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Christian Windfeld/Julius Schwing: Rhubarb

Karl Ackermann By

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Bruny Island sits off the coast of the Australian state of Tasmania—the adopted home of guitarist Julius Schwing. With its iconic lighthouse, large populations of endangered bird species and spacious, uninhabited regions, Schwing, upon his first visit, found it an inspiration. Originally inhabited only by Aborigines, it is home to wallabies and penguins and provides an aural array of natural properties that the guitarist and drummer Christian Windfeld incorporate on Rhubarb.

Schwing was born in Vienna, Austria and began performing on guitar at the age of thirteen. He has toured in Australia, Europe, India, New Zealand, Canada and the US, and worked mostly with regional talent. His most notable association is with Australian jazz bassist Nick Haywood. Danish composer/percussionist Christian Windfeld has toured throughout Europe, North America, and Australia and lived in Stockholm, New York, and Berlin. He has released two solo albums under the alias FØRSTEPERSONENTAL (FIRSTPERSONSINGULAR) and often focuses solely on the snare drum, as he does on Rhubarb.

This duo debut—despite the jazz backgrounds in play—is highly experimental. The sonic effects are the product of a Zoom recorder capable of altering the sound beyond recognition. Rhubarb consists of two extended tracks averaging twenty minutes in length. On "Baag 1" Schwing begins with some simple notes that become increasingly distorted as Windfeld supplies subdued clatter with the snare and other paraphernalia. About five minutes in, Windfeld initiates a turn by way of a drum solo, and from there on the piece is all extended technique. "Baag 2" takes the directionally opposite approach, finding musical fragments only about half way in but quickly abandoning them for more sonic investigations.

Schwing is to guitar technique what Natsuki Tamura is to the trumpet. His instrument is mostly taken out of its natural state and played in a traditional voice just often enough to provide a reminder. Windfeld's "objects" accompanying the snare appear to follow a general percussion functionality though the special effects mask his contributions as well. The music is at times dense, at others minimal, stripped down to the bare essentials but always with momentum. For traditionalists, Rhubarb will predominantly sound like noise but in its context, it is interesting and certainly different.

Track Listing: Baag 1; Baag 2.

Personnel: Christian Windfeld: snare drum, objects; Julius Schwing: guitar.

Title: Rhubarb | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Isthmus Music

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