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«live at amann studios»

«blueht» (bloom in German) is the sophomore album of the experimental, free improvising Viennese trio P:Y:G – P for electric guitarist Robert Pockfuß, composer for vocal ensembles, theater and film; Y for drummer Alexander Yannilos, leader of the experimental fusion-club collective Motherdrum, and also a producer and owner of the Freifeld Tontraeger label; and G for tenor sax player Jakob Gnigler, leader of his own sextet, member of American drummer Marc Holub’s Anthropods and collaborator of Pockfuß in another group, Pneuma. The trio began to develop its unique dynamics and vocabularies in 2015 and recorded its debut, self-titled album in April 2018, live, before an audience, at the legendary Amman studio in Vienna. «blueht» was recorded live at the New Adits Festival in Klagenfurt, Austria, in November 2020.

The four pieces are titled after the German words that describe the blossoming process of a flower – staeubt, keimt, sprieszt and welkt. This time P:Y:G focus on expanding the sonic palette of their instruments by imitating the sonic spectrum, vocabulary and syntax of each other’s instruments. The outcome is a series of powerful but eccentric, sometimes chaotic and at other times quite psychedelic, but rhythmic and swirling sonic maelstroms that reference brutal free jazz, full blast noises and contemporary music. Somehow, it all makes sense and the unstoppable rhythmic grind of P:Y:G can sound like a Balkan wedding on acid, a dark and unsettling, cinematic drone, absurdist and atmospheric musings, or uplifting but noisy free jazz attacks.

Gnigler and drummer Valentin Duit, who plays in local Viennese bands like Dsilton, Robert Unterköfler Quintett and Coastline Paradox, have been playing as a duo for a few years now, but «live at amann studios» is their debut album. It was recorded live in January 2020 and features two free improvised sets, with a freer approach of P:Y:G. But both Gnigler and Duit, like P:Y:G, employ extended techniques in order to expand their tonal aesthetics. This album offers inventive sound-oriented textures alongside brutal free jazz attacks, but with some sensual and emotional dances, as Gnigler and Duit explore their profound interplay and shape-shifting constantly.

«Intangible» is completely different. It is an intricate, chamber 10-part composition of guitarist Robert Pockfuß for the contemporary Pneuma quartet, augmented by bassist Manu Mayr. It is the debut album of the ensemble, and here Gnigler is part of the ensemble. This composition imagines static yet moving sound fields, and Pockfuß says that he wanted to create something that stays in its place, not wanting to go anywhere, «something radiating calmness, resting within itself but still abstractly pulsating, having an intangible rhythmic motor». Each of the ten parts offers its distinct way of elusive, suspended moving, with a focus on the collective sound of the augmented Pneuma. All instruments keep repeating the same minimalist, rhythmic patterns, but with a multitude of ever-changing rhythms, until all melt into an almost transparent ambiance. Within this highly disciplined and provocative approach, the quintet varies its approach and sometimes emphasizes the celestial vocals of Christine Gnigler, blurry or noisy textures, or even with hymn-like colors.

Eyal Hareuveni

Robert Pockfuß (g), Alexander Yannilos (dr), Jakob Gnigler (Ts), Valentin Duit (dr), Christine Gnigler (recorder, v), Bernhard Höchtel (synth), Robert Pockfuß (el.g), Manu Mayr (el.b, eff)

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