Matsuno, Baumgärtner, Graugaard


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Chapter two of the intense and consummate jazz & rock & techno-driven, experimental affair that Danish avant-garde artist Lars Graugaard, young German modern jazz drummer Moritz Baumgärtner and experimental e-guitarist Keisuke Matsuno engaged in, on one day of September, 2016.

Baumgärtner contributes an expansive drumming style with lots of boom-and-room, but he also makes more delicate and psychedelic percussion figures somewhere between psychedelic and avant- garde. The electronic sounds are very varied and evolve throughout the album into electronic soundscapes of dark noise that are blended in with mysterious, sonic gestures of very different moods. And Matsuno tears out the most extravagant, distraught, unheard- within-the-unheard sounds from his instrument, all in the most virtuoso and enthralling playing style. A powerful display of three unique artists that heralds striking and unpredictable developments.

For the second time, back in 2016, Danish avant-garde artist Lars Graugaard, German modern jazz drummer Moritz Baumgärtner and experimental e-guitarist Keisuke Matsuno met for a single day’s sound-clashing and instrumental improvisation in a Berlin studio and here, just over two years later, is the output – fifty minutes of a relatively raw and spontaneous experimental fusion, split across five tracks with fairly different outlooks.

Tomorrow Never Comes is a haunted-house affair full of sharp strings, thick reverbs, sinister approaching bass pulses and distant eerie rumbles, while the short Grindle is a vignette of electronics-led dark jazz, while Blended Conurbation‘s more guitar-noodling orientation places it on the grittier side of prog rock.

Final and longest piece Keep Something On is more immersive, its own twenty-three minute ebb and flow which again skirts around prog rock but with glitching (that at times frankly sounds like a faulty CD-R read but probably isn’t) and some sporadic dives into deeper rumblier noise washes, before resolving into perhaps the most conventional structure of the set for a moody finale that seems to throw back to opener Wheefing The Hoofer.

Its certainly an interesting collaboration, one that would certainly bear interesting creative fruit if nurtured long-term, but as it is, the somewhat raw edge to it perhaps doesn’t work in its favour, but it’s still a bold experimental statement.

All composition by Keisuke Matsuno, Moritz Baumgärtner and Lars Graugaard

Recorded September 25, 2016 by Zodiaque Tonproduktion, at H2 Studios, Berlin
Recording engineers Markus Abendroth and Peter Thomas
Edit, mix and mastering by Lars Graugaard

Graphic design by Lars Graugaard

Crush is a multifaceted display of improvisation, and the second episode by this superb trio. Keisuke Matsuno on dysmorphic guitar features extreme timbre experiments that often makes the instrument unrecognizable. Moritz Baumgärtner on drums knows how to adapt to almost any situation with his experiences that goes from jazz and punk to indie and post-rock. Last but not least is Lars Graugaard with an electronic programming that practically makes him a soloist on the laptop, even if that it is just one of the many things that this Danish composer – class of ’57, is capable of, active as he is in both classical and contemporary music.

The five tracks on Crush are characterized by five different creative scenarios. In Wheefing the Hoofer Matsuno is the protagonist, and his guitar takes on an elastic aspect. Tomorrow Never Comes sees the constant presence of Graugaard, as he produces ragged and stinging sounds, like porcupine quills. The drums are initially light but somewhat agitated; then Baumgärtner generates a cascade of percussive sounds, whose natural reverberation add up with Graugaard’s artificial one. This creates a heavy, expressive cloak, as a feeling of oppression. Grindle is a hallucinating electronic loop, on which Moritz weaves a dense field that is dominated by his cymbals. Keisuke re-discovers himself just before the end: maybe he was already there, but on the track his guitar didn’t even seem to recognize itself! Yet on Blended Conurbation the guitar starts fully exposed with some elongated ethereal sounds, at times in reverse.

However, it is the last track, Keep Something On, with a duration of almost 24 minutes, that gives an idea of ​​the innumerable possibilities this trio holds. The guitar seems disturbed by the surrounding as it performs a demanding solo, but the ear is drawn to the timbral transformations under which the instruments seems to crumble. At 11:00 the drums eventually pick up a discernible rhythmic loop, as Graugaard flares up with some rapid waves and fragments of digital glass and manages not only the sound impulses, but also their reverberations and echoes, hereby lifting out of the overall sound and deflecting. At times it seems as if the track skips, like a dirty cd. But improvisation sets in here too, as the shapes of waves change and incorporate what would normally be characterized as ‘disorder’. And then it turns into something else again, for the final and quite undefinable six minutes. Because after all, “if you do not know what it is, it’s jazz”! But of the avant-garde kind. (Gilberto Ongaro)

Released as a three artist collaborational effort via Clang on October 12th, 2k18 is Crush, a new album recorded over the course of one day in September 2k16 in which Keisuke Matsuno, Moritz Baumgärtner and label head Lars Graugaard push forward into the realms of experimental music with five brand new tracks. The opener Wheefing The Hoofer totally starts to puzzle the listener with a highly experimental, 70s psychedelic take on what we only can describe as electric guitar meets modular electronics FreeJazz Improvisation, Tomorrow Never Comes is following up on a similarly psychedelic, yet more Blues meets dubbed out, ambient’esque PostRock orientated tip whereas the 144 seconds of Grindle provide an exciting, yet noisy variation of grinding, brain twisting Abstract Phonk / Illbient for those who know – or for those remembering projects like Zwei Tage Sauerstoff or 40 Sekunden Ohne Gewicht from a long gone past. Furthermore we see Blended Conurbation combine panoramic Ambient vibes with a fusion of Jazz and Rock drumming, tricky guitar works and haunted atmospheres before the final cut Keep Something On takes up nearly 24 minutes of the albums total runtime, filling these with an amalgamation of Isolationist Ambient, thundering background drums and distorted guitar feedback to make up the most intense and most thrilling track on this well-demanding album that is defo catering to a small, yet highly specialised audience.

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