Record of the month: Tobias Preisig, ‘Drifting’

Tobias Preisig's 'Drifting'

I’ve got Drifting on constant rewind. It’s a spacious album, pulling back to allow an experience of resonance and a sort of quiet mayhem. The musicians don’t hate us: they want to captivate, however, we’re not their only object of desire. There’s a care and deep listening in their interplay that is almost audible. It’s as if they are feeling their way into a new form of being, as a quartet.

Abstract, even animalistic

Tobias Preisig spoke to me of his band working as an ‘integrated instrument’ with ‘spots’ replacing full-blown solos, such as when André Pousaz’s double bass breaks out into a sombre spotlight in Floating Causes amongst low violin stabs and hi-hat shimmers. It’s true that tracks like Out of Reach weave a subtle tapestry of instruments, intensifying in colour as it progresses. But there is no ignoring the quality of Tobias’ violin: rich, assured, respectful of its emotional power yet avoiding sentimentality. It can be abstract, even animalistic, revelling in a purity of sound.

Miniature for Gold is a painfully-gentle vignette painted by Stefan Aeby‘s piano. Preisig’s violin balances the sweetness, plucking as if a tight bass line. The track is like an exquisite kiss. But Searching for Soil is my highlight, a spellbinding piece.

Michi Stulz’s drum rolls… an unrelenting mantra

The opening Rhodes’ chord conjures a translucent pathway out to the Milky Way, there’s the metallic jingle of a cold star, before Michi Stulz’s drum rolls march us on; an unrelenting mantra. It’s the woozy high violin plucks and quivering strokes of the strings that send my goosebumps bumping. It’s a trip, to somewhere magical or possibly, macabre. Piercing violin runs twist the screws tighter whilst a stormy piano bashes at its low notes. A scrap of melody breaks through as if to keep us entwined in the music, before it shudders to a close.

This music has character: it can be moody, sensitive, frustrated yet is often playful – it’s got soul. What I hope to hear from the band in the future is a wider range of textures and themes; an evolution of their emerging and ear-catching language. Look out for this quartet playing live and let me know what you think.


05.04.2014 CH-Zurich, Moods
12.04.2014 DE-Erfurt, Jazzclub
13.04.2014 DE-Dresden, Tonne
15.04.2014 DE-Jena, Cafe Wagner
16.04.2014 DE-Berlin, A-Trane
25.04.2014 CH-Basel, Jazzfestival Offbeat
16.05.2014 CH-Arbon, Kultur Cinema
02.06.2014 CH-Orsière, Fête de la musique
20.07.2014 CH-Gstaad, Menuhin Festival
14.08.2014 CH-Winterthur, Musikfestwochen



Disque du mois: Marc Perrenoud Trio “Vestry Lamento”

0608917112627_600Cet automne paraissait en Suisse Vestry Lamento, le troisième opus du pianiste Marc Perrenoud, un disque brillant, inspiré, fluide, lyrique….. Marc Perrenoud m’avait informée que le disque devait faire son apparition dans les bacs des disquaires français (un pays où il reste encore quelques disquaires….) en janvier. J’avais donc mis au frigo pendant trois mois mon enthousiasme, en prévision d’une critique “disque du mois” sur Seulement voilà, entre-temps, Vestry Lamento semble avoir séduit les journalistes de la terre entière, ou presque….

“It’s an 8-minute ride that makes you want to hit repeat as soon as it’s over”

A commencer par le saint des saints, le magazine américain Downbeat qui s’enflamme : “The title track opens the set with an incredible bass solo by Marco Müller that kicks off a high-wire groove. Müller and drummer Cyril Regamey lock the rhythm down tight, allowing Perrenoud to glide over the piano with extreme soul in his heart and classical chops in his fingertips. It’s an 8-minute ride that makes you want to hit repeat as soon as it’s over.“

03-Marc-SoloLes Allemands ne sont pas en reste qui affirment dans le dernier numéro de Jazzthetik: „Die Stücke auf Vestry Lamento finden Ruhepole. Sie treiben meist zügig voran, lassen den Zuhörer in leuchtende pianistische Klangfarben eintauchen – und haben dem Rezensenten beim Anhören schon viel treibenden Schwung und Wärme vor allem bei regnerischen Autofahrten durch die Dunkelheit gegeben.“  (Stefan Pieper)

“Même dans ses ballades, il parvient à vous décoiffer”

Quant au quotidien genevois Le Temps, dans son édition du 31 octobre 2013,  il expliquait: “Le pianiste genevois, 32 ans, laisse tomber ses phalanges de compétition, ses gammes à toute bombe: l’odeur du silence sans son goût pesant. Pour tout dire, Marc est un prodige. Parce que, même dans les ballades, il parvient à vous décoiffer.“ (Arnaud Robert).

