Donnerstag, 13. Dezember 2012

The Cherry Thing (Remixes)

neneh cherry & the thing - The Cherry Thing (Remixes)

Four Tet, Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, Kim Hiorthoy, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, Nymph, Lasse Marhaug and more contribute remixes of Neneh Cherry & The Thing's (Mats Gustaffson, Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten) acclaimed covers LP 'The Cherry Thing'. Pushed to pick highlights, we'd point out Four Tet's cool interpolation of their Suicide version 'Dream Baby Dream'; a mysterious revision of Madvillain's 'Accordion' by Jim O'Rourke; the hyperjazz tension of Merzbow's mix to their re-do of Mats Gustaffson's 'Sudden Moment'; a brooding, honking take of their cover of The Stooges' 'Dirt' by Christof Kurzmann; the seething, barely repressed cosmic violence of Lasse Marhaug's Poole Blount Dub for their take on Don Cherry's 'Golden Heart'.!pl=da618cb7311f30aac3e5f13a67ad9f510da37a9a

el infierno musical review / fertile listening

Though I've only recently come across Christof Kurzmann's work, it stretches back to that early 90s post rock era. What do you say about someone who's projects have involved deconstructed re-workings of Robert Wyatt songs, electronica, long-form improvised pop music and musique concrète-inspired ambience? One recent work sees a clipped clarinet duet over programmed beats while someone sings dryly about their discovery / admiration of Eric Dolphy.

His latest, El Infierno Musical, brings together an international set of artists from wide-ranging traditions to record a suite of songs with lyrics translated from a mid-20th Century Argentinian poet born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. Confused yet? The album uses sound itself as an invisible glue between genres and techniques. The resonant scrape of a bow across a double bass merges in the space of your room with the clattering buzz droning from a laptop. The songs are sung with a sense of pop but shadowed closely by clarinet. I listened to the Infierno, both marvelling at it and wondering what exactly I was hearing.

Perhaps it's inevitable: we've only been recording music for a little over a century and we only very recently have access to so much of it so readily. I distinctly remember hearing an NPR report on how the Nonesuch label's introduction of field-and-world music recordings hit the Western music world with such shock in the late-60s / early-70s. By the 90s, it all still felt new; the tools and technologies (like samplers) were even newer. It could be that we are experiencing the first waves of musicians that are truly comfortable with both what the entire world of music has to offer as well as the tools with which we currently have to manipulate it.

Mittwoch, 3. Oktober 2012

Kaplan & Kurzmann @ Musikprotokoll im Steirischen Herbst / Graz

Leonel Kaplan & Christof Kurzmann

Foto Kurzmann und Kaplan
Die Zusammenarbeit des argentinischen Trompeters Leonel Kaplan und des österreichischen Elektronikers Christof Kurzmann beginnt im Jahre 2007. Aus der Reduktionisten- Szene Berlins kommend ist es für Kurzmann nur eine Frage der Zeit bis die beiden Gleichgesinnten einander begegnen. Kaplan, ist für seinen ausgeprägt minimalistischen Trompetenstil nicht nur in Lateinamerika bekannt und arbeitete bereits mit führenden internationalen Musikern wie Xavier Charles, Lê Quan Ninh, Axel Dörner oder Tetuzi Akiyama und Michel Doneda. Von 2007 arbeiten die beiden nun verstärkt als Duo, welches auch manchmal um die Saxophonisten Eden Carrasco (Chile), John Butcher (GB), den Bassisten George Cremaschi (USA) oder die Tänzerin Nicole Bindler (USA) erweitert wurde, verstärkt zusammen. Die Konzentration auf das vertikale Untersuchen von Sound und Stimmung ist dabei der gemeinsame Nenner. Bisher zwei Veröffentlichungen (2011 – Una Casa/Observatorio – Jardinista Records und 2012 – Casa Corp – Dromos Records) sowie zahlreiche Konzertaufnahmen Lateinamerika und Europa belegen die Nachhaltigkeit dieser Kooperation.


