The Berlin-based Austrian pianist Elias Stemeseder and German drummer Max Andrzejewski have collaborated extensively on numerous projects, including in Anna Webber’s Percussive Mechanics («Percussive Mechanics» and «Refraction», Pirouet, 2013) and the local, cross-genre KIM Collective, but two years ago they decided to form their own project. Stemeseder and Andrzejewski wanted to pursue a post-genre, compositional framework with a contemporary, chamber atmosphere, in which free-improvisation and composition have equal parts.
Stemeseder and Andrzejewski enlisted for their «light/tied» project some of the most interesting, strong-minded soloists of the vibrant Berlin scene – violinist Biliana Voutchkova, cellist Lucy Railton, alto sax player Christian Weidner and clarinetist Joris Rühl, all are experienced improvisers who are well-versed with contemporary music. They worked on their compositions independently of each other, but in the post-production stage they deconstructed the compositions, added electronic, distorted and noisy sounds and reconstructed them into detailed, electro-acoustic textures.
Surprisingly, despite this complex compositional and editing process, the nine compositions radiate a serene sense of lyrical, introspective reflection and even modesty from Stemeseder and Andrzejewski who opted for an ensemble interplay rather than intense, solo segments of themselves. But throughout this refined and calm envelope Stemeseder and Andrzejewski created certain pockets of freedom and encouraged subtle, risk-taking gestures that would push this sonic envelope. More surprisingly, the noisy interventions and the extended bowing and breathing techniques correspond organically with the fragile but highly nuanced melodic veins and the brief rhythmic patterns, and all add to the inner rationale of the layered textures. The end result sounds fresh, poetic and mysterious, and suggests that the whole – the compositional process, the recording of the sextet and the post-production editing, may be bigger than its parts, but still keeps its elusive, post-genre essence.
Every time that you may listen to this fascinating album would provide more insights and keys to its many secrets.
Biliana Voutchkova (vio), Lucy Railton (c), Christian Weidner (as), Joris Rühl (cl, bcl), Elias Stemeseder (p, synth), Max Andrzejewski (dr)