Markus Stockhausen, the virtuosic trumpet soloist for many of his father Karlheinz Stockhausen's works such as "Hymnen," "Sirius," and "Michael's Reise," released this solo recording in 1995. Of it he stated: "The idea was to create a unique kind of music that is neither totally improvised nor composed. 'Comprovisation' was the word that came to my mind. The basic piano, cello, and trumpet tracks were improvised in one take. Synthesizer, percussion, and additional trumpet tracks were later added in a more compositional way." Markus Stockhausen also states that his father and Miles Davis were the principal models when devising his comprovisational approach. Engineer Walter Quintas and Stockhausen used the recording studio to assemble "Possible Worlds" -- a single track nearly one hour long -- much as Teo Macero and Miles Davis did with tape edits to produce tracks from the groundbreaking Bitches Brew sessions of 1970. Like Bitches Brew, the creation of Possible Worlds is also noteworthy for its reversal of roles: The improvisations were performed first and the compositional elements incorporated later. Shadows of Davis' Aura, a collaboration with Danish composer/trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, also flicker throughout Possible Worlds. Possible Worlds is a finely sculpted work that elaborates on the many likenesses of composition and improvisation. Like much contemporary improvised music from Europe, the syntax of Possible Worlds is not filtered entirely through a jazz lens. A subtle balance of quiet ambience, contemporary European classical music, and electronics forges a shifting palette of timbres and textures from which Stockhausen's arching statements emerge. Stockhausen's trumpet playing is a transparent blend of traditional virtuosity, extended (non-traditional) techniques, muted colors, and lyricism, with particular sensitivity to the dichotomy of solo/ensemble playing. He makes especially expert use of the piccolo and slide trumpets and the somewhat intractable quarter-tone flügelhorn. Throughout Possible Worlds, Stockhausen resourcefully draws from his well-chosen collaborators, who include his brother Simon Stockhausen on synthesizers and electronics, then-Arditti Quartet cellist Rohan de Saram, Fabrizio Ottaviucci on piano and voice, Ramesh Shotham on gatham and kanjira, and Quintas. Possible Worlds is beautifully recorded and mixed, and comes cloaked in attractive graphics by Stockhausen's stepmother, Mary Bauermeister. Possible Worlds verifies that Markus Stockhausen has developed a personal vision by learning from his mentors, and in keeping with the Stockhausen tradition, Possible Worlds is, in part, a family affair. After repeated hearings, this aptly titled work continues to offer not only possible worlds, but also a world of possibilities.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Kirschenmann