” Vestry Lamento, c’est à la fois le mouvement vers l’orgasme et la redescente…”

Que dire après cette déferlante d’éloges? si ce n’est que Vestry Lamento n’est pas aussi compliqué que son nom pourrait le laisser supposer. Aux dires de son auteur les choses sont mêmes extrêmement simple: « Vestry Lamento, c’est à la fois le mouvement vers l’orgasme et la redescente…» Pour revenir à l’essentiel, Vestry Lemento est revenu à l’essence de bien des musiques: la gamme pentatonique. Virtuose sans avoir plus besoin de le montrer, Marc Perrenoud ose avancer à visage découvert, ose pousser à bout la puissance de son power trio, ose la mélancolie. Une musique qui ouvre des portes, tire des liens, embarque comme une lame de fond. Un disque vivement recommandé à toutes les oreilles, des spécialistes aux néophytes.

Vestry Lamento | Marc Perrenoud Trio – Télécharger et écouter l’album. Label Doublemoon

Prochains concerts et émissions de radio:

France Musique (F)  “Un mardi idéal”, mardi 21, 22 h 30

Munich (D), Unterfarht, 28.01.14

Berne (CH), Bejazz Club, 31.01.14.

Genève (CH), AMR, 01.02.14

Sion (CH), La Ferme Asile, 08.02.14

Paris (F), Le Duc des Lombards, 13.02.14

Rom Schaerer Eberle: At The Age of Six I Wanted To Be A Cook

artworks-000056794141-a88nt2-t500x500“At the Age of Six I wanted To be A Cook” by Rom Schaerer Eberle takes you gently by the hand into the landscape of childhood. There are lullabies oozing with ‘mother-love’, sounds of jumpy kids at play and simple, stare-into-space tracks. The achingly sweet vocal ‘stories’ of Royal Family are sung by Schaerer; his warm, steady tone flowing with imagined words whilst Eberle plays the horn with a simplicity that is both melancholic and uplifting. Rom caresses his guitar to sound different on every track whilst always creating spacious, considered and sensitive notes. At times you can almost see the coils of his A string as every scrape and pluck resonate.

Cooking the Books is a stand-out track with its robotic opening giving way to the most exquisite refrain of vibing guitar and melodic trumpet, echoed by Schaerer’s vocal-trumpet notes. Syncopated dabs of sparse rock-guitar and buzzing mouth harp serve to heighten the beauty of the theme; the guitar bending and entwining you with its longing. It holds you.

This is a well-blended trio, each echoing the others’ voices, never trying to dominate, but I missed the fizzing energy that comes with an extended solo. In Triple Prism, Schaerer explores higher vocal registers to ghostly effect but Eberle and Rom become a mere reflection as opposed to a solid presence.

I liked Eberle’s When I Was Seven I Wanted to be Napoleon, led with great panache by Schaerer’s Cabaret-style MC. The drunken slurs of Eberle’s trumpet and Rom’s guitar draw a George Grosz sketch of a flea-bitten bar with wrinkled, topless ‘dancers’ slouched on faded velvet, but again, I wanted it to go further. Lou is the final lullaby to tuck us up in bed, but sometimes I craved something more adult – where each musician had the freedom to delve into their wonderfully creative themes in a deeper and more explosive way.

“At the Age of Six I wanted To be A Cook” by Rom Schaerer Eberle  was released in September 2013 on JazzWerkstatt Records. Tour dates include:
Rom Schaere Eberle played Bern (CH), Beeflat, the 4th Dec, and London (UK), Vortex, 8th Dec
Next concert: Zurich (CH),  Moods, 12th Dec

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