Schindler/Schneider/Pretzel

Rhizome
Creative Sources CS 571 CD

Currents of improvisation evolve so quickly that what seemed unusual a few short years ago is now commonplace. Take this accomplished live set from Munich, featuring Kralling-based multi-instrumentalist and free improviser Udo Schindler and two players, mostly known for their expertise in New Music. The result is neither aleatoric nor atonal but a worldly mixture of the two. A member of the Munich Philharmonic and other ensembles, violist Gunter Pretzel is one-half of the string section here with Zürich-born violist Georges-Emmanuel Schneider, who has worked with everyone from Harrison Birtwistle to Rohan de. Schneider, and also uses Max/MSP processing. Schindler who has played with numerous such as Sebi Tramontana, concentrates on bass clarinet and soprano saxophone here, although the CD’s brief final track featuring fluttering euphonium lows.

Broadly the key components of the program are two extended version of the title tune, which each clock in at more than 20 minutes. Faint electronic judders underscore the initial “first rhizome” with narrow reed stops and echoing tones matched by sul tasto and col legno scratches from one string player while the other creates a fluid continuum. String harmonies are emphasized later on as the reed output turns to doits, yelps and snarls. Reversing the program, a later sequence finds Schindler’s tone smoother and sweeter as the contrapuntal viola and violin dissect tones into jagged squeaks and sawing. Finally the track is resolved as sul ponticello scrubs shudder alongside the reedist’s aching spetrofluctuation. Moving to bass clarinet tones on the even lengthier “second rhizome”, Schindler dissects its warm tone with brief chirps, stops and unaccented air as Schneider’s and Pretzel’s strand strategy turns from affinity to sharp, wood-rending-like splits. As reed vibratos and electronic wave forms provide a connective ostinato, the clarinetist executes a finale with nasal trills, while the strings move from gentle to bellicose textures and back again.

Organic as a realized creation, so that in 2020 defining the exact genre in which Rhizome fits is irrelevant.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. first rhizome 2. analepsis grey 3. second rhizome 4. neuma_arToxin.euphonium

Personnel: Udo Schindler (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and euphonium); Georges-Emmanuel Schneider (violins, live electronics) and Gunter Pretzel (viola)