All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Charlotte Hug: Slipway to Galaxies

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
On parts of her last Emanem release, Fine Extensions (2010)—a duo with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm—in addition to playing her customary viola Charlotte Hug also used her voice. She sang in a quasi-operatic style as well as vocalizing, to produce eerie, other-worldly sounds, her voice combining with and complementing the strings to good effect. Now, on Slipway to Galaxies, Hug uses her voice for the first time on a solo recording.

Recorded at the studio of Swiss radio DRS, in Zurich, in July 2010, Slipway to Galaxies uses no overdubbing or electronic modification. That is vital information as, at times, the resulting music can sound very different to one viola plus one voice. Hug's viola playing has always displayed great variety and invention, so it is no surprise that her voice is a flexible and versatile an instrument, capable of producing a range of sounds from prolonged high frequency squealing tones through to surprisingly low frequency guttural utterances reminiscent of Sainkho Namchylak at her more demonic.

That vocal range enables Hug to mirror her viola playing with her voice so that the two can become intertwined and indistinguishable So, the prolonged opening track, "Anderwelten," begins with a high-pitched viola glissando that is joined by a similarly pitched vocal tone, before the two separate as the voice plunges down almost to a growl. It establishes a pattern for the album, as Hug, just as often, opts for contrasting viola and voice as having them occupy similar territory. Tellingly, it is not always the voila that leads, with the voice playing a subsidiary role; "Intersect" begins as a predominantly vocal piece with atmospheric half-whispered, barely audible vocalising which emphasizes its sounds, not the verbal content. Viola is gradually introduced to complement the voice, creating an engaging soundscape. As the piece progresses, Hug's vocals become increasingly playful, introducing appealing whoops and whinnying effects.

As with any improvising duo, the strength of the music lies in the differing positions that the two strands take up relative to each other and the ways in which they react and adapt to each other. So it proves here—with the important proviso that this duo was produced in real time by just one person controlled by just one brain. While listening, it can be easy to forget this salient fact and to believe two separate musicians are at work.

The album climaxes with its longest piece, the tour-de-force title track. It displays the same strengths heard throughout, with Hug employing her full range of techniques on both instruments and blending them together into a coherent and satisfying whole. Magnificent!

Track Listing: Anderwelten; Buzz & fly; Intersect; Holy ground; Exhilaration; Atman; Cyclic; Slipway to Galaxies.

Personnel: Charlotte Hug: viola, voice..

Title: Slipway To Galaxies | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Emanem


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Unfamiliar Surroundings" CD/LP/Track Review Unfamiliar Surroundings
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Mellophonium Memoirs" CD/LP/Track Review Mellophonium Memoirs
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "For the Love of You" CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Triple Double" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 14, 2017