Hans Reichel

Stop Complaining/Sundown

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The inventor and crown prince of the daxophone, Hans Reichel appears here in two distinct pieces as duets with two very different kinds of musicians, both of them guitarists. The first, "Stop Complaining", with longtime collaborator Fred Frith, is a study in the sonics of feedback as it relates to durational space. As Frith pushes the context of his six-string to the edge of what can be controlled with feedback -- short of pulling the plug -- Reichel pushes the dax into a kind of mantra overload, repeating sequences over and over, altering the pitch of the feedback slightly to make room for more tones inside the small timbral space allotted by the improvisation. When he moves to the guitar In the same piece in its second and third sections, he uses the guitar in much the same way Derek Bailey does, and allows for its percussive edge to dictate which tones should be referenced for repetition as Frith charges on according to the basic tones found at the bottom of the register. It's an insane workout by the end after nearly 30 minutes. All manner and type of feedback are explored, making Jimi Hendrix's controlled efforts seem tame. What feedback results in is what the pair becomes interested in, as sound. And sound can be manipulated and turned in on itself at all points on the dynamic scale. It's remarkable, really. The work "Sundown," with Japanese guitar maven Kazuhisa Uchihashi, is one 35-minute work of such transparent beauty and changing modes it's impossible to pin down which direction it will shoot for next: will we be exposed to pastoral polytonal dialogue, Dadaist carnival music, ambient drones? It's impossible to tell when two musicians such as this commit themselves to no beginning, middle, or end. When the piece finally does appear to be over, the listener sits in wonder for a few minutes, wondering if indeed the quirky, finely wrought sonics have slipped away or are merely waiting for the other to make a move. It's enchanting.

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