There aren’t many strings musicians who can survive the brutal storms of German reeds titan Peter Brötzmann. American cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm can. Their collaboration began in Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentel (that yielded many other small collaborative projects of Brötzmann). Brötzmann and Lonberg-Holm recorded their first duo album, «The Brain of the Dog in Section» in 2007 (Atavistic, 2008), continued to collaborate in the ADA trio, with Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, that released three live albums. Now the Astral Spirits label offers another live duo of Brötzmann and Lonberg-Holm, captured at the Loft Köln on January 2011, during a short European tour, and released as a limited edition of 300 vinyls plus Bandcamp download option, obviously, with Brötzmann art.
«Ouroboros» sounds powerful, focused and fresh. Lonberg-Holm uses pedals and electronics in order to expand the sonic range of his cello that often sounds as a loud and mean, distorted electric guitar. He opens the performance with a wild, intense solo that triggers Brötzmann confrontational, aggressive attack. But this dynamics changes quickly, already on the second piece, «The Figure Eight», when Brötzmann picks the rarely played by him bass clarinet. This extended improvisation begins as a lyrical, chamber jazz texture, but Brötzmann’s tortured shouts and howls turn the peaceful, emphatic interplay upside down and to add a sense of brutal urgency. The second side continues this intense vein with another extended improvisation, «The Spiral» that alternates its dense and volatile interplay with sudden bursts of emotional, melodic ideas that are introduced after a breath-taking solo of Lonberg-Holm. This short, 41-minutes long set is concluded with «The Fusion of Opposites». An apt title for this short piece. Brötzmann plays a kind of thorny, angry ballad on the tenor sax while Lonberg-Holm suggest peaceful and compassionate chamber mode.
Recorded by Stefan Deistler at Loft Köln on Jan. 18, 2011.
Peter Brötzmann (s), Fred Lonberg-Holm (strings, elec)