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På skive

SJÖSTRÖM / HIRT / WACHSMANN / LYTTON

«Especially For You»
BEAD 47

Being a free improviser means that you have to exercise unpredictable situations as an existential essence of life. This is how the Especially For You quartet came to life. The original plan was to have a concert of the Quartet XPACT – German guitarist Erhard Hirt, sax player Stefan Keune and double bass player Hans Schneider with British drummer Paul Lytton – for the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Einstein Kultur in Munich, founded by the city of Munich. But Keune and Schneider were indisposed and were replaced, at the last minute by Finnish sax player Harri Sjöström and British violinist Philipp Wachsmann. This live, free-improvised performance at MUG in Munich occurred in October 2022. Lytton did the cover painting for the album documenting this concert.

It was the first time that these four gifted free improvisers played together as a quartet.  Sjöström and Wachsmann played in many formats since the 1980’s, most notably in the Quintet Moderne, and Sjöström played with Lytton in the Cecil Taylor Ensemble. Hirt played before with Lytton and Wachsmann in the King Übü Örchestrü, and, obviously, all four musicians are masters of the art of the moment with distinct and highly personal palettes of sounds. Hirt extends his electric guitar with extensive computer treatments and transformations; Wachsmann also adds electronic treatments to his acoustic violin; Lytton employs an array of objects that comprise his unique sound pallet developed over the years and Sjöström has developed unique sonic inventions on the soprano and sopranino saxes.

The recording of this concert highlights the immediate and organic interplay of these experienced improvisers, before an appreciative audience. The music flows naturally and sounds fresh and urgent, and each piece has its own cryptic but poetic inner logic. Repeated listening discovers more and more nuances in the subtle interplay and the clever and endless sonic games of these pioneers of European improvised music. Wachsmann notes that the new quartet, as well as the attentive audience, brought a new thing to the concert, «a new moment ‘in the moment’». And, indeed, the final, playful applause even included a bold listener brandishing his iPhone playing back a short extract from the concert he had only just recorded.

Eyal Hareuveni

Harri Sjöström (soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone), Erhard Hirt (guitar, computer treatment), Philipp Wachsmann (violin, electronics), Paul Lytton (drums, cymbals, miscellaneous objects)

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