04/10/2012 - 23:30


  • Camp: Wohnzimmer

Dienstag, 21. August 2012

The Squid's Ear (El Infierno Musical by Kurt Gottschalk)

Christof Kurzmann
El Infierno Musical  
(Mikotron Recordings) 

review by Kurt Gottschalk
Christof Kurzmann's interest in song form in recent years has brought him to a number of unexpected places. In the duo Schnee with Burkhard Stangl, he has borrowed from Prince and Neil Diamond and as a part of the group The Magic I.D. has crafted some wonderfully hazy duets with singer / guitarist Margareth Kammerer. Whether new compositions or well-known tunes, Kurzmann and company have presented them in beautifully uncentered ways, as if they were vague memories of songs.
Kurzmann takes a similar approach now in what is a very different project and to great results. El Infierno Musical is a setting of six poems by the Argentian poet Alejandra Pizarnik, who led an accomplished life before willfully ending it at the age 36 in 1972. A Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, Pizarnik lived in Paris (where she worked as an editor for Les Lettres Nouvelles) and left behind eight volumes of poetry (two unpublished during her life).
Pizarnik's words are used here in service of the music, or seem to be at any rate. The phraseeology is so delicate that they tend to sit just behind the music, especially in Kurzmann's plaintive delivery. His scores are played by Ken Vandermdark (reeds), Eva Reiter (viola de gamba, contrabass recorder, dan bao), Clayton Thomas (bass) and Martin Brandlmayr (drums, vibraphone), with Kurzmann supplying saxophone, guitar and electronics. The music varies from seemingly open form improv to quiet, incidental music to easy grooves, with the verses interspersed irregularly, sometimes appearing as if to pull the threads of the music into a piece. If the poetry isn't dominant through all of the record, it seems clear that the moods it imparts are. Pizarnik's hand guides the proceedings even in absentia, to the extent that a fragment of the guitar solo from Janis Joplin's "Summertime" is heard in the distance during her poem "Para Janis Joplin."
It's hard to know how close the texts come to Pizarnik's original words, having been translated by the musicians — an assemblage of Austrians and Americans — themselves. It is of course possible that the translations are quite faithful but even if they aren't it doesn't seem entirely to matter. The album isn't a poetry journal, and ultimately it comes off like a dramatic audio work inspired by the sad beauty of Pizarnik's lines. Near the end, she herself appears, in her native tongue and through the filter of a decades old recording. As she recites her "Ashes II," she sounds somehow comfortable with the goings-on.

The Squid's Ear
review by Kurt Gottschalk

Orpheus in the Underworld (El Infierno Musical by Ed Pinsent)


Orpheus in the Underworld

Christof Kurzmann attempts grand things on El Infierno Musical (MIKROTON RECORDINGS CD 20). He composed all the music, plays electronics, saxophone and guitar, and sings all the lyrics where they appear; these words were written by the Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, and translated into English with the help of Cecilia Rojo. The aural experience is rich – an unpredictable melange of jazz, free jazz, improvisation, chamber music, blues, pop music and rock music, sometimes given a vaguely medieval / Renaissance flavour by the viola da gamba playing of Eva Reiter, who also plays the contrabass recorder on a couple of tracks. Plus the whole package is contextualised with images sampled from the “Hell” panel of Bosch’s famous Garden of Earthly Delights triptych.
Many musicians may have commented on, been struck by or even dreamed of making a concept album about this “musical Hell” proposed by Bosch, where sinners are punished in amongst a ghastly cacophony of archaic musical instruments, some of which are changed by the diabolical agency into engines of torture. I should point out that Kurzmann is not explicitly intending to do any of the above either, and only the title of this suite has any consonance with the Bosch painting, of which we see a Photoshopped variant provided by the visual artists Jimmy Draht and Stefan Haupt. The main aim of the work is to pay tribute to the poetess Pizarnik, a collection of whose writings also appeared under the title El Infierno Musical and indeed prompted Kurzmann, who purchased said volume almost by accident from a street seller while drinking coffee in Buenos Aires, to found the quintet of this name in 2008.
Musically this album is strong and convincing, even if not as chaotic as anything with a Bosch cover ought to be, and while the individual players – e.g. saxman Ken Vandermark, drummer Martin Brandlmayr – perform with authority, I sometimes find the package a shade too mannered and contrived for my tastes. Kurzmann is the sort of musical catholic who has no problem in mixing different vernaculars, styles and genres in his musical statements, often doing so in the same breath, if he decides that’s what is called for. The main stumbling block for me is Kuzmann’s rather effete voice, which recites rather than sings the lyrical content, and always sounds breathless or on the verge of tears as he negotiates another corny-sounding flattened fifth. So far this prevents me from reaching the core meaning of the work, which is probably encoded more into the poetry than in the music. Still, one needs to persevere with work of this complexity and depth. Don’t let my meagre prejudices prevent you from hearing this extremely unusual and distinctive piece of work. This arrived 31 January from a label based in Moscow.

