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Gebhard Ullmann: Trad Corrosion

Budd Kopman By

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With nineteen tracks taking up but forty-eight minutes, the tracks that make up Trad Corrosion place a premium on subtlety, conciseness and low volume. Together with bandmates drummer Phil Haynes, who first appeared with Ullmann on Basement Research (Soul Note,1995) and long-time collaborator guitartist Andreas Willers, multi-instrumentalist Gebhard Ullmann has created a work that looks both forward and backward.

Since Ta Lam (99 Records, 1993), Ullmann had been concentrating on his own music, so playing Willers' compositions brings back the feel of his earlier duo work with Willers. However, the inclusion of Haynes changes the whole complexion of the music when he does play, and this music feels to be an extension of Playful '93 (1993, Nabel), a compilation of Ullmann/Willers duos.

The liners notes attempt to explain which tradition is being corroded and seems to bend over backwards to explain the shortness of the tracks, the possibility of shuffle playing the CD and links to the sixties singles. This does not really make sense since the tracks tend to run into each other, producing a forty-eight minute collage of wildly different sounds and musical textures. Playing the CD in shuffle mode might be interesting, but it would produce something that is decidedly different from what seems to be carefully laid out and ordered.

Of the Ullmann compositions, "D. Nee No" and "Oberschöneweide" have been recorded before and there are two more additions in the "Heaven" series (Nos. 2.5 and 2.6). "Gospel" makes its appearance for the first time, and its overt references to Black church music make it as easy to categorize as "D. Nee No."

The same can be said for Willers' "Princess," which mixes a sitar-guitar with delta-style blues rhythms and progressions. Haynes plays the straightest drums on the record, but Ullmann keeps pulling the tune to the outer limits of the blues. Haynes also plays straighter drums on the Willers' duo "Flying In A Nutshell."

The notes also make a big deal about the fact that Haynes' "Etude" is broken up into four parts and played (or at least named) out of order, but the same thing had already been done to "Reg Alien" on Moritat (99 Records, 1994).

The title "Trad Corrosion" could actually be referring to the mixing of simpler and hence more accessible tracks with those that are experimental, dealing with sound that is more explicit in rhythm and melody. Mixing the styles subverts both, in different directions, and keeps the listener off balance.

The low volume and short connected tracks brings intensity to Trad Corrosion that merits repeated listens.

Track Listing: Etude Part 3; D. Nee No; Windchime; Princess; Heaven No. 2.5; Wealthy Clients; Etude Part 1; Juliusstrasse 25; Gospel; Sit Sofort; Etude Part 2; Variationen

Personnel: Gebhard Ullmann: bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, bassocarina; Andreas Willers: guitars, sampler; Phil Haynes: percussion.

Title: Trad Corrosion | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Nabel

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