Syntopia Quartet | Mars | Nemu Records

nemu records 001

Albrecht Maurer – violin, gotic fidel | Claudio Puntin – clarinet, bassclarinet | Dieter Manderscheid – double bass | Klaus Kugel – percussion, sound objects

Recorded & mixed by Albrecht Maurer, August 2003. Mastered by Rainhard Kobialka, Topas Studio. Graphic Design & Photos by Christiane Resch. Produced by Albrecht Maurer & Klaus Kugel.

All compositions by Maurer, Puntin, Manderscheid, Kugel. Except * by Maurer.

Tracklist: 1. Goodbye Earth [6:42] 2. Chryse Planitia [4:37] 3. Tempe Terra* [5:38] 4. Elysium Planitia [5:52] 5. Valles Marineris [6:07] 6. Olympus Mons* [11:45] 7. Newton Basin [7:47] 8. Chasma Boreale [8:18] 9. Back to Earth [6:52] Total Time: [64:16]

Goodbye Earth

WE have landed in a musical world as diverse as the red planet itself. A syn/thesis of musical ideas & ideals presented in an almost U-topia-n way filtered thru strings & reeds, all the while being quietly supported by a backbone of stalwart percussion. Quiet fire. Harmonious disorder. (Tempe Terra/Elysium ala plush basins of gravity’s demise).

Adopting the urgent & genteel patterns of “modern/classical” composition.

All the players involved in this ensemble, Maurer, Puntin, Manderscheid & Kugel share an empathic understanding of the material presented on this cd. A music of main motion post/poning suspending time indefinitely, amending the primary purpose of source by extending the limits of order while recreating vocabularies. Debating with the un-debatable while dealing with the highest frequencies jumpy jittery moros micro-spaciality thought provoking yet witty… ah when i was a child those old crazy cardboard Flash Gordon shows really got me: MING the MERCILESS on the planet MONGOL. the MOLE MEN. i knew that everything that flew was suspended by wire. i laughed at the over-kill but always believed that Flash would get out of the jam & save Dale and Happy. & i always believed his innocent love for Dale & her’s for him was the only real thing in the script… excuse me i diverted course /// this music made me yearn for my childhood. Made me nostalgic for the b&w 17 inch t.v. & that’s a good thing right now in the world of the future. Dale Arden a pretty thing she were.

Now back to the program in progress. The rich chasm that is Borialis >

? almost mesmerizing this 2nd piece (Chryse Planitia) a bit scary like i am myself walking on air on the surface of Mars with my oxygen making me giddy & Newton’s apple floating somewhere above my hungry mouth just out of reach. This third dance (Tempe Terra) causes me to smile as i write. The low tones the ancient fiddle contains. Warm transmissions. Bodies falling & floating in space. Here where we are suspended on this globe colliding arrested here in place yet quietly rol-(e)ling along with a recognized purpose. We must save the QUEEN of GRAsses as she is whisked away and rushed thru the newly blown leaves> this 4th piece (Elysium Planitia) begins like the beloved cello suites of Johann B. We must try in small ways to save this planet we are married to. Green planet making us jumpy like the music as it yearns for the alps on a cold spring night where the gold’s a triumphant liberator & the sky’s a grey storm. (Valles Marineris). There is no vacancy. No delay. No decline. No absence. No simple equation. Just an innocent stab at beauty & a chance to serenade the flock. Only a willingness to perform the act of MUSIC / no subsidiary speeches extracted from the long sojourns / no unneeded competitions / no tawdry debates > this is a well tempered ensemble concerned only with give & take & equal sharing of voices always aware of each other /always willing to generously yield when necessary ? ah such a pleasant trip to space i’ve had without ever leaving this room without ever fearing what monsters i might find waiting for me on the red planet’s surface in its craters and seas… This 6th track (Olympus Mons) calls me with its bell tells me it is time to sleep the lush quiet engulfs me with its portending drone/ then i am jarred awake and reminded once again that even when we sleep we must stay alert. That even as we dream morning is turning itself over again.

Track 7 (Newton Basin) starts me on my wanderings again. Crooked funny trails to nowhere/land where everything is coming up carpets & fish & ecstasy & grapes & oranges & hellos & yawns & quieting hypnotic sensibilities leading us under the belly-fast nibbled surface of a vast body of clarity & confusion (track 8 – Chasma Boreale) where we see that infinite is not about #s but is about how many circles the breath can

make while warbling like a bird on a cat/gut fence. As we realize once again that this is about US this Syntopia. These final solitary strains of melody & night bringing us Back to Earth.

Yet suddenly the desperate cries of a soul in pain remind me again that, tho tired, i am still & always AWAKE. – by Steve Dalachinsky nyc 4/05


CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)

$ 16.00
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One thought on “Syntopia Quartet | Mars | Nemu Records

  1. This quasi Third Stream/free jazz/chamber jazz offering is the inaugural release from Germany’s NEMU Records. With superior sound engineering enhacing the project, the strings-reeds-rhythm unit pursues minimalism, tightly structured thematic forays and adroit improvisational exercises. Many of these works are fabricated upon multi-part time divisions and the band’s excellent use of depth and space. The musicians generate sweet tones and diminutive phrasings to complement hearty injections of briskly enacted unison runs.

    Violinist Albrecht Maurer’s staccato lines atop the musicians’ changeable pulses, topped off with moments of wit and whimsy, provide quite a bit of impact. At times the quartet morphs European folk themes into free jazz explorations that are awash with fervently expressed four-way exchanges. On “Tempe Terra, they investigate dark alleys and loosely based twists and turns while also whipping up some turmoil-laden heated circular movements. In addition, clarinetist Claudio Puntin periodically fuses the human element into the music by implementing vocal-like attributes. In other spots, the artists meld abstract world music grooves and spiraling motifs with emphatic soloing. Overall, this impressive record label debut would seemingly preclude more stylistic and somewhat risqué undertakings. Recommended.

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