Phosphor (Burkhard Beins, Alessandro Bosetti, Axel Dörner, Robin Hayward, Annette Krebs, Andrea Neumann, Michael Renkel, Ignaz Schick)

Label : Potlatch
Author : Phosphor (Burkhard Beins, Alessandro Bosetti, Axel Dörner, Robin Hayward, Annette Krebs, Andrea Neumann, Michael Renkel, Ignaz Schick)
Title : “Phosphor”
Format : CD

The eight-piece ensemble called Phosphor is something of a supergroup of Berlin-based improvisors of a generation born circa 1965. AMM is a likely reference-point, but I’m mostly struck by the contrasts between their aesthetics: Phosphor’s concentration on sound-as-event and on noise eliminates the processual, poetic quality of an AMM performance, in favour of a bleak and arbitrary soundworld largely defined by the shifting balance of static, held sounds and arbitrary, puncturing interventions. Even by the trompe l’oeil standards of free-improv, it’s remarkably hard to tell at any given moment how many people are playing and what instruments they’re using. Trumpeter Axel Dörner is already legendary for this kind of sonic extremism, and indeed there’s not a single sound on the album I can assign to him with any certainty. Presumably, like soprano saxophonist Alessandro Bosetti and tuba-player Robin Hayward, he is responsible for the stretches that sound like a gas leak or the workings of a furnace or boiler-room. (The other players are: Burkhard Beins, percussion; Annette Krebs and Michael Renkel, guitars; Andrea Neumann, “inside-piano, mixing desk” – the former, I gather, is the disassembled innards of a piano; and Ignaz Schick, electronics.) Nate Dorward l Coda l July 2002

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