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Christian Weber: 3 Suits & A Violin (2007)

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Christian Weber: 3 Suits & A Violin How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In his accompanying notes for 3 Suits & A Violin, Dean M. Roberts quite rightly refers to the fact that this music eschews formulaic approaches. It's equally true to say that another of its key elements is the sublimation of individual instrumental identity. For example Hans Koch's saxophones are at one and the same time not only conspicuous in the absence of their conventional sounds, but also arguably intrinsic to the realisation of Weber's ideas.

This all makes for music which periodically seems to just hang in the air, and while there's nothing inherently wrong in this, in lacking, say, the sense of unease that pervades much of Morton Feldman's dissimilarly static work, the command it has of the listener's attention may be minimal in itself. Any break of continuity between the end of "Pony Music" and the beginning of "Sun Perspectives," for example, is negligible, and such continuity seems for some indefinable reason to detract from the music as a listening experience. By the same token, that sublimation of instrumental identity also ensures that this music lacks the highly piano-oriented quality of something like Feldman's "For Bunita Marcus."

None of this is true of the entire programme, however. "Frogmouth" serves notice of the fact that there's a group playing this music together. Martin Siewart's guitar work is acutely alert to the sound world he's adopted here, and certain unassuming swathes of sound happily evoke the German band Ash Ra Tempel on both sides of their Join Inn [sic] album from thirty-odd years ago. It's by far the lengthiest of the pieces here, but it seems almost as if length is the key to the development of ideas, even in a musical environment in which the importance of improvisation is far from paramount.

That sense of drift referred to above is also subverted on "Camping Light Night," where the very detail of the music, the making of the smallest sounds, seems to draw the listener in, not least because the net effect is one of ideas put out which remain tantalisingly unresolved.

Track Listing: Pony Music; Sun Perspectives; Buzz Aldrin; Camping Night Light; Frogmouth; Lone Star.

Personnel: Christian Weber: bass; Hans Koch: bass clarinet, saxes, electronics; Michael Moser: cello; Martin Siewert: guitar, lap steel, electronics; Christian Wolfarth: drums.

Record Label: Hatology

Style: Beyond Jazz


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