Holz Für Europa

Comité Imaginaire

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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

The wind/reed trio of Peter van Bergen, Wolfgang Fuchs, and Hans Koch created a single spontaneous composition during a live concert in Berlin, and then proceeded to play every possible improvisational variant on it by utilizing a slew of clarinets and tenor, soprano, and sopranino saxophones. Make no mistake -- this is art music, designed to be the articulation of a new musical language that exists only as long as the concert does and disappears into the collective and singular bodies of knowledge that each player carries inside him. And while this music, in all of its stubborn, investigative, sometimes cacophonous glory, was made in front of a live audience, it wouldn't have made a whit of a difference if the trio were standing in a small room keeping each other's company. This is free improv music based on concentration and self-imposed limits. All of the intervals created in the three variations, three orbiculars, and three cuts -- as well as the two versions of "Turn Around" itself -- are based around scalar gradations and confines, and sonic breath control patterns that create tonal events rather than episodes. No two are alike, no encounter of any two members ever leaves the third out, and most of all, the music they make -- based on this close palette which insists upon improvisation for its realization -- is quite compelling in that it reaches for the smaller aspects of sound ratios and tonal equanimity among the trio. Where Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell created this kind of relentless exploration 35 years ago, the trio of Fuchs, Koch, and van Bergen have taken it to an entirely different level, where all notions of musical expression are null and void outside the language of art and its collective expression in miniscule territories. Here, despite the fact that everybody plays everything at different times, the distinguishing characteristics of breath-control, attack, microtonal fluency, and complete idiomatic conception become paramount to the field of language and color. The end result is one that inspires reflection and wonder, and moves the listener into the boardroom of the Imagination Committee. Bravo.

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