Hans Burgener


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Shift is an intriguing improvised effort by three musicians coming from slightly different sectors of the experimental spectrum. Violinist Hans Burgener had prior associations with chamber jazz veterans Barre Philips and Martin Schutz, and his playing retains inflections and concerns from that field. Richard Teitelbaum was one of the pioneering figures in the use of synthesizers, particularly as a vehicle for improvisation, as well as in the area of interactive software programs. His work with Musica Elettronica Viva was certainly a precedent for the sort of electro-acoustic improvisation found on Shift, but he also, being from a slightly older generation than his partners, brings aspects of John Cage and David Tudor to the proceedings. Gunter Muller, though active for quite a while, was much more in tune with the fast-moving, technologically adept European improv scene and this meeting essentially takes place on his terms, his triggered percussion supplying much of the impetus in the final track, for example. This makes for interesting tensions and resolutions between the band members as Burgener and Teitelbaum each strive to maintain their own voice in a situation which tends toward collective sound rather than individual expression. Muller's approach wins out more often than not as the music remains largely in the burbling, quieter realm, occasionally erupting forth in a cascade of percussive noise, only to drift back into an industrial hum. It's enjoyable to hear Teitelbaum still able to be stretched after all those years and, in general, Shift is a worthwhile addition to the catalogs of all involved.

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