The Sound Projector
July 1, 2012

Dienstag, 10. Juli 2012

Video: Made To Break

Made to Break en el 43 Voll-Damm Festival Internacional de Jazz de Barcelona (Luz de Gas, 2011). Ken Vandermark, Tim Daisy, Christof Kurzmann, Devin Hoff.
2 Concerts With Made To Break

  Ken Vandermark [tenor saxophone, clarinet]
  Christof Kurzmann [ppooll]
  Tim Daisy [drums]
  Devin Hoff [double bass]

Thursday, July 19th @ A L'ARME! FESTIVAL Berlin / Germany


El Infierno Musical - review by Julien Héraud

El Infierno Musical - A tribute to Alejandra Panzarnik (Mikroton, 2011)
Encore plus surprenant que le duo Davies/Wastell:  le dernier projet de Christof Kurzmann, El Infierno Musical, hommage à la grande poète argentine, Alejandra Pizarnik. Le groupe est composé de Kurzmann à la voix, électronique (et saxophone alto puis guitare électrique sur deux pistes), Ken Vandermark au saxophone ténor, à la clarinette et à la clarinette basse, Eva Reiter à la viole de Gambe, Clayton Thomas à la contrebasse et Martin Brandlmayr à la batterie et au vibraphone. Chacun de ces musiciens est célèbre dans les milieux du free jazz et du réductionnisme, mais El Infierno Musical, contre toute attente, est un recueil de chansons tirées de l’œuvre éponyme de Pizarnik.

Évidemment, c'est plutôt déroutant au départ: Kurzmann scande des poèmes, les rythmiques sont discrètes, simples et précises, les solos de Vandermark sont très lyriques et mélodieux, la basse retrouve sa fonction harmonique et accompagnatrice, etc. A considérer cette suite comme une œuvre expérimentale, on ne peut que difficilement s'enthousiasmer, car Kurzmann utilise dans son écriture des langages connus de tous, plus qu'un pied de nez à l'improvisation non-idiomatique. Cependant, il faut considérer, il me semble, EIM comme une suite de chanson avant tout, et c'est à partir de ce point de vue que leur intérêt peut apparaître. Extérieurement à la musique, c'est déjà plus que surprenant d'entendre la plupart de ces musiciens interpréter des chansons, c'en est même presque ahurissant tellement on était habitué à autre chose. Quant à la musique, en-dehors de la voix de Kurzmann que je n'apprécie pas particulièrement, ça m'a paru très rafraichissant d'utiliser des techniques de jeux et d'écritures propres aux musiques improvisées (jazz, réductionnisme, free jazz) comme des improvisations collectives, des chorus où chaque instrument peut quitter sa fonction traditionnelle, aux musiques improvisées mais également à certaines musiques populaires (chanson, rock) comme des mesures en 4/4, des ostinatos, etc. Un grand coup de frais pour la chanson, mais surtout un pari très risqué pour ce type de musiciens qui n'arrivera pas forcément à convaincre leurs admirateurs habituels. En tout cas, l'accompagnement musical est simple, sobre, humble mais effectué avec précision, attention et sérieux, tandis que les séquences plus improvisées sont interprétées avec personnalité et chaleur.

Pour ce premier vinyle sur le label Mikroton (également disponible en CD), Kurzmann a su produire une musique très surprenante, et innovante, en revenant paradoxalement à une musique traditionnelle. Je ne pense pas que Panzarnik ait connu le free jazz, ni si elle était amatrice de musiques improvisées au sens large, donc au premier abord, ça me paraît judicieux de lui rendre hommage sous la forme de chansons tout en utilisant des techniques personnelles et créatives. Un album osé, franc, et aventureux - à sa manière - si simple, chaleureux et honnête qu'il pourrait paraître provocant... A l'image du collage influencé par Bosch qui orne la pochette: une curiosité!

