Saturday, 21 July 2012

Moritz Von Oswald Trio - Fetch

The term 'genius' is often used without much supporting evidence these days. It seems that anyone who has achieved a few critically acclaimed goals in their chosen profession has this honour bestowed upon them by the media, lazily elevating them to deity status. 

Moritz Von Oswald is however, in my mind at least, worthy of this title and then some. He originally worked as percussionist in German avant garde band Palais Schaumburg before going on to play drums for Scottish new wave darlings The Associates from 1985 onwards. Von Oswald then moved into music production and worked with Thomas Fehlmann under the 2MB & 3MB monikers. He then founded the Basic Channel label with Mark Ernestus, recording under a variety of aliases including Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound and Maurizio. His influence on techno, particularly minimal and dub variants, and also within the wider sphere of electronic music is inestimable. His touch, technique and signature sound is still very much in evidence some seventeen years after the Basic Channel label ceased operations. It's hard to imagine where electronic music would be without the influence of luminaries such as Moritz Von Oswald.

The first Moritz Von Oswald Trio album - Vertical Ascent, was issued in 2009 featuring the talents of engineer/producer Max Loderbauer and Sasu Ripatti (better known as Vladislav Delay). This was followed up by the albums Live in New York (2010) and Horizontal Structures (2011) - huge favourites here at the noise.

And so we arrive at the new record - Fetch, which consists of four long-form compositions that manage to enmesh elements of dub, techno and jazz, bending them into a whole new series of shapes in the process. The album opens with 'Jam', a seventeen minute improvisation which throws random outbursts of sax, dissonant electronics and various textures against a grainy rhythm track. One of Fetch's revolving cast of collaborators, Mark Muellbauer adds bass which, along with touches of electric piano gives the piece a distinct jazz feel. The segue into next track 'Dark' is flawless, the pace dropping a few beats as a smoky, dub-like atmosphere develops. Third track 'Club' builds on a more recognisable, Basic Channel minimal techno chassis adding more grit, grain and heavily processed percussive hits. The album ends with 'Yangissa', a fourteen minute excursion into blunted tribal aesthetics with a muted, spidery bassline. At the halfway mark, almost everything but the spongy kick is dialled down and the rest of the track plays out in a clattering tangle.

Fetch is an altogether looser, more organic proposition than it's predecessors, due in part to the fact that it was apparently pieced together from a four hour improv session which saw the core trio joined by Mark Muellbauer (bass) and Tobias Freund (live electronics and effects). The recordings were then later processed by Von Oswald who added further contributions from Jonas Shoen (flute, clarinet and saxophone) and Sebastian Studnitzky (trumpet).

This comes highly recommended to anyone looking for further expansions into minimal / dub techno, jazz or experimental electronics - basically anything recently covered on so much noise such is the scope of this record. 

Head over to Honest Jon's Records to buy vinyl, CD and download versions.

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