Moritz von Oswald Trio

Horizontal Structures

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On their second studio album together, Moritz von Oswald (programming, keyboards, percussion), Vladislav Delay (percussion), and Max Loderbauer (sequencer, synthesizer) are joined by guitarist Paul St. Hilaire (a frequent collaborator with von Oswald's Rhythm & Sound) and double bassist Marc Muellbauer. The new elements do not obscure the trio’s potency as improvisational hypnotists. St. Hilaire's presence is rather slight, providing gentle, sometimes circular prickles. Muellbauer anchors the majority of the 15-minute “Structure 2” with a furtive dub bassline as the other instruments swarm and tap around him; on “Structure 4,” the busiest track, his role is very different, providing interjections that are percussive more than anything else. Von Oswald, Delay, and Loderbauer are accommodating, playing more openly here than on Vertical Ascent. There is no clutter -- just immaculately sculpted and pared-down improvisations that reveal deep nuances with each play. As is the case with the trio’s debut, nothing will throw the listener around the room: the most violent sound in the hour-long set comes from a thumped tambourine (or something like it). But it’s all quietly dazzling, a sinuous fusion of jazz, dub, and techno that pulls from German, African, Jamaican, and Latin forms without the slightest hint of stuffiness.

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