It took over four years for 3 Suits & a Violin to come out, which is a shame considering the quality of this session. The title (possibly a quote from a book by Julian Barnes) is misleading on at least three counts: there's no violin in this group; it's a quintet, not a trio or quartet; the music may be demanding or difficult, but it has nothing to do with the executive (i.e. suited) type. And demanding it is, as this album stands at the zenith of bassist Christian Weber's experimental interests (he is also known for more accessible jazz projects). This is absorbing, edgy, seat-grabbing electro-acoustic improvisation, with a focus on textural noise. 3 Suits & a Violin was recorded at DRS Radio Studio 2 over two days. It features top-grade musicians: Hans Koch on reeds and electronics, Polwechsel cellist Michael Moser, Efzeg/Trapist guitarist Martin Siewert, and drummer Christian Wolfarth. Weber and Wolfarth have a rather strong history together, as members of John Wolf Brennan's Momentum and the WWW Trio with Michel Wintsch. However, references and similarities point more toward Polwechsel and Efzeg than Brennan and Wintsch's groups. Clocking in at under 50 minutes, the album offers six pieces ranging from very good to excellent. "Pony Music" quickly sets things in motion: string overtones, brushed percussion, quiet feedback, and a subtle yet irresistible drive forward. "Buzz Aldrin" and "Frogmouth" are the set's two highlights, the first one a well-controlled noise fest, the second a captivating landscape of shifting textures. In typical electro-acoustic improv fashion, the music is geared toward collective achievements rather than individual prowess, and thus Weber does not come forth as the leader of the session, but he weaves in some fascinating extended bass work throughout.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture