Caspar Brötzmann / F.M. Einheit

Merry Christmas [Blast First/Thirsty Ear]

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F.M. Einheit, founding member of the industrial band Einstürzende Neubaten, teams up with guitarist Caspar Brötzmann for a series of improvised duos leaning heavily into the extreme noise end of the spectrum and succeeding only marginally. Brötzmann had previously recorded an improvisational duo with his father, the great free saxophonist Peter Brötzmann (Last Home, Pathological) and seemed somewhat uncomfortable in the genre. As noisy and relatively free as his playing is with his trio Massaker, it appears that deep in his heart he's a rocker and it's in a rock context, however widely defined, that he shines brightest. Here, Einheit never supplies a regular rhythm but rather an array of generally harsh percussive sounds and Brötzmann tends to react with similar attacks including whorls of feedback and his trademark grimily fuzzed guitar. But the responses and reactions show little evidence of deep cooperative listening and, despite the relative ferocity of attack, come dangerously close to noodling at times. A lesson at the hands of Keith Rowe and Eddie Prevost of AMM might have served these younger musicians well. Only the final listed track "Panzerketten" (there are three subsequent unlisted pieces) provides some minutes of inspired communication. Fans of Einheit might enjoy this foray into riskier territory, but listeners hoping for something akin to the ecstatic heights scaled by Brötzmann in his early Massaker albums will be disappointed.

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