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«The Buchla Suite: A Handcrafted Tribute To Morton Subotnick»
«Forest of Tines: Egil Kalman plays the Buchla 200»

German pianist-composer bandleader-producer Stefan Schultze and his Large Ensemble’s The Buchla Suite: A Handcrafted Tribute To Morton Subotnick is a tribute to American composer Morton Subotnick’s seminal album Silver Apples To The Moon (Nonesuch/Elektr, 1967). The title is taken from W.B. Yeats’s poem «The Song of Wandering Aengus») which introduced the first analog synth, the massive Buchala 100 and was the first composition of electronic music commissioned by a record label, still considered unmatched in its sonic and structural complexity. Subotnick worked together with engineer and instrument maker Donald Buchla on devising this pioneer synth.

The Stefan Schultze Large Ensemble’s tribute to Subotnick is performed without synths, but if squaring the circle may be an impossibility in mathematics, it certainly works in Schultze’s music. Schultze, like Subotnick, is also a sonic inventor and wanted to use the ensemble like ten oscillators and to sound like a social synth, with distinct individual voices. The double album was recorded at Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal in September 2022.

The Buchla Suite is a thoughtful investigation into how a modern, improvising jazz ensemble – with eleven musicians including American master drummer Tom Rainey, may adapt the erratic functionality of a synthesizer, including the application of the logic of an oscillator, a sequencer, a filter, or a chaos generator to the orchestral and rhythmic compositional process. Schultze worked first with small groups of the ensemble to engage its musicians in a collective compositional process, and, indeed, the act of composing The Buchla Suite was as a live set and all its pieces were taken from first takes. Schultze managed to suggest a fascinating and imaginative, new language for his Large Ensemble, with lyrics telling about the vintage synth and sensual wordless vocals delivered by Almut Kühne, that explore new and unpredictable sonic territories.

Swedish double bass and modular synth player Egil Kalman is known for his work with Miman, Marthe Lea Band and Alasdair Roberts & Völvur. His double album Forest of Tines: Egil Kalman plays the Buchla 200 follows his solo debut album Kingdom of Bells: Egil Kalman plays the Synthi 100 (iDeal, 2022) and continues his explorative journey into the sonic universes of vintage. analog modular synth from the 1970s. The legendary Buchla 200 system (a portable version of the Buchala 100), often called «The Electric Music Box», was designed by Buchla and is housed at Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm. The album was recorded live with no overdubs, on two stereo channels, during Kalman’s residency at EMS in October and November 2021.

Kalman employs his rich sonic imagination to improvise sparse drones, hypnotic ostinatos and traditional Scandinavian folk tunes, including his interpretations of the sounds of Swedish «Autumn Leaves» or the African thumb piano «Mbira». The twenty concise pieces reflect Kalman’s varied musical interests as well as the vast sonic palette of this legendary synth with its innocent and nostalgic sounds, still quite mysterious and otherworldly even today.

Eyal Hareuveni

Leonhard Huhn (alto saxophone, clarinet), Peter Ehwald (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone), Magnus Schriefl (trumpet), Elena Kakaliagou (horn), Almut Kühne (vocals), Roland Neffe (marimba. percussion), Shiau-Shiuan Hung (vibraphone, percussion), Peter Meyer (electric guitar), Stefan Schultze (piano), Feliz Henkelhausen (double bass), Tom Rainey (drums) || Egil Kalman (Buchla 200)