Adam Sonderberg

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The title is not this album's strangest feature, although it is out of the ordinary. This collaboration between German saxophonist Boris Hauf (of Efzeg) and American sound artist/noisemaker/guitarist Adam Sonderberg works very well. The two share an interest in ultra-minimal improvised gestures, chance noises, and incomplete notes. Hauf breathes in his mouthpiece, uttering the tiniest sounds like saxophonist John Butcher and trumpeter Axel Dörner at their most experimental. Only once throughout the duration of the album does he play what is commonly conceived as a note (in "Bohnenstange"). For this session, Sonderberg performs on acoustic guitar, but again his playing is highly unorthodox. He bows the strings, scratches them, hits the body of the instrument, taps and rattles in every which way, and, yes, plays short strings of notes from time to time. Similar contemporaries would include Taku Sugimoto, Annette Krebs, and John Bisset. But -- -- - is not as austere as it may seem. The two improvisers are very well in phase, creating captivating pieces where silence builds intensity. The two instruments grind against each other during these very short exchanges -- 21 tracks in the course of only 37 minutes. This short time span works in favor of the music; it's easier to grasp that way. Of course, this CD-R is only for the most adventurous listeners, but fans of the silence-inclined free improv scene that developed in Europe at the end of the 1990s will find this album compelling.