LÖSCHEL / SKREPEK / ZROST – Waldorf Hysteria

Loewenhertz

Going for a wander across the Touching Extremes Archives you’ll find several reviews regarding Loewenhertz, the Austrian label founded by composer Hannes Löschel. As I already told in the past, he was among the very first brave men ever to send promos to a young and promisingly unschooled Massimo Ricci. It is therefore with pleasure that I’m reviewing this CD today, although it was released in 2018. The last time Löschel, Paul Skrepek and Martin Zrost appeared here as a trio – circa 2001/2002, Albert was the record’s name – this writer still had all his hair. And it wasn’t gray.

Even a cursory listen is sufficient to ascertain the values of fine instrumentalists capable of tackling any genre with the ease that distinguishes genuine virtuosos. But in this instance Löschel, Skrepek and Zrost seem to have set a goal of presenting a brief excerpt of as many samples of contemporary music as possible, whether organically popular or devilishly difficult to perform. In a nutshell, they’re able to turn segments of considerable complexity into child’s play. Above all, the trio appears to have rigorously trained to render all tracks – including the midgets – in such a way as to appear both all-encompassing and picture perfect at once. Practically speaking, the exact opposite of what is meant by “jack of all trades”: in fact, these gentlemen reveal themselves to be masters of most everything, their wistful irony transpiring from certain vintage atmospheres. 

From smoky jazz to bionic klezmer, from street party to B-movie soundtrack, from mathematical precision to instant (but immediately recomposed) meltdown. Each piece is long enough for us to absorb brilliant musicianship, and short enough not to overstay its welcome. If that’s not a sign of intelligence, you tell me what is. Basically, a gathering of petite soundtracks to equally minimized excerpts of life. Go and dance, without hurting yourself, to the restorative pulse of Waldorf Hysteria (incidentally, what a great title). Or simply sit back and serenely cherish the stuff.

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