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«Black Holes Are Hard To Find»

The trio of German sax player Frank Paul Schubert, Japanese guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi and German drummer-percussionist Klaus Kugel recorded its debut album, Black Holes Are Hard To Find, at Noisy Rooms in Berlin in September 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then the trio performed for the first in April 2022 at Neue Sächsische Galerie in Chemnitz, Germany, and toured Japan. Schubert and Kugel collaborated shortly before (Yamabiko Quintet, Nemu, 2022), but it was the first time that these singular and experienced sonic architects played together.

Schubert, who plays here on alto and soprano saxes, has recorded with Alexander von Schlippenbach, Günter «Baby» Sommer and Paul Dunmall; Uchihashi, who also adds electronics, leads the legendary experimental Japanese band Altered States, was a member of Otomo Yoshihide’s Ground Zero, has his own label and is a master of the daxophone and inherited the daxophone collection of Hand Reichel; Kugel, who initiated this trio, recorded this album and released it through his own label, has recorded with Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Roy Campbell and Steve Swell.

All the music of Black Holes Are Hard To Find is freely improvised, highlighting the eclectic, genre-bending aesthetics of this trio, as well as the supersonic interactions (the title of the last piece on the album)  and creative affinity these gifted improvisers have established. There are no black holes in the dynamics of this trio and the seven extended pieces juggle with polystylistic themes, abstract ideas, stories and mini-dramas, explore fragile textures and challenging timbres, but flow naturally with their own inner logic and already with a distinct sonic identity of the trio. Likewise, the atmosphere constantly shifts from intimate and introspective to symphonic and cinematic or provocative, obscure and chaotic, often in a matter of a second and within the same piece, inviting the listener to a kaleidoscopic experience. The music flirts with free jazz, contemporary music and prog-space-rock and sometimes even swings (check «Additional Randevous») but never surrenders to familiar narratives or conventions and insists on building its unpredictable tension.

The accumulated experience of Schubert, Uchihashi and Kugel as idiosyncratic and innovative composers, interpreters, improvisers and bandleaders contribute to the success of this collective trio and its inspiring albums.

Eyal Hareuveni  

Frank Paul Schubert (as, ss), Kazuhisa Uchihashi (el.g, elec), Klaus Kugel (dr, gongs)

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