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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Piho Hupo - Foump (Indigo, 2014) ****

By Paul Acquaro

Piho Hupo, is a quartet based in Hamburg, Germany - a beautiful city, that as far as I know, isn't as known for avant-garde jazz as it is for the lovely Außenalster, the lively Reeperbahn, a renowned opera house, the early Beatles, and the sprawling Elbjazz festival. But, that's as far as I knew, until bassist John Hughes informed me about a series in Hamburg he’s curating called ‘Multiphonics’. So this, along with the work of Piho Hupo, and at least some of the gaps in my knowledge are filling in. 

The group is comprised of saxophonist Rolf Pifnitzka, keyboardist Jörg Hochapfel, percussionist Chad Popple, and the aforementioned Hughes. More importantly, Foump is a true group effort and there are few times when there is a 'soloist'. The album starts of with 'Angustura Rags', with all hands on deck as a frenetic melodic line whirls about. The percussion cuts through and leads a transitional moment where the energy shifts and the rhythmic textures become one with the melodic lines.  Oh, and when it sounds like there are two horns playing but only one person credited, that is exactly the case. Then it shifts again - the piano at first a dominant voice but soon superseded by an aggressive sax. This in the course of one track! The next song, "Somebody Say Tennesee" begins on a much darker note - lurching and lurking, the sax and insides of the piano providing atmosphere.  Muffled speaking rises out of the back as the tension mounts. The piano and sax battle it out on the track 'Roland Grave' and 8-bit electronics and sound effects make up the cord of the ambient 'Mause Anmalen'.

I'll stop here, half way through, the variation and imagination on Foump makes it a solidly interesting listen and one that can really withstand being in your CD player for a long long time.

Check out the video below: