rotations

sequoia

  • 1 resting crows (3:17)
  • 2 birdcages (7:56)
  • 3 interlude I (1:04)
  • 4 rotations (14:56)
  • 5 interlude II (1:10)
  • 6 lifts & escalators (6:57)
  • 7 inside (5:39)
  • 8 passing by (6:58)

Album Info

total playing time: 48:10

recorded by roy carroll, may 31, 2012
at studio boerne 45, berlin, germany
mixed and mastered by miles perkin

all compositions by borghini/ kneer/ kürvers/ perkin ©buma

design: lysander le coultre (strangelove creatives)
photography: monique besten
distribution: www.subdist.com
evil rabbit records is a member of www.toondist.com

Reviews

  • jean-michel van schouwburg, september 2016, oryx-improvandsounds.blogspot.de

    enregistré en 2012 à berlin, cette merveille de l'impro libre à quatre contrebasses était restée dans les cartons de sequoia jusqu'à ce qu'evil rabbit ne les publie http://www.evilrabbitrecords.eu/err21.html . basés à berlin, ces quatre contrebassistes ont eu le loisir d'affiner leur travail, leurs relations interpersonnelles et de nous offrir ce beau travail de recherches, de sonorités, d'interactions, d'imbrications dont le potentiel se métamorphose au fil des plages embrassant des univers contrastés ou complémentaires. un véritable orchestre de contrebasses d'avant garde. lors des années révélatrices de la naissance de la free music, barre phillips a produit deux enregistrements en solo (journal violone / music man a/k/a bassebarre / futura) et en duo avec david holland (music for two basses/ ecm). des décennies plus tard, cette utopie musicale continue à vivre et à se développer au sommet avec ces quatre musiciens intelligents, sensibles, intransigeants. 48 :10 d'œuvres qui allient le meilleur de la composition avec le sens ludique maîtrisé des improvisateurs expérimentés. la contrebasse est explorée dans ses nombreuses dimensions sonores, les timbres sont recherchés, grattés, fouillés, parfois inouïs, harmoniques fantômes, chocs col legno, vibrations des cordes au delà du grave, grondements du gréage, murmures sotto voce , etc... un grand disque très contemporain. trop d'artistes brillants se répètent. une fois n'est pas coutume, un grand voyage sonore qu'il faut écouter absolument pour se faire une idée des possibilités réelles de l'improvisation libre assumée jusqu'au bout. il existe un autre album de quartette de contrebasses, enregistré celui-là en hommage à peter kowald : after you've gone / victo avec barre phillips, joëlle léandre, tetsu saitoh et william parker. je trouve ici que le projet de sequoia est plus abouti, sans doute parce qu'il est plus focalisé sur une démarche de groupe. klaus kürvers est un vétéran des débuts du free jazz européen et les trois autres nettement plus jeunes, antonio borghini, meinrad kneer et miles perkin assurent la relève haut la main. bel emballage noir à chemise en papier fort avec une lucarne pour le titre : rotations (by) sequoia. indispensable et excellent titre, le nom du groupe soulignant l'épaisseur de ces quatre contrebassistes, s'il le fallait. je mets ce cédé sur ma liste rotatoire au sommet de la pile.

  • julo fujak, autumn 2015, vlna n. 63

    s výhradným spojením len akustických kontra- basov na jednej nahrávke súčasnej progresívnej hudby sa nestretávame často (u nás si môžeme pripomenúť azda len kontrabasový kvintet silent tears of fathers jozefa kolkoviča z roku 2003, vy- daný hevhetiou o štyri roky neskôr), najmä ak ide o tzv. neidiomatickú voľnú improvizáciu. projekt medzinárodného kontrabasového kvarteta s tým- to zameraním pod názvom rotations, ktorý roku 2012 vytvorili výborní hráči antonio borghini, meinrad kneer, klaus kürvers a miles perkin, však nie je "len" jednorazovým záznamom intuitívne- ho muzicírovania za hranicou (ne)možného, ale skôr prazvláštnou polymorfnou mriežkou umne utkanou z rozmanitých "fraktálov novodobého artikulačno-výrazového slovníka spätého s naj- hlbšie znejúcim (ak opomenieme raritný oktobas) akustickým strunovým nástrojom".

    každý z 8 trackov má úplne inú špecifıckú atmo- sféru, polymorfne "rizomatickú" štruktúru a vy- znenie, čo vyplýva z rozmanitej kombinatoriky pre tú-ktorú skladbu vymedzených tzv. rozšíre- ných kontrabasových techník. a tie sa veru od čias sonorizmu 60. rokov minulého storočia, ako aj po skúsenostiach s elektroakustickými a digi- tálne elektronickými technológiami (navyše v ča- se etablovania hudobného rozmeru zvukových udalostí v každodenných prostrediach) rozšírili a rozvinuli do nebývalých foriem a prekvapivej senzibility. miestami máte pocit – napríklad v 4. eponymnej štvrťhodinovej skladbe rotations –, akoby sa štyri kontrabasy pohybovali v škále od tvorivého osvojenia si poetiky dereka baileyho až po transformáciu prístupov jona resea či audrey chen, ale i "simulácie" mikrozvukov z vášho oko- lia. každé prirovnanie do istej miery pokrivkáva a tu obzvlášť – každý z partnerov tohto multidia- lógu tu totiž plní presne svoju inú úlohu (a všetci štyria sú v nej, teda v preskúmavaní neznámych vôd kontrabasovej hry nesmierne zdatní), a to aj v takých zdanlivo "nenáročnejších" kusoch, ako je v podstate vtipná mikrointervalová, glissan- dová vec lifts & escalators poučená niblockom či scelsim alebo tónovo tradičnejšia birdcages. podmanivá variabilita bizarne nuansovitého priestoru tohto basového štvoruholníka vyvolala vo mne svojou autentickou hudobnou inteligibi- litou jeden z najsilnejších zážitkov tohto leta pri večernom načúvaní nových cédečiek pod holým nebom.

