Music Reviews

Artist: Hübsch, Martel, Zoubek (@)
Title: June 16th
Format: CD
Label: Schraum (@)
Rated: *****
A piano, tuba, and a viola walk into a bar.... Sounds like the beginning of a good joke, but in this case it is the beginning of an interesting collaboration. This trio features Philip Zoubek on piano, Carl Ludwig Hübsch on tuba (and objects), and Pierre-Yves Martel on Viola da gamba (and objects). As with most of the material I have reviewed for this label, I was unfamiliar with these artists, but Hübsch provides some insight into how he perceives his work: 'Through the use of avant-garde and self-invented performance techniques, the tuba acquires completely new characteristics as a brass instrument. An innovative array of unexpected sounds is heard, the instrument is seen from a fresh perspective, and the audience is confronted with a novel way of perceiving time.' So if you had never thought of tuba as a foundational element of experimental music, here is a chance to rethink what classifies as experimental because he pulls it off. 'Tap,' for example, has a lot of rapid-fire percussive elements as they seem to be tapping and pounding relentlessly throughout the piece. This is common in experimental classical, but I could swear that there was a flute in the mix. This is one of those albums where you wonder how they got those sounds out of those instruments. But this is also a showcase of musicians who know their instruments well and work well together, as seen in such tracks as 'Coin Rang. Clock Clacked' and 'Introibo Ad Altare Dei,' which are sparse improvised compositions that make effective use of dynamics and quite spaces. Sometimes it gets a bit too sparse and minimal, as seen in 'Rrrpr. Kraa. Kraandl.' Still, if you like stripped down experimental classical, this is one to pick up. This album weighs in at around 43 minutes.

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