Hans Koch

Hardcore Chamber Music

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Chamber music indeed. What this trio means by chamber music is two things: a small ensemble and music made in the context of a small, closed room with no light. Hans Koch plays winds and reeds and handles sequencers and programming, Martin Schütz wails on an electric five-string cello as well as playing a standard version, and the infamous Fredy Studer handles all of the percussion chores. While this is certainly music from the edges and proudly wears its avant-garde-ness on its sleeve, it's far from inaccessible. Fans of the Pop Group and Blurt from the late '70s will find much to celebrate here, as improvisation and loose-groove theories meet head on in a dubbed-out sound collision of electric and skronk-like force. From the opening moments of distorted electric cello and saxophones putting together a funk groove on "Radio Bursts," listeners know something is up. When the band moves into "To Stones," with its slow, volcano-like beginning, and moves toward a zoned-out exercise in sonority and timbre with all the lights off, listeners sink further into the morass of collapsible dynamics and frequency rambles. On "Woody Down" and "Running Rabbits," the humorous side of improvisation reveals its hideous face and turns standard riffs into warped grooves and atonal inventions of pure absurd genius. This is the very essence of the heterogeneous in music; it knows no bounds because it acknowledges no prejudices. Highly recommended.

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