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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Nikolaus Neuser - Sunday Interview

Photo by Manuel Miethe

1. What is your greatest joy in improvised music?

The feeling when active and passive dissolve, and I feel as if I'm flowing through, in a sort of transcendent state. Hearing and playing become the same, and for me, it's the closest possible approach to the moment, the now.

2. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?

When they are capable of making their fellow musicians sound good. Some can listen so well and intensely that one sounds great. That's simultaneously my greatest ideal for myself in music-making.

3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most? If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?

That's hard to answer, there are so many I admire for different reasons, each within their historical context. So, I can only answer this question in a very abstract way. Meeting John Cage and Merce Cunningham, for instance, would be intriguing. 

4. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?

There's still so much to explore with my instrument; it's an ongoing journey. In addition, there are projects and encounters in my mind that haven't been realized yet.

5. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like?

Yes. David Bowie's latest album deeply touched me. Lately, I've also been listening to Gloria Jones, Deichkind, and Dead Kennedys.

6. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would like to be better at prioritizing.

7. Which of your albums are you most proud of?

It's hard for me to favor one specific album. Different aspects feel well-realized in different albums, and I'm happy when something succeeds. Currently, I quite like the new album from I AM THREE; perhaps simply because it's current. It's set to be released in early 2024 on Leo Records, as far as I know, it will be the label's final release.

8. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often?

Once it's released and I hold the first pressed copy in my hands, I usually listen to it once more, and then not again. Sometimes after years. This can be very interesting because I no longer remember my intention while recording, so I perceive it anew.

9. Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?

Kenny Wheeler's "Gnu High" was very important to me for a long time. If I have to name just one album, it might be that one. I still listen to the album from time to time even now.

10. What are you listening to at the moment?

Henry Threadgill's "Zooid."

11. What artist outside music inspires you?

Marina Abramovic, Elias Canetti, Gerhard Richter, Kurt Schwitters, for instance, are inspiring for me. Also, entities like Das Zentrum für politische Schönheit (The Center for Political Beauty), where art and political/social thought merge, are worth mentioning in that context.


Photo by Cristina Marx/Photomusix

Reviewed albums with Nikolaus Neuser

Mazen Kerbaj - Walls Will Fall - The 49 Trumpets of Jericho (Bohemian Drips, 2018)
Silke Eberhard – Portrait (Jazzwerkstatt, 2017)
The Alliteration - The Alliteration (Creative Sources, 2014)
Potsa Lotsa Plus – Plays Love Suite by Eric Dolphy (Jazzwerkstatt, 2015)