Alessandro Bosetti/Annette Krebs
Rebecca (Two Variations)
Small music duos, these CDs both featuring a woodwind player plus someone
manipulating a prepared acoustic guitar, and offer a window into the state
of Berlin-centred reductionist music.
of the duos is much more concerned about gesture, resonance and texture
than melody or rhythm. Yet within these strictures the statements made
differ to some extent, especially since soprano saxophonist Alessandro
Bosetti and guitarist Annette Krebs divide their music into six mid-length
pieces. Clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski and guitarist/zitherist Michael Renkel
play two extended piece of more than 37 minutes and almost 32 minutes
each -- together about one-third longer than the entire other CD.
only that, but while the Bosetti/Krebs tunes were recorded all of a piece
in real time in one studio, improvising variations on "Rebecca"
occupied Fagaschinski and Renkel for many months before the CD was made.
Recorded over a four-day period in the saxman's flat, the two variations
were at that time merely the most recent conceptualizations of the music.
more to it than that as well. Parsing the title, the two point out that
the "concept of return" is hidden in the name, with "re"
(return), "bec" (back) referring to the act of remembering,
and "ca" (circa) stands for the indeterminate. A transplant
from Dannenberg, Germany to Berlin, Fagaschinski has long been exploring
concepts of restrained improv and electro-acoustic outsounds with like-minded
players such as inside pianist Andrea Neumann, who often works in duo
with Krebs -- featured on the other CD -- and in solo performance. Michael
Renkel, who studied classical guitar in Hamburg, is also part of Phosphor
with, among others, Neumann, Krebs and Bosetti, plus percussionist Burkhard
Beins, who often works with Fagaschinski.
it appears to be little more than strained silence at the beginning, it's
the shorter "Rebecca (Variation No. 6)" that's more memorable.
In front of strummed guitar chords and crab-like manipulations of the
zither's single strings with a mbira-like cast, Fagaschinski rustles out
key and reed percussion. When Renkel suddenly hits the front of his guitar
full on, the clarinetist introduces quavering circular breathing for a
few seconds. As the guitarist strums and picks resonating tone patterns,
the reedist expels air currents like a lonely foghorn, creating wheezy,
pinched variations on split tones.
the guitarist explores bottleneck variations and folk-style chording,
turning first to resonating flat-picking and then banging his strings
with the heel of the hand as he plays. In response, Fagaschinski blows
out purposely-flat streams of colored air that literally sound like a
man respiring -- not an instrument. Soon, soggy waterlogged breaths languidly
follow this, as Renkel highlights percussive guitar sounds that appear
to be played on the instrument's body not the strings. Finally the plectrumist
suggests a two-note rhythmic figure and the clarinetist blows a swelling
reed line around it. With guttural single tones and glottal stops, the
piece draws to an end, borne on a cushion of vacillating movements from
by almost seven minutes, "Rebecca (Variation No. 5)" doesn't
really add much more then length to the two's decision to improvise on
the same piece over and over again. Isn't that why conventional jazzers
plays standards? Following scraped and scratched zither and guitar lines,
the clarinetist advances a pure, coloratura mellow tone that intensifiers,
expands and lengthens, stretching back into itself with a reed-biting
augmentation. Somehow producing rolling mouth static, the clarinet tones
soon meld with bouncing, ricocheting single string jumps probably from
the zither. When flat out finger picking arrives, Fagaschinski first unleashes
short chirrups that sound like crickets in a night time forest, then louder,
more abrasive split tones that are solid in conception and non-movement.
Treatments from Renkel's side suggest electric organ tones, and as these
undulate to form a continuum, the other subtly works his way down the
scale ending up with near a-clarinet sounds.
in response to the resonating whack against a single vibrating string,
the reedman's line split still further, allowing him to come up with a
second, complementary tone in a lower register, then a third in a higher
register. Resounding and more diffuse air discharges meet the swelling
reed organ tones created by preparations that then subside into nutcracker
fractures and frog-like croaks. Sporting an almost vibrato-less quivering
texture, Fagaschinski sounds fire-extinguisher-like whooshes. Intoning
the same note pattern, the guitarist counters with finger percussion that
sounds as if cymbals are being rasped and what appears to be strums on
the fretguard. Ending with a tone that resembles air leaking from a balloon,
the clarinetist's wavering chalumeau timbre meets harmonically oriented
plucks that meld into an almost melody
extended techniques but fewer attachments to melody are on show on the
other CD. Milan-born, Berlin-based Bosetti certainly tries to spread himself
as thin as possible, being involved in text-sound compositions, experimental
jazz, electro-acoustic pieces, solo sessions and reductionist snuff outs
with microtonalists such as French saxophonist Michel Doneda and American
reedist Bhob Rainey. Frankfurt-born, Berlin-based Krebs is another classical
guitar student interested in the crossover area between improvisation
and composition, exploring the possibilities of the electro-acoustic guitar
involving structure, noise, the mixing of materials and space, plus using
various microphones and pickups.
can sense that during the six monochromic selections here, as rustling
scrapes and shakes from the front of the guitar can often appear to be
paper being crumpled, while Bosetti concentrates on hisses, rolling ghost
notes and whimpers of whistling air. Although the two may not hear it
that way, track four is most instructive because the face off they construct
with their idiosyncratic instrumental parries and thrusts sounds like
a variation of jazzers trading fours at the end of a piece. Bosetti's
initial emphasized off-key pitch almost turns to a siren wail to counter
bell-pealing sounds from Krebs.
she creates textures that resemble waves washing against the shoreline,
he gets more obtuse and dusky, overblowing to produce two distinct tones
at once. When she follows this with distorted fades and echoes then appears
to be rubbing sandpaper right across the strings and guitar front, he
chirps out shrill bird-like tones, split-second squeaks and reed percussion.
the longer tracks the pronounced sense of structure becomes more expansive,
though still in short units. Bosetti variously displays echoing wooden
flute timbres, underwater bubble resonance, irregular vibratos and Bronx
cheer pressure tongued against the reed and echoed within the body tube
as much as from the bell. Krebs's contributions include a growling mechanized
guitar rumble, the rasp of hard objects against the strings and what appears
to be the slice of an e-bow across the strands as well. If paper-shredding
sounds or something that could be a car motor turning over appear in the
aural field, to which instrument can they be ascribed?
entire creation is showcased most effectively on track two. As restrained
tongue slaps and flutter tonguing replace the expelling of colored air
from the sax, Krebs turns her repressed scratches and far-away bumps into
a dance with the plectrum on the strings beneath the bridge, the thwack
of a palm against the strings and barely audible tremolo distortions.
Bosetti's tiny reed chirrups also give way to rolling, smeared reed static
and trumpet-like wavering tones Soon the reedist is overblowing, but so
quietly and subtly that the augmentation is in texture not volume.
Whatever you think of such experiments, both the duos here have created
musical philosophies and set up definite challenges to which others must
Listing: Alessandro: 1. 7:27; 2. 9:50; 3. 9:02; 4. 5:53; 5. 8:28; 6. 5:05
Track Listing: Rebecca: 1. Rebecca (Variation No. 5); 2. Rebecca (Variation
Alessandro: Alessandro Bosetti, soprano saxophone; Annette Krebs, eletro-acoustically
prepared, tabletop classical guitar, mixing desk
Rebecca: Kai Fagaschinski, clarinet; Michael Renkel, acoustic guitar,