Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Artist: Jonas Kocher (@)
Title: Jonas Kocher Plays Christian Kesten and Stefan Thut
Format: CD
Label: Bruit (@)
Rated: *****
I grew up with my mom playing the accordion often, so I was interested to hear a new take on the instrument for experimental music beyond what I had heard from Miss Murgatroid. The disc opens up with Christian Kesten’s Untitled (Solo for Accordion), which is pretty minimalist. We don’t even hear anything until about 30 seconds in, and then it is mainly high-pitched tones. The skill is evident as Kocher manages to keep the pitches warbling over one another, but there is not much to this track. This seems more an exploration of the accordion; as Kocher explains in the liner notes, “In the highest register of the right hand, the last few buttons don’t play the expected tones. The pitches are simply too high. The necessary reeds would be too small and fragile to produce them. These buttons transpose the tones an octave down. The buttons in the neighbouring octave do play the expected tones. One might assume that the two octave registers would actually play the same pitches. But as they play them on different reeds, there is a slight microtonal difference.” This is pretty interesting as a concept, but for me it just didn’t translate over to an engaging listening experience. That said, if you like it really minimalist, this might be up your alley. Next up, we have Stefan Thut’s eine/r 1-6. This one starts off with some low bass and some field recording that actually made me stop and go back to see if it was coming from outside or if it was part of the track. Muffled voices and someone pounding on a door then gives way to low bass drone, then silence interspersed with field recordings. This is also pretty minimal, sparsely alternating between high and low pitched drones, but in a different, more interesting way. The use of silence brings you in and makes the drone that much more engaging. Overall, this is a mixed bag for me. “eine/r 1-6” was great, and it is interesting to hear someone really push the limits of their instrument. If you are a fan of the accordion, this is one to check out. This album weighs in at around 55 minutes.


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