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



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