297

John Eckhardt: Xylobiont

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
John Eckhardt: Xylobiont John Eckhardt's solo improvised double-bass disc, Xylobiont, is the second solo bass release on Evan Parker's Psi label, and it is as outstanding and illuminating as Adam Linson's Cut and Continuum (2006).



The Hamburg-based Eckhardt received classical training and performs regularly with renowned European 20th century, contemporary, and chamber ensembles including Klangforum Vienna, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin and Ensemble Integrales. He has recorded compositions by the mystical Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, as well as Iannis Xenakis' seminal "Therpas" for solo double-bass. He has performed Elliot Carter's "Figment III" for solo double-bass in Europe and is gifted with the excellent technique and sensibility required by the music of composers Morton Feldman and Györgi Ligeti.



Eckhardt considers himself a jazz musician, with a goal to create personal and authentic sounds from his era and culture, and to declare his interest in bass-heavy styles of club music and traditional African music. His resume notes collaborations with other remarkable improvisers such as Peter Kowald and Elliot Sharp.



The title, Xylobiont —loosely defined as "organism of wood" or "wood-dwelling organism"—suggests Eckhardt's method of improvisation. The natural, dynamic sounds of live improvisation emanating from what sounds like a live, otherworldly and timbral organism. Eckhardt's sense of invention and extended techniques are channeled into exploring the polyphonic potential of the double-bass, often by focusing obsessively with restricted areas of the instrument.

All eight unprocessed improvisations have their own nuanced identity, sometimes by implying the Giacinto Scelsi compositional method and searching for harmonic movement within a single sustained, almost microscopic sculpted sound, as heard on "back" and the more hypnotizing "bruson" and "filum." On other pieces he searches for the unique inner polyphonic timbres that emerge while touching the strings on both sides of the bridge ("mbhere") or just using the wooden part of the bow as a percussive toy ("noo bag"). The only improvisation that comes close to the familiar language of double-bassists is "TTzz," which offers an energetic extrapolation of pizzicato technique.



Throughout these fascinating improvisations Eckhardt demonstrates his deep creativity, based on serene observation and acceptance of the most obscure sounds that might emerge from his instrument. These sounds stimulate open and intuitive responses, all are valid and possible. Eckhardt's consciousness is emptied from any superficial distinctions at the actual moment of playing, resulting in joyful exuberance and an organic flow as his musical language takes over.

Eckhardt's masterful and mesmerizing performances create a sense of total immersion in this deep-toned trip.


Track Listing: back; mbhere; bruson; noo bag; filum; TTzz; tenh; mob.

Personnel: John Eckhardt: double-bass.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Psi | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Parachute" CD/LP/Track Review Parachute
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Miles Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Smiles
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "I Long To See You" CD/LP/Track Review I Long To See You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "The Declaration of Musical Independence" CD/LP/Track Review The Declaration of Musical Independence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Music From Max Fleischer Cartoons" CD/LP/Track Review Music From Max Fleischer Cartoons
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 14, 2016
Read "Spacebound Apes" CD/LP/Track Review Spacebound Apes
by Phil Barnes
Published: September 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!