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Spaltklang: En Suite

Spaltklang are a quartet led by saxophone guru Markus Stauss and play a unique brand of jazz steeped in the chamber rock tradition. Their fourth release En Suite is an intriguing mixture of avant-garde experimentalism and artistic dissonance. Joining the aforementioned Stauss are Stephan Brunner (electric bass), Olivier Vogt (viola) and Rémy Sträuli (drums, keyboards). The album was recorded live at TON-ART studio, Basel, Switzerland and was engineered by Benno Hofer.

For those of you familiar with the various projects Markus Stauss has been involved with over the years you are probably familiar with this style of music. This is innovative stuff and about as noncommercial as one can get. Stauss plays the sax as if he is from another planet, taking the listener into unexpected places and the rest of the band does much of the same. En Suite blends jazz, rock and classical forms with wild polyrhythmic structures and time signature changes, always keeping the listener guessing where the music will go next.

Besides sax, Olivier Vogt's viola is also important to the band's unique sound with both instruments often playing against one another adding different rhythms and textures. Also up for the challenge is the rhythm section of Brunner and Sträuli. In the ambitious "Von Anbeginn" the sax and viola build in intensity and the drums become more frantic as the pace picks up. Although subtle, the bass is always present urging the music forward. The album's opening track "Amuse-bouche" is pure dissonance with sporadic drum beats and a decidedly avant-garde approach. This is not easy music to 'get' and it took me several listens to appreciate all that Spaltklang has to offer.

Although the lack of tuneful melodies might make En Suite a bust for some, those interested in the likes of Univers Zero, Art Zoyd and related bands will find much to enjoy here. As for myself, I appreciate the band's masterful musicianship and commitment to the road less travelled.

Track Listing:
1. Amuse-bouche (1:10)
2. Von Anbeginn (13:39)
3. Hearbeat (5:08)
4. En Suite (11:56)
5. Ideen (7:48)
6. Evocazione (9:13)
7. Open Directions (5:50)
8. Molto Lento (2:11)

Added: October 11th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label Website
Hits: 2573
Language: english

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