Gestalt et Jive

Gestalt et Jive [Creative Works]

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Gestalt et Jive came out with an earlier album, also named after the group, which was on the better-distributed Moers Music label and as a result had much more visibility than this musically superior double-record opus. The group is stripped down to a trio here, with founding members Alfred 23 Harth and Ferdinand Richard finding a perfect drummer for their musical vision in Peter Hollinger. He complements all aspects of the music, which range from the typical fascination with noise that rules much of improvised music to grooves from the progressive rock and free jazz canon. With one exception, all the music in this set was improvised by the trio. It is a fascinating program, one of the sides combining five sections of improvising under the combined title of "Sommerfest in Mainz." This is music as agreeable as its title, although it can be assumed that much of the reference to Mainz is ironic. Other titles are about as frank a description of spontaneous composition as can be found on record: "Warming Up," "Airplane Crash," and "Pure and Hard Seduction" are examples. The lengthy "Licht des Magens" is also absorbing; it contrasts with most of the other tracks being quite short. In fact, the brevity of this double album takes away from its grandeur. It would be hard to seriously praise the group for creating a full double album of brilliant music, when in reality all four sides could practically fit on a single album.

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