Berlin-based, young drummer-composer Max Andrzejewski’s quartet HÜTTE (hut in German), featuring sax player Johannes Schleiermacher, guitarist Tobias Hoffmann and bassist Andreas Lang, explores the common sonic ground between contemporary music and jazz, between and experimental rock and minimalism since its inception in 2011. You can find in HÜTTE’s music elements of prog-rock, and the band’s fourth album, Play The Music Of Robert Wyatt (WhyPlayJazz, 2019) was dedicated to the legendary British hero, the art-rock of Talk Talk, seminal Miles Davis’ album In a Silent Way (Columbia, 1969) or the more introspective music of Danish guitarist Jakob Bro or American composer Kali Malone.
Reduce is the fifth album of HÜTTE, recorded at Bonello Studio Berli in Berlin in December 2022. Andrzejewski’s new minimalist compositions were conceived «from a need to go into intermediate or floating states, for loops, for less material, ideally as a listener to calm down a bit and ‘immerse’ in a present state». Short loops served as the basic compositional tools with minimal shifts, as well as some parts distilled from Andrzejewski’s contemporary chamber music compositions. Reduce can also be read as a sonic political statement. Reduction as a means of de-growth, pulling out of the delusion of the everyday attention economy and the urgent questions about deprivation that each one of us – detached from political office holders – can do for our planet.
The economic, reserved and calm spirit of Reduce fits its vision. It is emotional and engaging, with distinct floating states, but of the kind that likes its fire and quiet intensity burning slowly and in the shades.
Bruchgold & Koralle (Scrap gold & coral) is another Berlin-based quartet led by pianist Jörg Hochapfel, who also plays guitar, melodica and glockenspiel, and featuring sax player Schleiermacher, who adds flute to his tenor and baritone saxes, Andrzejewski, who also plays glockenspiel, and bassist James Banner. The quartet recorded its self-titled debut album at LowSwing Studio in Berlin in May 2023.
It is totally different from Reduce. An impatient attempt, as Hochapfel himself suggests, to capture the eccentric and surreal spirit of this quartet may lead to a description of Morton Feldman meets Richard Clayderman meets Peter Brötzmann. And, indeed, Hochapfel’s eclectic and complex compositions, as well as the performances of the four adventurous musicians, balance somehow between the most bizarre humor and generous doses of the deepest melancholy. The music juggles back and forth between gentle and caressing old jazz, sparse and enigmatic minimalism, semi-silky exotica, abstract and sometimes furious free improvisation and strange but unashamedly, seductive melodies. Hochapfel’s mother, Heidi Hochapfel, did the cover artwork.
Johannes Schleiermacher (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, flute), Tobias Hoffmann (guitar), Andreas Lang (bass), Max Andrzejewski (drums, glockenspiel, whistling), Jörg Hochapfel (piano, guitar, melodica), James Banner (double bass, electric bass)