MARKUS EICHENBERGER – Halbzeit

Creative Sources

Enriched by the composer’s beautiful black and white picture as a child on the cover, Halbzeit is a precious demonstration of the abilities of Swiss clarinettist Eichenberger who, despite being an active contributor to the free music scene since decades, has always been relatively unsung (also due to his reluctance to saturate the market with releases). In fact, these nine solo improvisations are dated 2008, but were released at the end of last year. They didn’t lose an ounce of significance, and are an utter pleasure to listen to. Wearing my headphones I was struck by the barely audible undertone of the room in which the album was recorded, heard in the recurrent pauses between the phrases. This reveals that we’re in presence of a type of contemplative playing, a place where every pitch, breath intake, fluttering of the tongue and muted vocal accompaniment count. Eichenberger utilizes structures made of straightforward figures, held tones, quotes from other materials and sudden bursts of freedom, combined with breaks characterized by the mere emission of air or complete absence of sound. However, “primitiveness” is a term that does not apply here. This work represents instead a solitary trip through different kinds of interior states, typified by an incontestable sincerity.

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