The chamber jazz/new music ensemble of Theo Jörgensmann, which existed in 1993, was a powerhouse of improvisation and compositional execution. Aesthetic Direction, a six-part work which is equal parts both, is a monolith of interactive dynamics, intervallic architectural moves, and tonal adventure. Jörgensmann composes for tonal variation in his bands, and particularly for this one, which included a cello, violin, and percussion as well as bass and B-flat clarinets. Percussion wasn't so much a rhythmic element as a striated harmonic equalizer between the woodwinds and the strings. Themes are outlined against a contrapuntal backdrop and slip through swing motifs and near-Ellingtonian modes before veering off sharply into improvisation or new music constructions from serialism to futurism. It's an exhausting ride for the listener, but a rewarding one. This is difficult music for a reason: it takes apart, separates, and then glues back together what many people have taken for granted for decades.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek