Johnannes Bergmark

Last Moments

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The three players in this Danish group create improvisations together using a wide range of sound-producing devices, all of which are technically musical instruments because they are being used to create music. But if the collected instrumental setup of this trio was displayed in the window of a music store, it is doubtful whether customers would rush in wanting to buy a musical instrument, although there certainly might be plenty of interested people whose attention is grabbed by such a collection of weird stuff. The Czech-born Martin Klapper can easily fill up several tables with toy instruments without even having totally unpacked his bag. His cohort, Jindrich Biskup, works from the type of percussion setup that has come to be known as "floor pie"; in other words, a collection of stuff spread out on the floor, some of which would belong in a regular drum set and some of which might be more or less useful at a picnic. (His technique on bowed plastic cups is superb, by the way.) Johnannes Bergmark uses his voice, the musical saw, and the microMoog, as well as the inevitable percussion and something called a finger violin. This is textural playing, not at all lacking in intensity but definitely free of any climaxes that reek of show business. It is also somewhat hit and miss, although there are certain combinations the players hit on that are wonderful. Much of the forward momentum tends to be provided by the quickly moving percussion playing, which when combined with toy accordions, squeaky horns, or whatnot often creates a kind of comic effect. Sometimes the players show an admirable reluctance to repeat themselves, even when one has found a particularly kooky sound. There are other moments, however, when nothing much seems to be happening except the musical equivalent of treading water, such as little bits of tapping, feedback, and what sounds like droning feedback. And needless to say, sometimes these seem like the best parts of all on subsequent listening. Fans of far-out improvised stuff should be able to dig right into this.

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