Wolfgang Fuchs


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It is interesting to note that this trio -- clarinetist/saxophonist Wolfgang Fuchs, "keyboardist" Thomas Lehn, and drummer Fabrizio Spera -- predates Lehn's similar but more high-profile trio, Konk Pack (with Tim Hodgkinson and Roger Turner), by a year, even though their first CD came out two years after the influential Big Deep. Lingua comprises excerpts from two concerts held in March 2000 in Berlin and Cologne. In general, both groups explore the same ground, centered around Lehn's idiosyncratic approach of the analog synthesizer. No matter who he is playing with, his beeps, burbles, sweeps, and all-around odd, brief, disturbed sounds impose a style (actually more of a spirit) that goes to the root of free improvisation. That said, the two formations show important distinctions, the least not being Fuchs' reeds replacing Hodgkinson's table guitar. The consequence is less-noisy music and a focus on the barely audible, the quiet, the living-instead-of-blowing philosophy that inhabits the clarinetist's King Übü Örchestrü. The second difference: The 14 untitled tracks on this CD are short, mostly within the usual range of a song (two minutes and 30 seconds to five minutes). This conciseness forces the listener to concentrate his or her attention on specific details instead of losing him or herself in the ebb and flow of longer improvs. Spera's playing is very similar to Turner's, although he tends to be more quiet and adds interesting electronics to complete Lehn's arsenal (track two is a perfect example of that). Fans of Konk Pack and Fuchs' late-'90s projects will find Lingua quite compelling. Strongly recommended.

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