The Flying Luttenbachers

Alptraum

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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.

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