An album as an analogy: Played with the swing and intensity of a Coltrane record.

An important part of reviewing music comprises of finding adequate categories. This however, does not apply to Mersault. Questions like “Is it Jazz?”, “Can it be called experimental” or “How does it compare to the backcatalogue of these fine Swiss gentlemen?” do not make sense with regards to this trio. Why? Because Raymond & Marie is not just a piece of music.

That’s right: This album is an analogy. Admittedly, this sounds pretentious at first. It may even sound slightly absurd, as Raymond & Marie can simply be enjoyed without any of this nitpicking. Tomas Korber, Christian Weber and Christian Wolfarth have developed a way of interacting which suggests they could not separate their own contribution from the input of the other group members even if they wanted to.

It is almost, as if Korber were holding his ear directly over Wolfarth’s drumset, and as if the latter were closing his eyes to catch every vibration of Weber’s double bass, who in turn watches every motion, movement and microscopic gesture of
Korber on guitar and electronics in order toanticipate and welcome it. Consequently, this, their second record, a live cut, as it seems, doesn’t even sound as though it were improvised, but like a minutely planned composition played with the Swing and intensity of a Coltrane record.

Which brings us immediately to the aforementioned second layer of appreciation. Raymond & Marie effectively emulates the workings of a gigantic welding plant. This does not automatically mean it is an industrial album – distortion and extremeness noise are used only sparsely and always behind a curtain of gauze. What it does mean is that the trio searches for the exactness, efficiency and power of a factory, for the telepathic understanding, mutual trust and unreal coldness between its workers, for the spatial vastness of the machine halls, their blinding lights and infinite stretches of darkness.

Korber’s PC spouts out streams of eery, aggressive, shreeking and moaning sounds. Wolfarth produces scouring and scrubbing effects as well as nervous yet precisely timed tapping signals with his fingers and drum sticks. Weber, finally, treats his strings with a bow for deep resonances or plucks them for one-note-messages, which he stoically repeats, until all logic looses itself in a mysterious morse code.
The metaphor of a musical object running though various production stages is stressed thanks to the quick changes in scenerie. The first of three untitled tracks especially takes its audience on a furious ride. At around the twenty minute mark, the idee fixe behind the album suddenly hatches into physical reality from the shell of an impulse drone: As if  an aeroplane were hovering right above, the plot thickens, the pressure increases, more and more sharp and sizzling noises trickle in from the left and the right, the rhythm gets more and more insistent, like a a shaman beating his drums in a frenzied trance, the beat gets wilder and the music sweaps itself up in an unprecedented act of self-flagellation, as a real factory breaks through the surface of its musical approximation.

After that, you really don’t want to start philosophical discussions, you want to jum up from your seat. Or maybe dote on the aptness of the artwork and the exquisite, slender carton box holding the CD. If you really insist, though, I’m happy to say this much: It’s an impressive addition to the discography of these fine Swiss gentlemen. And it’s not Jazz, but it sure feels like it.

Tobias Fischer
January 2008