Otto Lechner

Hot Room

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Hot Room captures four players, four instrumentations, and four concerts in a Vienna tepidarium. The tepidarium is part of a system of variously heated rooms from classical bathing culture. Extraordinary acoustic qualities are attributed to this sort of room. This fact resulted in the rather peculiar concert series sampled in this recording. Wolfgang Puschnig (Vienna Art Orchestra) tackles the room first with alto sax which results in a distinctly Middle Eastern wail of a horn in an ancient grotto shrine. His second experiment is with flute and chants, which elicits a subtle, enlarging resonance. Otto Lechner contributes three tracks, two of these with melodica and one with accordion. Lechner seems tentative in each selection, but particularly on "Der Plubutsch." He stretches inquisitive fingers into the reverberating corners of this lively room. Lechner himself has a solo album on Extraplatte (Accordeonata) on which he applies his accordion virtuosity to a plethora of genres. The most textured, physical sound comes from Achim Tang, who brings a double bass into the "hot room." Akin to William Parker, he alternately bows and scrapes his instrument, sending sonorous scratches and treble squeaks into this unique chamber. The final two cuts of this hour-long CD come from Dhafer Youssef. Youssef sings in a mournful, clarion, Qawaali-inflected style and plays oud (lute) in the room; like Puschnig's "Sharing" sax solo, he summons an antique, religious performance of great depth and feeling.