The Flying Luttenbachers' sound and style have changed several times over the years; the only constants have been the presence of drummer/leader Weasel Walter and his undying commitment to combative, no-holds-barred extremity. Alptraum is a completely improvised live album with the lineup of Walter and saxophonist Michael Colligan along with upright bassist Kurt Johnson and/or cellist Frederick Lonberg-Holm, depending on the track. This is assaultive, high-energy free jazz in the tradition of, say, Peter Brotzmann or Borbetomagus. The group wastes no time getting started, blasting off at full-throttle from the first second. "I Stood up and Screamed" and "Bleeding in Bed" are especially fierce, driven by Walter's hyperactive drumming and Colligan's scalding, upper-register sax work. The album's centerpiece, though, is the 22-minute "The Green Glow," an ominous workout marked by Walter's reverberating drums, Colligan's over-the-top blowing, and Lonberg-Holm's sawing, effects-addled cello. There are a couple of brief lulls, but on the whole "Alptraum" holds together surprisingly well, and the group succeeds in creating a real sense of danger and confrontation that is pretty tough to achieve at this stage in the game as far as free jazz goes.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William York