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Zauss: neulich neben der Grenze

For those of you who don't know, Zauss is another project fronted by the Swiss saxophone guru Markus Stauss. Like many of his projects, Zauss's music is completely insane and off the wall. Let me tell you, this album is one wild ride and while it definitely will not be everyone's cup of tea, for those interested in completely out of the box improvised free jazz with a heavy dose of metal and ambient elements this one just might be right up your alley.

The name of the album is neulich neben der Grenze and translated into English means 'close to the frontier', an apt title considering this music is about as far out there as you can possibly get. Joining Stauss (soprano saxophones) is Francesco Zago (electric guitars, loops). The saxophone work of Stauss is mind numbing, as is to be expected and he plays with remarkable flair through much of the album. Complimenting Stauss's sax are Zago's moody guitar explorations. His playing often takes on metal elements but also delves into dense atmospheric soundscapes that can be downright eerie. It is these moments where his use of loops dominate the musical landscape. In many of these tunes the sax and guitar will twist and turn going in completely unpredictable patterns and often in opposite directions.

"Senza eleganza" starts the album with crunchy metallic chords of guitar and dissonant sax. At first it seems like a hap hazard barrage of rhythms but there is structure here albeit slightly buried beneath the surface. Like in many of these tunes, the soundscapes do calm down with the guitars less violent and the sax more subdued. The intriguing "Nuages" takes a more restrained approach as Zago lays down some stark soundscapes upon which Stauss adds his saxophone. For those wanting a little more melody you should find much to enjoy in the pleasant "Sülz 06" where Zago's gently flowing atmospherics and Stauss's pretty saxophone are a good combination. The album returns to a more discordant nature with the remaining tracks, like the moody "Heartbeat" featuring Zago's patented wall of sound and Stauss's frenetic bursts of sax.

Although a difficult album 'to get', Zauss has ignited a creative spark that should appeal to music fans not afraid to try something different and folks, this is about as different as it gets.

Track Listing:
1. Senza eleganza (12:47)
2. Nuages (6:50)
3. Short breath (6:49)
4. Sülz 06 (7:02)
5. Rondò senza un centro (9:55)
6. Heartbeat (9:02)
7. Immer grüner (3:16)
8. Spastic blues (6:21)
9. Tremori (2:54)

Added: October 31st 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label Website
Hits: 3602
Language: english

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