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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Matthias Müller Days: An Artist Deep Dive (Day 3)

Rupp – Müller - Fischerlehner: Tam (Not Applicable Records, 2013) ****½

By Martin Schray

Of all the Müller CDs reviewed here lately “Tam” is my favourite one. The band is Müller on trombone, Olaf Rupp on guitar and Rudi Fischerlehner on drums. Again Müller delivers permanent drones on the one hand and flapping helicopter sounds on the other, he spits, murmurs and puffs soundlessly, while Fischerlehner polishes his drum set with all kinds of found objects, clearly being a drummer in the tradition of Han Bennink and Paul Lovens. The grease between the two of them is Rupp - a marvelous guitarist who plays his instrument in a very upright position and whose fingernails look like claws crawling along the strings - who provides tremolos, superfast arpeggios and flageolets reminding of the great Derek Bailey but also of Thurston Moore.

The result is highly spontaneous music, zigzagging permanently between references to post-rock, Indian meditation music, free jazz elements and new classical music. The sounds condense, intensify and dissolve again, it is an intoxicating growling, pattering and buzzing,  just to be woven and reinterpreted into a complex and hypnotic whole that is both alien and attractive at the same time.
The musical approach on this album is even more about creating atmospheres compared to the other albums, structures and sounds fall apart and find together again, sometimes they connect, sometimes they don’t (in a positive sense). If improvised music is about free conversation and open-ended and self-generating processes, this album is an example par excellence.

“Someone might add a counterpoint, pick up a theme, or join in, and of course as a band you develop a sense for collective sounds and dynamic tension. It’s not really a question of deciding what comes next, but more like a development. A color becomes predominant and then suddenly everything spills into a new direction, or a sequence abruptly ends and suddenly something new is there. I can’t say for sure whether it’s purely intuition, coincidence, group dynamics, fleeting quantum events, or all of the above”, said Rudi Fischerlehner in an interview for the Saalfelden Festival.

My favorite moments on this album are the first part of the second half of “Pre”, where the music becomes very meditative and especially the drums sound like a wind chime which is supported by Rupp’s open, yet precise chords and tremolos, while Müller sets counterpoints sounding like a Wah-Wah guitar or a snarling animal (selectively), as well as the end of “Pei”, where the three play cascades of notes that sound like hailstones coming down on wooden roofs and “Tam”, a seven-minute exploration in drones and night-time jungle spookiness.

It is an album absolutely worth listening to.

You can buy the CD or the download here:

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Richard said...

Thanks for doing this Martin. I think having a "Deep Listening" for a lesser known artist is a great idea.

I hadn't heard of Muller. I'll be picking up Tam soon.

I hope you folks do something like this again.

lop lop said...

Yeah, thanks for the heads-up Martin - this is really, really good (and remarkably subdued for a project involving Rupp).