Saturday, April 19, 2008

Brötzmann's State of the Alto = LOUD!

Peter Brötzmann/Han Bennink Duo @ An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, April 19, 2008

For all the forceful, aggressive energy that fuels a Peter Brötzmann and Han Bennink collaboration there is the duality of the necessary Dionysian release of such a kinetic sound against the Apollonian subtleties that spring from the ongoing dialogue that has passed between these improvising giants for decades. The reputation for "sonic terror" that precedes Peter Brötzmann gives short shift to the deft manner in which he navigates quiet, introspective territory while still maintaining his considerable intensity. The balance and range of territory explored by this pair carves a wide path of sound delivered in large slabs pouring from Brötzmann's alto and Bennink's drum kit.

Peter Brötzmann's roots as a painter are evident in his approach toward improvisation. The rich sheets of sound pouring from the tarogato, clarinet and saxophones splash against the canvas of time with a deliberate abandon. Leaving behind a music that is at once thoughtful and freed from overly intellectualized constraints.

Han Bennink's sense of whimsy and energetic approach toward percussive textures makes this duo sound complete in its relentless probing. Unwilling to be contained by the kit, Bennink resorts to ad hoc re-arrangements that allow him to focus on exploring the percussive potential of the room. Drum sticks along the edge of the hardwood floor and carpet takes on an expressive focus. The sound of passing sirens outside the venue are folded into the performance as each instinctively pauses and reacts to the sounding reality. These performers tap into a creative wave that unleashes massive tidal forces containing small, detailed parts within its wake. The currents within this music holds considerable gravity for these ears.

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