186

Achim Kaufmann: Knives

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Achim Kaufmann's first solo piano disc is a study in atonal expressionism and sonic adventurism, draped in dark mysteries. Recorded mainly at the Bimhuis in the pianist's home city of Amsterdam, Knives consists of eighteen fairly short pieces that showcase Kaufmann's technical excellence, his aptitude for instant orchestration, his imaginative use of "mixed techniques" (ie. prepared piano), and his firm yet idiosyncratic grasp of jazz piano tradition.



One cannot but admire the discipline of his left-hand bass lines on "A Dreg of Red" and "Marche B2," or his elliptical use of tonality on "More Than a Simple Shoreline" and the closing thirty seconds of "Sheets Surfacing Like an Ocean." Only six of the pieces entail mixed techniques, but their aural and emotive range is broad—from the muted percussivism of "Dips and Proclivities" to the whooshing and scraping of "Heavy Lace," the Zen-like calm of "Space Usually Given Over to Knives," and the pinging, Eastern-tinged high notes of "Sand Melody." In his liner notes, Greg Buium lists some of Kaufmann's tools: a plastic ruler, fingers, a sander, and a piano-tuning wedge, among other things.

There is a rich contrast and a good deal of overlap between Kaufmann's abstract sound art and his more "traditional" pieces. One hears it in the jump from "Her Hair a Dark River," with its crescendoing knocks and groans, to the stately yet obscure harmonies of "No Trace of Food, or Grief" and "Four Small Rooms." But the most striking departure is a seven-minute reading of "2300 Skidoo" by Herbie Nichols. Beginning with staccato jabs and harsh clusters, Kaufmann eases into the swinging melody gradually, using tempo as one dramatic device among many. His right-hand tremolos and neo-stride reference points make clear that this "out" player can access "in" at any moment.


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 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 No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Reflections in Cosmo" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections in Cosmo
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Jorg Schippa's Kiosk" CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "All Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review All Smiles
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "The Chase" CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Live Recitation" CD/LP/Track Review Live Recitation
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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