Grünen – Pith and Twig (CF 311)
Their debut album of 2010 has turned into the name of the trio consisting of Achim Kaufmann on piano, Robert Landfermann on bass and Christian Lillinger on drums. Their sophomore release delivers the promise of the first one, and we can only be sad that it took four years to hear them again on record.
Some tracks are very short, built around composed ideas, quite inventive, and full of open and unexpected interactions, others are longer, such as the albums centerpiece, “Foliage Misconstrued”, which is a nervous, angular, intense seventeen minute workout, with all three instruments giving their best in a complex dynamic that is both physical and lyrical, full of contradictions and inherent tension that suddenly turns into a slow eery soundscape, full of dark rumblings and distant scraping.
On “Chitin”, the extended techniques reign to create an ominous atmosphere of fragility and vulnerability, hesitating to see how far sounds can be stretched before they burst. “Mobiliar” brings us a percussion-heavy almost boppish intro that shapeshifts into a calmer, refreshing, middle section, then shapeshifting again into an open improvisation with percussive hits on drums and piano creating a context for Landfermann’s bass to demonstrate sonic pecularities.
The music leads you in many directions, of nervous agitation, playful boppish treats, calm precision and avant-garde explorations into the nature of sonic interaction, and most often all in the same track.
Again, three outstanding musicians who bring us some of the best piano bass drums music around.