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The Swiss improvising trio has made its distinctive footprint for Switzerland-based Intakt Records, also featuring projects based on collaborations with notable musicians, spanning various genres. Here, fabled New York City improvising vocalist Shelley Hirsch imparts her flippant and wily vocal clarity, prowess and passion. Vastly experimental and skirting the perimeters of avant rock and tiny elements of chamber, the ensemble's unique instrumentation also lends well to the improvisational component, spiced with wild and sometimes zany electronics permutations. Essentially, abstract sounds appear, intersect, and disintegrate throughout the program.
If there ever was a piece that brought a nightmarish dream to light in vivid colors and horrific environs, it's "L. Russolo's Nightmare" that hits the mark. Here, drummer Fredy Studer launches a death-metal like backbeat amid Martin Schutz's steely and bizarre electric cello lines as Hirsch harmonizes atop the dissonant and foreboding frameworks. Designed with harrowing choruses, sparking ghostly apparitions in the background, the group executes a slow-moving and rather megalomaniacal outline, shaded by Hans Koch's droning sax parts. It's a daunting proposition via fractured and streaming electronics parked within a halls-of-doom vista, as Hirsch also instills imagery of engaging in paranormal activities or serving as a medium to the other side. Sure enough, it's a lucid nightmare exposed. As history dictates, the core trio is good at these things and other sojourns that are unbounded by logic. They wreak havoc on one's neural system, but in a good way.
Personnel: Shelley Hirsch: voice and lyrics; Hans Koch: reeds and electronics; Martin Schutz: 5-string electric cello, cello and electronics; Fredy Studer: drums and percussion
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.