MICHEL DONEDA / JONAS KOCHER / CHRISTOPH SCHILLER – ///Grape Skin

Another Timbre

A fascinating act, divided into two comprehensive improvisations for soprano sax and radio (Doneda), accordion and objects (Kocher) and prepared spinet (Schiller). Crepuscular tones abound, the musicians picking ways of emitting sounds according to a “let’s-put-this-in-and-see-how-it-works” approach rather than simply letting the instrumental unrest move around. The sections in which the three superimposed voices try to show some fangs – for example, after the third minute of “Second Membrane” – are indeed succinct outbursts immediately returning to the original dimness. The actual pitches are scarcely definable, a considerable part of the action happening in areas where hush, environmental resonance and treatment of the instrument’s intrinsic technicalities meet. Acumen and self-discipline are applied throughout, causing the music to turn away from typical EAI routines just in time. The accordion – more than the saxophone – shows a tendency to exhale heavily, and Schiller’s economical utilization of an uncommon resource makes sure that the quantity of percussive luminosity and scratchy details remains completely tolerable, never invading zones where those features are redundant. At the end of the day, this record fuses communication and painstaking investigation almost flawlessly. Love at first sight is unlikely, but several of its values are unarguable, substance systematically prevailing over aesthetical appearance.

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