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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Robert Landfermann & Elisabeth Coudoux - Kehdata (Klaeng, 2017)

By Stef

Could we possibly review three albums in the same week by German cellist Elisabeth Coudoux? Yes, we can. On this album she is improvising with her fellow countryman Robert Landfermann on bass, recorded at the famous Loft in Cologne in 2015.

Even if the label presents itself as a jazz label, the genre's specific characteristics seem to be absent here, except for the fact that the music is all improvised.

Their playing is very expressive, ranging from full-fledged drama over cautious sensitivity to total distress as on the long opening piece.

At times the music and the timbral explorations are baffling, when you hear multiphonics on the arco bass with very pure cello sounds in contrast, at other times both play on two strings creating unsuspected volume and density. "Hagel", the second piece is absolutely amazing, evokating a hail storm in all its intensity and violent beauty that gradually subsides. I'm not sure how they do it, but they sound like more than two instruments. Then "Shelving" is simple and calm intimate pizzi, no drama, no intensity, in stark contrast with the very short "Kalt" that sounds like stretching your nerves and tendons, while "Kleben", with its deep and long bowed sounds is dark and foreboding.

Sounds merge and instruments disappear. Who does what and how? It doesn't matter. Just listen to what you hear. Forget rationalising it. Listen to the sheer beauty of it. Sometimes abstract, sometimes deeply emotional, always inventive, physically intense, and focused on creating new sounds together and unpredictable, new listening experiences.