Bassist Christian Weber, drummer Christian Wolfarth, and guitarist/electronic musician Tomas Korber are amongst the most consistently intriguing improvisers these days. Korber has been establishing himself in richly nuanced collaborations with musicians like Günter Müller, ErikM, Jason Kahn, and Graham Halliwell. Weber and Wolfarth work in settings as diverse as a piano trio with Michel Wintsch, a reed trio with Urs Leimgruber, and Weber's ensemble 3 Suits & A Violin with Hans Koch, Michael Moser, and Martin Siewert. All three also have strong solo recordings out. Listening to their trio Mersault is somewhat akin to listening to a great jazz trio working in the timbral space of electro acoustic improvisation. Raymond & Marie, their second release, builds off of their unique blend of sonorities. Weber's acoustic bass provides the resonant scaffolding for the long-form collective pieces, whether laying down waves of overtone-rich arco or plucking insistently repeated notes that pile up with tensile dynamism. His abstract placement of sound within the constructs of pulse, drone, and measured density has a stark elegance.
Wolfarth stretches the use of wholly unamplified or electronically modified percussion into the realm of pure synthesized sound. He moves around the flow of the improvisations with carefully modulated craggy details. Without ever defining a pulse, he shapes trajectory with the whine of bowed cymbals, the gritty static of scuffed drum heads, and delicate pattering gestures. Korber places his scumbled electronic textures, feedback stabs, and frayed loops with a masterful sense of pace and transparency. The first, 30-minute piece floats on an unhurried current of kaleidoscopic layers. The second, 19-minute piece builds with a more purposeful intensity, goaded by Weber's tolling of a repeated bass note which mounts a disquieting drama. The final piece starts with hushed organic clicks and hisses, like a field at night, and builds a dynamic fervor with dense bowed bass, rattling percussion, and piercing electronics that ebb, release, and then slowly build to a climactic burst of tattered textures and feedback. This is one of the better releases of the year and well worth searching out.

Michael Rosenstein
Touching Extremes
Signal to Noise #50
Summer 2008