Schneider Kacirek

Radius Walk

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Following 2014's Shadows Documents, Radius Walk is the second serving of murky improvisations from Stefan Schneider and Sven Kacirek. As with their debut, the two musicians are inspired by music they recorded on their travels to Kenya, but they don't sample or directly copy anything. Instead, they deftly incorporate polyrhythms into their fluid blend of electro and jazz. This time out, they're joined by Ethiopian-Swedish vocalist Sofia Jernberg, who appears on three of the album's tracks. Her voice is fluid yet focused, and tends to inhabit a high register, often sounding like a gleeful coo or squeak, but with poise and grace rather than ecstatic abandon. She's an obvious match for Schneider and Kacirek's style of low-key yet adventurous experimentation, and while she's clearly improvising, the concise "I Atlanten" demonstrates her reverence for Scandinavian folk melodies. Kacirek's rhythms tend to be slow and pulsating, emphasized by thuds and thwacks, and compared to the duo's first effort, there's far more organic percussion than drum machine beats. He begins "Arbeit 16" by scattering mallet-played polyrhythms with the help of tape manipulation. Eventually this flows into a sparse yet colorful tapestry of numerous percussive instruments, barely tethered together by a central bass pulse from Schneider. "Back" is one of the more hypnotic pieces, with metallic percussion clanging away beneath a slowly winding Krautrock pulse. "Drums Drums" is more synth-heavy, and recalls Max Loderbauer's minimalist techno-jazz hybrid collaborations with artists like producer/DJ Ricardo Villalobos or drummer Samuel Rohrer. Throughout the album, the musicians remain pensive and controlled. They never quite boil over, but they keep alert, and their work never settles into formulaic predictability.

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