Monday, June 1, 2020
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Artist: Urs Leimgruber | Alex Huber
Title: Lightnings
Format: CD
Label: Wide Ear Records (@)
Rated: *****
We already introduced some interesting outputs by Swiss label Wide Ear and this one where one of label co-founder, the brilliant drummer Alex Huber, pairing with saxophonist Urs Leimgruber, one of the most appreciated improvisers in Europe, - it was lying almost entirely buried by messy columns of CDs and paper, I'm typically surrounded by -, should be considered as a gemstone for lovers of the genre. The choice of the awarded pattern that Austrian art designer Peter Kogler made for an internal space of Kunsthaus Zug as the cover artwork refers to the place where these sessions got recorded on March 7th, 2014, but it could also mirror the unusual approach of this duo to sound. They seem to have followed the deformed web of those painted walls by ensnaring and trapping the so-called jazz standards in the cells of a grid, where saxophone jazz harmonies and its phrasing by Urs become somehow homogenous when the fantastic drumming by Alex starts hitting (getting close to breakbeat in the convulsive tails of tracks like "Swift" and "Resistant") without any real interruptions. The way the two instruments interact is close to mimicry, as you'll quickly notice while listening to the four sessions, as whenever tones and beating fade in or fade out, there's a perpetual mutual mirroring, but the strategy by which they turned the intensity of the sonic stream through bizarre timbre and tone morphing up is the really catchy element of the whole release.