Tracklist: 1-El infierno musical / 2-Ashes I / 3-Dianas tree / 4-Para Janis Joplin / 5-Cold in hand blues / 6-Ashes II

Dienstag, 12. Juni 2012

Great Radioshow on "Radio Nacional Español" about Alejandra Pizarnik and "El Infierno Musical" (spanish)

Montag, 23. April 2012

my concerts in april:

10.04. Galeria Elsi Del Rio, Buenos Aires, Argentina (with Leonel Kaplan)
17.04. - 25.04. Residency at EMS Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
20.04. Culturen, Box 1, Västerås, Sweden (with Sofia Jernberg)
24.04. Fylkingen, Stockholm, Sweden (duo with Sofia Jernberg and Quartet with Sten Sandell, David David Stackenäs & Joe Williamson
27.04. Jazzatelier, Ulrichsberg, Austria (with Leonel Kaplan & John Butcher)
29.04. Nadalokal, Wien, Austria (with Leonel Kaplan & John Butcher)

Samstag, 17. März 2012

Ken Vandermark & Christof Kurzmann - Brasil, March 2012

Ken Vandermark & Christof Kurzmann - Brasil, March 2012

24.03. São Paulo - Duo @ CCSP
25.03. São Paulo - with Thomas Rohrer, Panda Gianfratti and Mauricio Takara @ Serralheria
26.03. Porto Alegre - Duo @ StudioClio also: Dias | Rieger | Armani
27.03. Florianopolis - Duo @ Sol da Terra

Samstag, 11. Februar 2012

Soundofmusic Review

soundofmusic review of el infierno musical:

Av: Magnus Nygren

[otrampat] Än en gång leder österrikaren Christof Kurzmann in oss på okända och tidigare otrampade stigar. Som elektronist bottnar han i den så kallade elektro-akustiska improvisationen där subtilitet är ett av de bärande begreppen. Men i flera grupper såsom The Magic ID, The Year Of och duon med Burkhard Stangl har han arbetat med mer eller mindre tydliga influenser av pop och struktur. Som en av få inom improvisationsmusiken visar han också stort intresse för sångformen. Så också i gruppen El Infierno Musical där han hyllar den argentinska poeten Alejandra Pizarnik som enbart 36 år gammal tog sitt liv i en överdos 1972. Det är hennes texter som används på skivan, sjungna och lästa av Kurzmann, men också med en ljudupptagning av Pizarnik själv i ”Ashes II”. Men musiken är inte en fond för lyriken och det är heller inte tvärtom, istället står de där, texter och klanger, jämbördiga och kompletterande. De lyfter varandra. Och det är fan i mig briljant! Det vandrar mellan abstrakt improvisation och tydliga komponerade stycken fyllda av mystik och rytm. Nyfikenheten smittar av sig. Vem var Pizarnik? Varför var hon så sorgsen? Varför tog hon livet av sig? är frågor jag ställer mig. Men musiken är också fylld av överraskningar, ett exempel är det ihärdiga elgitarrsolot på ”Cold in hand Blues”, blåsaren Ken Vandermarks medverkan överhuvudtaget är ett annat – och jag är väldigt positiv. Han är sig själv, yvigt spelar han både tenorsax och klarinetter – men i en annan och mer intressant miljö än brukligt. Martin Brandlmayr är sofistikerad i vanlig ordning, oerhört exakt och sparsmakad både på trummor och vibrafon. Övriga musiker är Eva Reiter på i huvudsak viola da gamba och fenomenale Clayton Thomas på bas. Skivan är utgiven av det Moskvabaserade bolaget Mikroton. Mina allra varmaste rekommendationer!
internet translation into german:
Erneut führende österreichische Christof Kurzmann uns hinunter ungewohnte Wege und vorbei an einem neuen Platz bei. Als er elektronist Böden der sogenannten elektro-akustische Improvisation, wo Subtilität ist eine der Gründung Konzepte. Aber in mehreren Gruppen wie The Magic ID, The Year Of und dem Duo mit Burkhard Stangl, hat er mit mehr oder weniger offensichtliche Einflüsse aus Pop und Struktur gearbeitet. Als einer der wenigen in der improvisierten Musik zeigt er auch großes Interesse in Liedform. So auch in der Gruppe El Infierno Musical, wo er eine Hommage an den argentinischen Dichter Alejandra Pizarnik nur 36 Jahre alt beging Selbstmord in einer Überdosis 1972. Es ist ihre Texte auf dem Album verwendet, gesungen und gelesen von Kurzmann, sondern auch mit einer Audio-Aufnahme von Pizarnik sich in "Ashes II". Aber Musik ist nicht ein Fonds für die Texte, und es ist nicht das Gegenteil, anstatt sie dort zu stehen, Texte und Klänge, gleich und komplementär. Sie heben sich gegenseitig. Und es ist verdammt gut, gonna brilliant! Es wandert zwischen abstrakten Improvisation und klar komponierte Stücke voller Geheimnisse und Rhythmus. Neugier ist ansteckend. Wer war Pizarnik? Warum war sie so traurig? Warum hat sie umgebracht? sind Fragen, frage ich mich. Aber auch Musik ist voller Überraschungen, ein Beispiel für die anhaltende elektrische Gitarrensolo auf "Cold in Hand Blues" ist, ist das Gebläse Ken Vandermarks Beteiligung an allen anderen - und ich bin sehr positiv. Er selbst ist, buschig, spielt er sowohl Tenor-Saxophon und Klarinetten - aber in einer anderen Umgebung und interessanter als üblich. Martin Brandlmayr ist anspruchsvoll, wie üblich, extrem präzise und zurückhaltend sowohl auf Schlagzeug und Vibraphon. Andere Musiker, Frau Reiter in erheblichen Viola da Gamba und phänomenalen Clayton Thomas am Bass. Die Scheibe wird von der in Moskau ansässigen Firma Mikroton ausgestellt. Meine wärmsten Empfehlungen!

