JOHANNES FRISCH & RALF WEHOWSKY – Unwahrscheinlichkeiten


Perhaps contrabassist Johannes Frisch is one of those performers who likes to remain behind the scenes, in the shadow of somebody who may be more known yet still conscious of his role’s importance. As hard as I tried, in fact, no detailed bio was found via customary googling (Facebook and Google+ introduced me to namesake individuals whose interests appeared quite distant from the manipulation of a big and potentially turbulent string instrument). Not that Ralf Wehowsky is an archetype of constant presence at the forefront of all-things-avantgarde, not at all. But now we know, after hearing what’s contained by Unwahrscheinlichkeiten, that the level of seriousness of both artists is identical, and the rigour they put in making music is incontestable (regrettably, your reporter has not heard their previous CD Tränende Würger on Korm Plastics). The starting point of everything is the opening “Moskenstraumen”, a sinisterly evocative analysis of the lowest regions of the audio spectrum with an appreciable degree of interference/enhancement by discreetly shrilling electronics and some crackling ghost; coherent improvisational gestures complement the general “ominousdroneness” and the sparse subterranean booms appearing every once in a while. The variations, “Rosenschutt” and Set III”, are respectively a layering of two takes of the same piece and another superimposition of three segments from one of the recordings. If this looks complicated on paper, don’t worry: all the sounds contained by these 43 minutes-plus of extraordinarily affecting subsonic snarls, humongous wails and unrepentant modifications thereof are worthy of belonging in the “great stuff” gallery, either you’re a typical “if-it-drones-is-mine” specimen or just someone who realizes that contemporary music needs more people like Frisch and Wehowsky around. Desperately. And in spite of the horribly uncomfortable shape of the cover of this disc, a veritable archivist’s nightmare.

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