UTE WASSERMANN / BIRGIT ULHER – Radio Tweet

Creative Sources

The existence of a reviewer is occasionally rewarded in unexpected ways. In the last few days, I had been bored to death by a pair of lame albums by some sort of progressive-new-jazz-whatchamacallit entities, wondering how in the world certain labels accept low levels of compromise in order not to sink, in the meantime trying to fool new audiences by passing off barely above average stuff as “innovative”. Then I opened a packet, which contained a kind note by Ute Wassermann accompanying Radio Tweet: I knew straight away that my revenge was coming soon. This reporter has been an unrepentant fan of both the vocalist and Ulher’s work since the very beginnings. Simply put, these women can’t fail; and indeed, they didn’t. This CD belongs among the best of 2016: you can bet on that already, in early February.

A main attribute in the duo’s intuitive practice is the striking equity between the extremization of their palette and a not always evident irony. This is summarized by a relatively even-tempered display of variously shaped noises seamed into implausibly heterogeneous configurations, completely eschewing the logic of regular tone and academically acceptable timbre. That one often struggles to ascertain what comes from an instrument and what from the voice substantiates disputable “imperfections” as the origin of ungovernable creativity, provided that instant choices are regulated by intelligence. Several preparations of Ulher’s trumpet – in addition to Wassermann’s bird whistles – add to the general discombobulation by introducing harsh rattling and pseudo-pulses while eliciting the idea of bizarre animal hybrids. The overall result, halfway through mechanical disfunction and far-sighted concreteness, invariably seizes the listener’s attention across myriads of micro-detours, small shocks and unconceivable colloquialism.

This music dismembers the canonical characteristics of that brand of levigated improvisation which nowadays appears controlled by artistic superintendents and ultimately destined to a clique. At the same time it remains entirely comprehensible, funny, and utterly gratifying for the ears. A must for scattered lone wolves.

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