styles into a postmodern concoction, unrepentant in its eclecticism but impressive in its musicality.



Many of the pieces here, such as "The Last Vestiges," "Space Usually Given Over to Knives," and "Landscape Faux-naif," are brief improvisations, character pieces that present a particular textural environment (trills, cascading runs, an undulating bass ostinato, etc.) and then depart, sometimes almost before its totality has been aurally assimilated. More developed and particularly impressive is "Marche B2," which juxtaposes a post bop right hand with scampering sepulchral bass runs. Even this simply fades away without true resolution, but it is a wild ride while it lasts. Next time out, it would be interesting to hear Kaufmann create larger structures in his idiosyncratic musical language, as its rich components could certainly thrive in more expansive compositions. That said, Knives is an excellent sampling of a diverse array of sonic adventures and post-tonal bagatelles.


Track Listing: 1- The Last Vestiges, 2- A Dreg of Red, 3- Your Smile a Stone, Shattering My Breath, 4- Dips and Proclivities, 5- More Than a Simple Shoreline, 6- Landscape Faux-naif, 7- Sheets Surfacing Like an Ocean, 8- Space Usually Given Over to Knives, 9-Her Hair a Dark River, 10- No Trace of Food, or Grief, 11- Four Small Rooms, 12- Marche B2,13- 2300 Skiddoo, 14- Heavy Lace, 15- Of Water Plants and Figurines, 16- Sand Melody, 17- Windows Composing Trees, 18- Beyond Which the Blue Trembles.

Personnel: Personnel: Achim Kaufmann, piano

Title: Knives | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Leo Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Dare to Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare to Be
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Stereotomic" CD/LP/Track Review Stereotomic
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Clockwise / The Music of Cedar Walton" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwise / The Music of Cedar Walton
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Esse" CD/LP/Track Review Esse
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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