OLAF RUPP / MARINO PLIAKAS / MICHAEL WERTMÜLLER – Too Much Is Not Enough

FMP

This album is the result of two days of recording that occurred at Köln’s Loft in May of 2009. A power trio is always expected to produce some variety of dynamic music whatever the context it performs in, yet Rupp, Pliakas and Wertmüller exceeded all anticipations, realizing their vision through the use of nearly superhuman energies, leaving us wanting for more even at the end of a quite long program (circa 65 minutes).

An association that came to mind during one of the repeated spins was Last Exit. Too Much Is Not Enough vibrates in fact of the same devastating fervour, that kind of take-no-prisoners attitude imbued both with technical expertise and utter abandonment of pondering that characterizes the milestones of free improvisation, a category to which this release definitely belongs. Rupp – a guitarist who never managed to enter the realm of personal favourites – shows that his playing on the electric is abundantly superior to what he does with acoustic, scathing lines and sparkling harmonics defining an imperative: that of meaning plenty and thinking less, a quality that not many artists are able to develop. In this case the success is total, enhanced by Pliakas’ overwrought massiveness on the bass, treated as a generator of snarls, rumbles and growls rather than a bottom-delineating machine, and Wertmüller’s frantic drumming, characterized by a splendidly snappy snare amidst perennially rolling avalanches, under which my instinct kept detecting a fundamental vital pulse. Together, the musicians reach a point of continuous boiling that nevertheless doesn’t generate an explosion that would, in a way, waste that accumulation of forces. What is to be loved is the hardnosed threat symbolized by the trio’s implacability, in comparison to which certain hypothetically “rebellious” entities cannot but pale – or plain disappear.

One of those recordings that, listened by a walkman while strolling across the city, put at risk of being hurt by the upcoming vehicles if inadvertently crossing the road, given the impressively discourteous, utterly involving manner in which it transmits the message and the unconditional value of its uproar. Great stuff – and look at the traffic lights before someone runs you over.

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