The funny thing about DNA is that just when scientists believe it to be the identifiable signature of all living things, along comes CRISPR gene editing. This technology allows an operator to edit the basic genetic material of an organism, much like the music of Oliver Schwerdt's EUPHORIUM_freakestra. We're not talking science fiction here, more like a Miles Davis chameleon-like approach to music. Schwerdt heads an almost constantly changing crew of musicians that blend a bitches brew kind of sound. The EUPHORIUM_freakestra numbers range from a duo, the simple freakestra, to a dozen musicians, and here twenty-one contributors. This release soundz offfe drzk wähuh is the ensemble's ninth on Euphorium Records, if you count the video Euphorium Live Scenes 2006 (2007) and it follows the gargantuan 3-disc Grande Casino (2018).
While later efforts by the ensemble included guests such as Barry Guy, Günter 'Baby' Sommer, Axel Dorner, Bertrand Denzler, Thomas Lehn, Rudi Mahall, Urs Leimgruber, and Friedrich Schenker, this recording from 2001 was made up of Schwerdt's local collaborators. The place where the music begins, you are guaranteed, is not where it will end. Opening, chamber-like with a single horn, then two and some electric piano, the music expands into spacey Davis-like territory before transitioning into a guitar jam. By the end of the second disc we have heard a German take on early Red Hot Chili Peppers funk/rock chants. How do we get there? Through mutation, baby, mutation.
In between there are field recordings, spoken word (German) sequences à la Alessandro Bosetti music, John Zorn-like Cobra passages, a swinging saxophone/drum duo, some speed funk, bits and pieces of Star Wars debris, sounds resembling Squarepusher's Music Is Rotted One Note (Warp, 1998), a Jimi Hendrix guitar meal, a radio dial spin, some random tones and bits of noise. The music is at times disjointed, yet the whole is intriguing with the lengthier tracks more developed and complete. Wherever the EUPHORIUM_freakestra is going, it is great to be along for the ride.
Philipp von Trott: trumpet; Gilbert Eiche: tenor saxophone; Rainer Bühl: bassoon; Hartmut Dorschner: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Friedrich Kettlitz: electric guitar, voice; Sebastian Baller: electric guitar, voice; Rudi Feuerbach: electric guitar; Thomas Walter: electric guitar; Gero Kuntermann: electric guitar; Birg Borgenthal: electric piano, electric organ; Kirkling Botschas: voice; Hans-Hermann Schwerdt: electric piano, electric organ; Oliver Schwerdt: samples, electronics, violin, voice; Peter Lorenz: samples, electronics; Albrecht Buchmann: saxonian voice; Martin Hoffmann: thuringian voice; Sebastian Waack: electric bass; Gudrun Pappelteich: voice; Uwe Schneider: drums, cymbals; Jens Schneider: drums, cymbals; Hermann Grüneberg: drums, cymbals.
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