Hans Koch: bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Subservient to no trend, the music of Erfolg – the first solo work by Koch after 25 years from Uluru – entirely shows the constancy and determination poured into a gradual process of elaboration, systematization and filtering. By now I have lost count of the albums by lonely reed players that have graced – or ravaged, depending on circumstance – my ears, but there’s no doubt that tangible substance is always desirable over here as opposed to a vanishing picture of nullity (can you hear me, marketers of bargain-priced wheeze-and-spittle?). When the man decides to look into a specific aspect of a given instrument, he does it by intensely focusing on its atomic principles; from those nuclei of acoustic strictness he extracts the fundamentals of the intrinsic vital rhythms. Each of the twelve episodes conjures up extraordinary inflections and distinctive patterns, thus embodying the actual essence of the word “learning”. The results can sound utterly shrilling (“Whizzing”), skilfully insidious (“Multi”), or out-and-out irresistible (the imperial “Overtone”, likely to cause a loss of balance if listened via headphones at respectable volume). An accomplished and physically alert sonic adventurer, Koch definitely knows how to exhibit the fruits of prolonged investigations with the theoretical effortlessness of an athlete breaking records as the logical culmination of decades of hard training.