Paul Schütze

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This is the third CD in a Schütze trilogy which began with 1992's New Maps of Hell and continued with The Rapture of Metals; this final chapter is a certified masterpiece. Schütze, who plays keyboards and also supplies various inventive electronic treatments (tapes, digital sampling, etc.) has something of a signature sound, but he seldom repeats himself to the extent that you think you're hearing the same ol' thing. In the two earlier CDs in the trilogy, echoes of the Miles Davis electric funk emerged from time to time as an influence, along with touches of Jon Hassell and vintage Weather Report. But on this CD, connections with the electric Davis of the 1970s are much more blatant. There's no trumpet, but Julian Priester's trombone supplies an occasional approximation, and the formidable guest list also includes Bill Laswell on bass, Lol Coxhill on soprano sax, Alex Buess on bass clarinet and Raoul Bjorkenheim on noisemetal guitars. And then there's the drumming. Dirk Wachtelaer's dominant cymbal and snare work is either very closely miked, or treated (or both), but regardless, it is frequently brutal-slamming, crashing, in-your-face confrontational. Throw in some serious guitar shredding by Bjorkenheim (Finnish guitarists seem to have a talent for this sort of thing), and inspired electronic moans and howls supplied by Schütze, and you've got music that can grab you by the lapels and toss you into next week, and then turn around and drop almost instantly to an insidious, nightmarish whisper. It almost seemed as if it would never happen, but Schütze's music on this CD finally picks up where Davis left off in the mid-'70s. And while Davis and his edgy jazz funk still sounds good twenty years on, Schütze sounds even better. A major rush, and a major recording.

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