Thursday, September 9, 2010
Taro - Flaechten (Self-published, 2010) ****½
TARO is Joachim Badenhorst from Belgium on clarinets & tenor sax, with Austrians Matthias Erian on electronics & sampling, Ingrid Schmoliner on prepared piano & voice and Martin Schönlieb on prepared banjo & guitar.
The music is quiet, unhurried, sparse, fully improvised yet staying close to the same tonal center on every piece. Each track is a carefully built and developed piece of emotional fragility, with Badenhorst's supersensitive and lyrical playing, quavering over the cautious backdrop of mostly Schmoliner's piano. You could think this is the best recipe for boring music, yet the musicianship is such that they react almost in the moment to each other's notes and developments. Badenhorst and Schmoliner's are incredible listeners building with an uncanny precision on the other one's ideas. The former is possibly best known on clarinet, but on one of the best pieces, "ae5", he plays tenor sax, and strangely enough he plays some phrases straight out of Tony Malaby's "Tamarindo" - coincidence or not - with a depth that is of the same quality, and that's a serious compliment.
On the sixth track he demonstrates his skills with circular breathing on bass clarinet, creating a nice hypnotic and rhythmic support for Schmoliner's sparse notes on the prepared piano. The other musicians join for the last two tracks into a more weird but equally sensitive environment.
These young musicians belong the new generation of artists that goes beyond form, delving deep into human emotions thanks to their broad and open-minded skills on their instruments, yet staying away from speed and shock effects, and staying away from cheap sentimentalism on the other end of the spectrum.
This is light music, easy to digest, but deep at the same time, offering a really rewarding listening experience.
Record labels, give this band some exposure.
Buy from Instantjazz.
Maybe you can get it from Joachim Badenhorst directly.