With releases by groups like Trapist, eRikm & Fennesz, and Polwechsel, Hatology has shown an ongoing interest in the intersections of electronics and improvisation.
Christian Weber’s name keeps popping up in a variety of different contexts lately: as bassist with the WWU piano trio playing pieces by Carla Bley, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin; as part of the electro-acoustic trio Mersault along with Tomas Korber and Christian Wolfarth; or as a member of the most recent version of the Swiss out-jazz group Day & Taxi along with Christoph Gallio and Marco Käppeli, to name just a few. This release is Weber’s first as a leader and he has assembled a mix of collaborators from the Swiss and Austrian improv circles. The choice of cellist Michael Moser (one of the key members of Polwechsel) and Martin Siewert are a natural fit for these brooding soundscapes. Weber works regularly with drummer Christian Wolfarth, and Wolfarth effectively layers in his timbral and textural approach to the drum kit, filling out the dense improvisations with shadow pulses, bowed cymbal shrieks, and shimmering metallic washes. The unusual choice here is reed player Hans Koch, who usually works in more expressionistic free improv contexts like his long-running trio with Martin Schütz and Fredy Studer, or
Barry Guy’s recent New Orchestra. The sixpieces use similar strategies, collectively building unsettled striations of sound anchored by the sonic weight of the leader’s bass and Moser’s cello which are mixed with a reverberant resonance. The improvisations progress with a sense of slowly churning collective motion bereft of linear activity or pulsing momentum. Siewert’s ringing chords and Koch’s breathy gestural flutters, multiphonics, and pad pops float through the dream-like drift of drones, buzzes, string overtones and harmonics, and percussive ghost scrapes and shredded textures. While some of the pieces get a bit lost in the formalism of Weber’s structures, the 16-minute 'Frogmouth' builds to an arching crescendo that brings out a dynamism to the collective sound. Here the piece slowly mounts from Koch’s piercing reed scribbles to a palpable rumbling hum threaded through with the blustering squall of bowed gongs, turbulent amplified strings, and buffeting electronics.
Label-head Werner Uehlinger has shown through the years that is willing to stick by musicians and foster their growth. This release shows that Weber is a leader full of ideas and someone well worth that investment.

Michael Rosenstein
Signal to Noise
Signal to Noise #44
Winter 2006