Freitag, 3. Februar 2012

Vital Weekly Kritik

A new and remarkable release by Christof Kurzmann. This one made me really wonder. Where the hell am I? The music is so strange or making feel strange and uneasy, that I found myself uncomfortable at moments. But all this within the limits of an engaging musical experience. Earlier work by Kurzmann has been released on his own Charhizma label, as well as Erstwhile, Potlatch, etc. His musical output shows that it is not only geographically difficult to situate him. Electropop, new music, improvisation are equally interesting for him. He lives mainly in Buenos Aires nowadays. This may explain why this new release is dedicated to Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik who died in 1972. The finishing piece ‘Ashes II’ contains an extended sample of her voice, reading – I suppose – one of her poems. As said, it is all together a cd of very strange music, although the music is not extraordinary demanding or far out. Not at all, I find it even a bit outdated on some moments. But often it is bizarre and full of unexpected combinations. And amidst of this we have the fragile voice of Kurzmann, who also plays alto sax, electronics and electric guitar. The rest of the crew: Ken Vandermark (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet), Eva Reiter (viola da gamba, contrabass recorder, dan bao), Clayton Thomas (bass) and Martin Brandlmayr (drums, vibraphone). The opening piece has an intimate atmosphere. It is a captivating sound work where different textures are connected into one whole. Electronic-dominated sound patterns combined with improvised sax playing, and the voice of Kurzmann reading a poem. As in the other pieces the musicians demonstrate an interesting combination of electronics and acoustical instruments plus voice. The music shows many different faces often in one piece: ‘Para Janis Joplin’ starts from free improvisation, and continues halfway with a melodic theme that sounds very medieval. Kurzmann seems to be an expert in combining very different musical elements. Interesting stuff (DM).

Dienstag, 24. Januar 2012

Sabu Toyozumi & Guests

Sábado 28 de enero, 21hs


El Archibrazo,

Mario Bravo 437, Abasto

Sabu Toyozumi (batería, Japón)

+ músicos invitados

Christof Kurzmann + Luis Conde (saxos y clarinetes)

Wenchi Lazo y Fernando Perales (guitarras)

Adrián Fanello (contrabajo).

Sabu Toyozumi es un destacado improvisador japonés, que con la batería, percusión y Er-Hu, con sus diversas formas de ejecución y accesorios, pinta cuadros sonoros de belleza comparable a los emakis de su tierra natal. Durante su carrera ha tocado y grabado con destacadas figuras internacionales del área de la improvisación libre y la experimentación sonora, tales como: Kaoru Abe, Misha Mengelberg, Peter Brötzman, Han Bennink, Derek Bailey, Paul Rutherford, Steve Beresford, Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith, John Russell y muchos otros.

A sus 68 años a realizado múltiples giras por distintos lugares del planeta como Brasil, Filipinas, Europa, Estados Unidos e Indonesia. Esta ocasión será la primera que lo traerá a tierras argentinas del 25 al 28 de enero, lo cual es sin duda un hecho inédito e irrepetible.

Freistil Kritik - El Infierno Musical



mikroton / Metamkine / rec: 09

Christof Kurzmann (voc, e, as, g), Ken Vandermark (ts, bcl, cl), Eva Reiter (gambe), Clayton Thomas (b), Martin Brandlmayr (dr, vib)

Ein Dreamteam hat sich der Wiener Christof Kurzmann, dessen zweites Standbein in Buenos Aires steht, hier zusammengestellt. Damit begibt er sich auf die Spuren der argentinischen Dichterin Alejandra Pizarnik, deren Originalstimme übrigens auf dem letzten Track „Ashes II“ gesampelt wird. Die Livepremiere beim Welser unlimited-Festival funktionierte schon ganz gut, auf dieser CD klappt alles wie am Schnürchen. Sämtliche Rezitationen und die sie umfließenden Songs glänzen vor erheblicher Schönheit. Den Rahmen bildet eine Art freier Kammermusik, die perfekt ausbalanciert und instrumentiert klingt. Hinten steht unbeugsam das musikalische Rückgrat, bestehend aus Kontrabass (Clayton Thomas), Perkussion (Martin Brandlmayr) und Viola da Gamba (Eva Reiter). Vorne brillieren Kurzmanns prägnante Stimme und die sagenhaft sensiblen Saxofon- u. Klarinettensoli Ken Vandermarks. Eine besonders gelungene Produktion, ein flammendes Inferno. (felix)

Montag, 9. Januar 2012

out now: "El Infierno Musical" LP/CD on mikroton,178

"El Infierno Musical"

a homage to Alejandra Pizarnik

1. El Infierno Musical

2. Ashes I

3. Dianas Tree

4. Para Janis Joplin

5. Cold In Hand Blues

6. Ashes II



Christof Kurzmann vocals, electronics, alto saxophone, electric guitar

Ken Vandermark tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet

Eva Reiter viola da gamba, contrabass recorder, dan bao

Clayton Thomas bass

Martin Brandlmayr drums, vibraphone

Alejandra Pizarnik lyrics

By inevitable coincidence, a street vendor in Buenos Aires became an instrument of providence, when he compelled attention of Christof Kurzmann, sitting outside a coffeehouse. His merchandise were small books of Hispanic writers, and the chosen one that ended up in the buyer’s pocket some six years ago was a collection of poems by Argentinean poet Alejandra Pizarnik. Her works abound with music and sounds or absence of it, appreciating silence. For Kurzmann, this served as a sufficient reason to dive into her writings, which resulted in releasing El Infierno Musical: a tribute to Alejandra Pizarnik in the fall of 2011. In accordance with the name of her book, inspired by a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, the eponymous disc uses The Garden of Earthly Delights on its cover.

El Infierno Musical as a quintet started back in 2008 thanks to a wild card given to Kurzmann as a birthday present by the organizers of Music Unlimited festival in Wels, Austria, which hosted its official premiere.

When Kurzmann was looking for musicians to join his project, the first invited was Martin Brandlmayr, an unmistakeable drummer and percussionist, based in Vienna. Be it in duo with Nicolas Bussmann (Kapital Band 1) or with another drummer Burkhard Beins in the influential international group Polwechsel, or in yet other renowned bands such as Radian, Trapist and Autistic Daughters, you’ll recognize him playing at any rate. Inconspicuous, yet amazingly complex repetitive rhythms in rather low dynamics but rich scale belong to his characteristic style of play, which holds also for El Infierno Musical.

The next member is saxophonist, clarinettist and composer Ken Vandermark, markedly renowned especially in free jazz circles. He is one of the most active free jazz and free impro players today. Past groups of significance include the Vandermark 5, Powerhouse Sound, DKV Trio, the Territory Band, AALY, the Vandermark Quartet, FME, and School Days. Currently, the majority of his work as a composer and improviser has been developed in Made To Break (in which Kurzmann appears as his sideman), Side A, Platform 1, Free Fall, and the Resonance Ensemble. In addition, he works on a regular basis with the total improvisation units Sonore, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, separate duos with the percussionists Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy, Lean Left, iTi, and Fire Room. Each year brings additional new projects and collaborations, which expand the range of his work of which El Infierno Musical is an outstanding example.

Eva Reiter is without doubt one of the most active and diverse interpreters in Austria. The recorder and viola da gamba player is also very active as a composer, focusing especially on the field of contemporary music. Characteristic for Eva Reiter's compositional work of recent years is the exploration of the fine line between acoustic and electronic music. Awarded as a composer with the "publicity prize" of the SKE, promotional prize of the City of Vienna in 2008, the Queen Marie José International Composition Prize 2008 and many other promotions. Selected works for the Rostrum of Composers (IRC) 2009. Eva Reiter's compositions were performed at international festivals such as Transit/Leuven, Ars Musica in Brussels, ISCM World New Music Festival 2006/Stuttgart, generator and Wien Modern/Vienna Konzerthaus and others. She regularly performs at renowned festivals of classical and contemporary music. Currently, numerous concerts as a soloist and performances with various baroque orchestras (including De Nederlandse Bachvereenigung), Ensemble Mikado, Le Badinage, Unidas and ensembles for contemporary music (Ictus, Klangforum Wien, Trio Elastic3, Duo BAND and others).

Inspired by the sound, velocity and social movements of jazz, Clayton Thomas has dedicated his musical life to finding a personal truth that links his own cultural life as a white Australian, with the radical, far reaching pursuits found within the creative music. What he can’t find as a bass player, he searches for in the organisation of unreasonably large ensembles as the berlin verion of the 24 bodied Splitter Orchester. Thoughtful and virtuosic prepared double bass playing has taken Europe by storm since moving there from Sydney in 2007 – part groove cannon, part kinetic sculpture. Clayton Thomas plays key role in many other projects like power trio Ames Room or Anthony Pateras‘s quintet Thymolphtalein.

Christof Kurzmann is a musician and composer who expresses himself mainly with a laptop, clarinet and voice, subtly outspread between electro pop and improvisation. His recordings include discs released on his own label Charhizma (e.g. Dafeldecker/Kurzmann/Fennesz) as well as on many other important labels, such as Potlatch (The Big Misunderstanding Between Hertz and Megahertz with John Butcher), Erstwhile Records (Schnee with Burkhard Stangl or Aso with Ami Yoshida), Staubgold (The Magic ID’s I’m So Awake / Sleepless I Feel), Mikroton (Hammeriver), Musica Genera, Syntactic, Morr etc.

He has already proven how good he is in composing samples instead of notations (e.g. Neuschnee, I’m So Awake / Sleepless I Feel), but this time he shows a breathtaking mastery.

The album brings a clear structure filled with improvised parts, masterly played by perfectly coordinated musicians, who take advantage of their miscellaneous musical histories and styles. Were we to analyse the whole in bits and pieces, we would find a variety of genres, but all has been put together in a close dramaturgy that makes the songs cyclical and indescribable in terms of genre. Not only the musical idea evolves here, it is also subject to metamorphoses in several blocks, often counterpoint, which bring about its final appearance in its pure form again. A good example of this process is Diana’s Tree, which has a dramatic peak in free jazz performance, but evolves from lyrical tonal melodies played by clarinet over elliptic recurrent drum figure, followed by a sudden cut and a country music allusion, then free jazz and then back, again and again in blocks. Cold in Hand Blues can serve as another example, beginning with a dialogue of drums and double bass, used percussively, joined by saxophone and voices after a while. Voices, male and female, interact and create a dramatic effect. Sudden entry of the dan bao (an Vietnamese single-stringed violin) in rock dynamics brings a palpable relieving that refers to the function of genre shifts within the compositions. Voice (from singing, declamation to plain speaking) as a crucial formational element with a dramatic potential comes forth especially in the last track, Ashes II, when the imaginary stage is entered by the dead poet herself: recording of her voice is subsequently „commented“ by Kurzmann.

Characteristic features of El Infierno Musical include genre fusions, ellipsis, ostination, timbre and shifting. A truly great album realized with a superb sound thanks to Viennese sound magician Christoph Amann. (Petr Vrba)