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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Hans Koch, Frantz Loriot, Jonas Kocher – Stranger Becoming (Neither/Nor Records, 2022)

By Stef Gijssels

The NeitherNor label has carved out its own place in avant-garde music, one that is very focused on timbral explorations, spaciousness and precision. On this album, we have the trio of Hans Koch on clarinet, Frantz Loriot on viola and Jonas Kocher on accordion. Swiss master Hans Koch is well known for his presence in free music. On this album the clarinet is his only instrument. Kocher is known for his forward-looking use of the accordion, an instrument that is often absent in modern music, but here it clearly demonstrates its possibilities. Koch and Kocher performed and released already several albums together in various line-ups. Frantz Loriot is a French-Japanese musician who has been reviewed many times on this blog. 

Describing their music is almost impossible - it's always hard, but here it defies description - so I can only recommend the interested reader to their Bandcamp page. 

The album consists of six pieces that range from four minutes to ten. Some of them are slow moving soundscapes, in which slight variations create kaleidoscopic shifts ("The Weight Of Magic", "All Told", "A Fleeting Purchase") within a very coherent overall sound. On the other hand, you have the compact agitated nervousness of "Relinquished Rifles", a dissonant piece with instruments more engaging in combat than creating a coherent sound. "Found Bodies" finds its place somewhere in between these extremes, with the difference that it even adds some elements of musical fun. On ""Stranger Becoming", the long last piece, the two modes of working - calm versus agitation - work side by side, with Kocher's accordion remaining peaceful throughout the more intense dialogues of clarinet and viola near the end.  

Regardless of the approach to music, the skills of the three musicians is such that it is never boring or repetitive. Surprises are present at any moment, as they possibly are to them too. 

Creative music for creative listeners. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp.


Ken Blanchard said...

This music is amazing!

Jonas Kocher said...

Very happy that you appreciate our work. Thanks for your comment!