Released two years after Polwechsel 2, this third album features the same quartet: John Butcher, Michael Moser, Werner Dafeldecker, and Burkhard Stangl. The emphasis has been brought back to acoustic instrument, while the previous opus focused on electronic and guitar textures -- it makes no difference, it all sounds alien and discorporated. Yet, despite the fact that the quartet continues to walk the path of textural noise and minimal gestures, Polwechsel 3 is very different than its older brothers -- different but just as fascinating, challenging, and rewarding. Dafeldecker's two compositions follow the same canvas: cut-throat bursts of noise spaced by silence ("Government") or whisper-quiet sine waves and free improvisation ("Schlieren"). The razor sharp tightness with which the segments begin and end suggests the piece could be the result of editing artistry -- since it is probably not the case, it makes the performance all the more commendable. Ever heard of a piece keeping you on the edge of your seat? Expectation is the key here. The two Moser compositions on the other hand focus on long, quiet notes. In "Not Forgetting the Forgetting" tones from cello, double bass, and soprano saxophone piggy-back on each other, creating the fugitive illusion of sine waves. Butcher's "Floater" applies his findings with Axel Dörner and Xavier Charles to Polwechsel: each musician searches for the organic sound that is not a tone. The piece gurgles and crackles, once again mesmerizing the listener. If this CD sounds less revolutionary than Polwechsel 2, it is only because Butcher, Dafeldecker, and Stangl have enjoyed a little more exposure since 1999.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture