Steamboat Switzerland

AC/dB [Hayden]

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

AC/dB (Hayden) was released simultaneously with Budapest. While the latter consists of a continuous improvisation, this CD sticks more to the kind of music Steamboat Switzerland first presented on Live. That is not to say that they repeat themselves, but the material is denser, more organized and challenging -- closer to the trio's first opus. AC/dB (Hayden) is a meta-composition made of two separate pieces, Steamboat Switzerland's "AC" and composer Sam Hayden's "dB," written for the group. Both tracks have been split in parts (six and seven, respectively) that alternate in the final work. More than a suite, they form a re-composition through an editing process in which both parties participated. Hayden's music sticks to the progressive rock-meets-hardcore aesthetics of Stephan Wittwer (who contributed many of the best moments on Live). "AC" is freer, more atmospheric, and closer in some regards to Budapest. What happens is that the "AC" parts tend to build tension, while the "dB" parts release hot lava. The interest of Steamboat Switzerland's music resides in the paradoxical, even conflicting elements at play: the complexity and self-indulgence of progressive rock, the anger and excitement of hardcore, the detachment of minimalism. Drummer Lucas Niggli and bassist Marino Pliakas form a tight, virtuosic rhythm section. As for organist Dominik Blum, what he can do with his Hammond encompasses the whole possible range of the instrument, from Deep Purple-esque distortion-driven riffs to electronically treated experimental drones. AC/dB (Hayden) is the logical follow-up to Live, pushing further the trio's unique sound.

blue highlight denotes track pick