ICI Ensemble

The Wisdom of Pearls

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Based in Munich Germany, the International Composers & Improvisers Ensemble is usually recognized for their collaborations with guest composers/soloists like William Parker, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Olga Neuwirth, and Knut Aufermann. Maybe that's all the more reason to seek The Wisdom of Pearls, an album featuring five original compositions by regular members of the ICI Ensemble Munich. "Kwal and the Wisdom of Pearls" and "Fog" are credited to Roger Janotta, who plays alto sax, clarinet, and flutes. "Que(e)ry Hearing" was devised by bassist and Powerbook computer manipulator Sigfried Rössert. "Pop Shots" was conceived by the group's co-founder Christofer Varner, who is equally adept with trombone and sampling software. "Electronic Music -- Studie" was devised by Gunnar Geisse, who for several reasons has developed a technique for playing guitar as an extension of a laptop computer. There are lots of places to head with a group combining eccentrically tweaked electronics with ICI maven Johanna Varner's cello, Markus Heinze's slurping Tubax contrabass saxophone, and numerous additional reed, brass, percussion, and stringed instruments. Anyone with the slightest inclination toward collective improvisation (and what feel very much like visitations from the spirit of Anton Webern) really ought to investigate The Wisdom of Pearls.