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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Camille Émaille / dieb13 / Hans Koch - ÄBE (confront Recordings, 2023)

ÄBE brings together three like-minded and idiosyncratic improvisers-sound artists - French percussionist Camille Émaille, known for her collaborations with Peter Brötzmann, Lê Quah Ninh, Fritz Hauser and Fred Frith (she also took the cover photography for ÄBE), Viennese turntables wizard dieb13 (aka Dieter Kovačič) who has worked with Phil Minton, Mats Gustafsson, John Butcher and Burkhard Stangle, and Swiss reeds player Hans Koch, who has worked with Cecil Taylor, Frith, co-founder of the trio Koch-Schütz-Studer, known also for his work with electronics as an extension of the saxes and clarinets as well as with sampling, sequencing and laptop. 
This experimental, free improvising trio has been working since 2020 and ÄBE suits as a debut release. It was recorded at two performances in Switzerland - at e Singe in Biel/Biene (the hometown of Koch) in January 2022 and at Postremise in Chur, a year later in January 2023. Koch and Kovačič (with Martin Siewert) mixed and mastered the 11 pieces of ÄBE. dieb13 will host Émaille and Koch in the premiere of his work “Beatnik Manifesto”, with a cast of international improvisers including Minton, Sandy Ewen and Anna Högberg at the upcoming Music Unlimited festival in Wels, Austria. 
Émaille, dieb13 and Koch investigate, deconstruct and reconstruct and sculpt together fragile, everyday life sounds and noises. None of the sounds is conventional. Koch employs an array of extended breathing techniques that transforms the sounds of his soprano sax, clarinet and bass clarinet into abstract, electronic music. Émaille's subtle and sparse touches of percussive devices and instruments introduce sudden and weird, resonating mechanical patterns to the music and dieb13 intensifies this intriguing mix of radical sounds with precise doses of otherworldly noises. 
The dynamics of this trio are mostly delicate, patient and mysterious, reflecting a unique sense of deep listening and a highly imaginative and often cinematic sonic vision, but become unsettling, wilder and more urgent towards the end of the album. This trio creates its very own sonic universes, with its own inner logic and its own urban sonic stories. One of the pieces is titled, “Parc du Jura”, and ÄBE is indeed a radical park of radical sounds and noises.