Detour Tunnels of Light is the debut duo album of two idiosyncratic improvisers – Swedish sopranino sax player Martin Küchen, who adds percussion and electronics to his arsenal, and French hyper-pianist Sophie Agnel. The free improvised meeting was recorded at Borlunda Church in Eslöv, Sweden, in February 2022.
The four pieces suggest a quiet and sparse, delicate and vulnerable atmosphere. Küchen and Agnel keep shaping a perpetuum mobile of poetic sounds, fragile, moaning breaths and dignity, like a magical vintage music box. They slowly find a common ground between the singing, whispering sopranino sax, the swinging percussion and the minimalist yet symphonic hammering inside the grand piano, but always search and embrace the unfamiliar and unknown. The fragile tension that was built in the first three pieces is released, gently in the last, piece «Två Deux».
Brian Olewnick who wrote the liner notes defined his listening experiences as «having expectations and then being pleasantly disabused of those expectations». Detour Tunnels of Light is indeed an album that may happily upset any expectations but guarantees a rare beauty of thoughtful and poetic, touching and deep-listening music.
bBb is the duo of Küchen and Swedish trombonist Ola Rubin 9who recorded and mixed Detour Tunnels of Light), and Live in Poland is their fifth album for the Scottish online label scatterArchive with the name-your-price policy. bBb plays a 39-minute piece, and as before framing their musical vision in a much broader, political perspective, and this time borrowing a famous quote of American poet Ezra Pound: «The technique of infamy is to start two lies at once and get people arguing heatedly over which is the truth». But this album uses as its moto also a quote of Polish author and poet and a critic of the Polish society Witold Wirpsza (1918-1985): «im obraz precyzyjniejszy, tym odleglejszy od rzeczywistości; pełne unaocznienie jest pełnym wprowadzeniem w błąd; wzrost widoczności oznacza zanik bytu». (the more precise the image, the more distant it is from reality; full visualization is a full misrepresentation; the increase in visibility means the disappearance of being).
Küchen and Rubin added to their sopranino saxophone and trombone multi-band radio and 78s records played on two old gramophones, percussion and other reeds. The album was recorded live in June and July in Szczecin, Krakow, Kielce and Łódź onto a two-track reel-to-reel very heavy tape recorder using recycled Scotch magnetic tape, carried all the way from Sweden to Poland. Küchen and Rubin tell about their preparations for this tour, but they were totally unprepared for the hot, tropical weather they encountered in Poland while driving in an old Volvo with no air condition, sweating a lot, but otherwise in a perfect mood. The music swings between imaginative but fragmented and chaotic sound art with subversive overtones and nostalgic snippets of old songs to more conventional, emotional and lyrical sax and trombone duets, stressing the open and inclusive musical vision of these creative kindred spirits.
Martin Küchen (sopranino s, perc, elec, multi-band radio, mutes, 78rpm records), Sophie Agnel (p, objects), Ola Rubin (tb, multi-band radio, selected reeds, 78rpm records)