Christian Muthspiel / Wolfgang Muthspiel

Echoes of Techno

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Guitarist and Material label head Wolfgang Muthspiel's relatively straight-ahead jazz albums will not have prepared listeners for this challenging but thoroughly enjoyable live duo recording, on which he and his brother Christian play a wide variety of instruments and manipulate a wide variety of electronic sounds and samples to create a shifting soundscape that occasionally verges on jazz but mostly floats somewhere between musique concrète, ambient, and electronica. The album title is pretty apt: While this is by no means a techno album, there are hints of electronic dance music in its textures and use of tape loops and samples. The album's high points include the gorgeous "Voyager -- Transit No. 2" and an equally lovely guitar and trombone duet that stretches out luxuriously over the course of 12 minutes. The only real disappointment is "A-Girls," which starts out mysterious and intriguing but fails to follow up on its promise, and settles into tedium by the end of its seven and a half minutes. Highly recommended overall.