Günter Müller

Time Travel

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Günter Müller is one of the most fascinating collaborators in contemporary improvised music. His persona is passive/aggressive; tending to create subtly modulated sounds of an almost palliative nature; often with an elastically liquid rhythmic sense, all of which remain unobtrusive even as they bend his partners toward his sound world. Otomo Yoshihide, whose musical output crosses countless territories, accedes to Müller's whims while still injecting more than enough of his own identity to make this an extremely rich and engaging session. The overall tone of the tracks (titled to commemorate the first seven meetings of the two players) is somber and undulating as each musician strives to infiltrate his ideas through and around the other's. On the second and sixth pieces, Yoshihide's guitar is clearly audible, but otherwise he and Müller mesh seamlessly enough that the listener has little notion as to who's doing what. The rhythm surges and ebbs in the mix; never dominating the affair; always simply one element of many. There's always a nice, thick dynamic balance in the sounds employed, always a range from low and juicy, to high and brittle; making for an aural/tactile sense of pure pleasure. But there's also a judicious use of restraint, of holding the reins and only letting loose what is necessary in a given situation. The listener easily conjures up ghostly images of passing trains, alive-with-biota fields, sub-aqueous journeys, abandoned machine plants, and rain falling with a hiss on hot pavement. Time Travel allows one to engrave his or her memories on its deep template: no small feat at all. Highly recommended and an excellent introduction to this area of music.

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