Gestalt et Jive

Gestalt et Jive [Moers Music]

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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne

The Gestalt et Jive group liked its name so much that it put out two different albums that are both named after the group, of which this is the first. What the two albums have in common are Alfred 23 Harth on various reeds and Ferdinand Richard on various basses. For this album, the pair is joined by three other musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Steve Beresford, who also produced the session, and drummer Anton Fier. It is a combination of players that looks strange on paper, and sounds stranger, although not altogether unpleasant. The stiffness of Fier and the multifaceted surrealism of Beresford don't have a whole lot in common. While more freewheeling improvisation might have brought the players further into each other's worlds, this album's program focuses on compositions by all concerned mixed with short or edited group improvisations. Most of the written music sounds as if it were insufficiently rehearsed, while the improvised interaction tends to be strained, or too busy. Players are sliced and diced into various smaller lineups for the tracks, resulting in some novel instrumental combinations. "Too Much Freezing," something of a weather report written by Fier, combines acoustic and electric drums, recorded backwards and forwards, with the sounds of saxophone mouthpieces and Beresford's bristling pocket trumpet. Another nice effect involves some of the members playing solo tracks in which they overdub themselves. The hoarse Harth plays three bass clarinets on "Tierlied-Tearled," for example. Tracks such as "Desert Lips" spotlight a combo sound with Fier and Richard providing bass and drums, Beresford flowing in on Farfisa organ, and Harth howling on tenor sax.

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