    mimochodom, samostatný článok by si zaslúžilo berlínske vydavateľstvo evil rabbit records jed- ného z hráčov tohto kvarteta meinrada kneera a spriazneného klaviristu i skladateľa alberta van veenendaala. jednak pre jeho veľmi zaují- mavú stratégiu a dramaturgiu, no v neposlednom rade pre originálny jednotný, decentný dizajn obalov všetkých doterajších titulov, ktorého auto- rom je dnes už bohužiaľ zosnulý violončelista lysander le coultre (strangelove creatives).

  • paul khimasia morgan, 15 march 2015, thesoundprojector.com

    sequoia is a great word – a five-to-two ratio on vowels to consonants for a start, and when spoken out loud, strangely evocative of those giant redwood trees.

    this kind of sequoia is antonio borghini, meinrad kneer, klaus kürvers and miles perkin.

    italian antonio borghini has a fairly formal jazz background, graduating from the conservatory of bologna where he studied under bruce gertz, joëlle léandre and barre phillips, although interestingly and more recently has been involved in trios with stefano bollani and hamid drake and with fabrizio puglisi and han bennink. german meinrad kneer is another conservatory-educated player, this time hilversum and amsterdam. he has collaborated with diverse musicians such as najma akhtar, han bennink, fred frith, tobias delius, tristan honsinger, denise jannah, paul lovens, tony overwater, michael vatcher and corrie van binsbergen, and he runs the evil rabbit label. klaus kürvers is a german architect and writer in addition to being a musician. he has collaborated with tristan honsinger, sven-åke johansson and zeitkratzer. canadian miles perkin, at 34 the youngest sequoia (or should i say "sapling"?), has previous work released under the titles miles perkin quartet and common thread. on rotations, each player inhabits his own section of the stereo field; for example antonio borghini is allocated "middle left", meinrad kneer "far right" and so on. i'm tempted to be childish and speculate that these notes may be derived from their political opinions, but i'll try to desist. immediately you press play on this, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd wandered into a small sweaty upstairs room in a daze at the end of a long saturday on your feet in town all day, where you encounter a manic grouping featuring several dozen robot dom lash clones. perhaps this is closer in feel to the versatility of klaus janek's playing rather than the stripped down style of mr lash. either way, i'm all for it – a no holds barred demonstration of the possibilities in this instrument; even if it is coming from the more straight and formal end of the world of improvisation. this opener, 'resting crows', is over quickly but sets out the concept of four bassists perfectly. you can almost feel the physical force the players are putting, leaning on their bows, such is the feeling of moving air pressure. three minutes of sheer attack over perhaps a little too quickly.

    the second piece, 'birdcages', utilizes pizzicato technique played in the round to build up the effect of instrument placement. it creeps along like an extra suspenseful section of a bernard herrmann score. there are then the first of two interludes, each a duration of just over a minute (tracks 3 and 5); i is harmonic and cyclical, it is a bit more loose. personally, i have heard albums where an interlude of "silence" or very quiet information is used to better effect; these function more like very short pieces in their own right, as the musicians are quite maximal in their approach.

    the title track is nearly fifteen minutes of exploration. here the players can stretch their legs a bit, and of all the pieces, this seems to be mostly about the natural development of an idea. after the second interlude, 'lifts & escalators' starts with a drone, and continues over its almost seven minute duration in much the same way. someone gives the impression of overtones, but i might be imagining it. portamento is used compositionally here, while 'inside' is like a creaky ship; sequioia employ all manner of techniques to play "inside" their instruments. tapping, bowing of the wood, creaking, activating the strings with their hands, rubbing, one of the instruments even sounds like its breathing around three and a half minutes.

    i'd call this music improvisation but in the sleeve notes, the musicians choose to use the term compositions. whether this is just a handy term for them to describe what they do as a group or whether there exists a written score for these pieces is unknown, however. overall, enjoyable though the music is, there is an overarching feeling of the presence and pointed demonstration of technique here. musicians from a formal background covet their technique, sometimes to the detriment of everything else in my experience, and although this music does not suffer from it, i am left very much aware of it, when i'd prefer the music to speak for itself. recorded may 2012 but released 2014, housed in a black die-cut card sleeve arranged with a circular window through which the picture, (a close-up of a freshly sawn tree stump in a forest), on the insert card can be seen "rotated" one of four ways.

  • todd mccomb, 2 december 2014, medieval.org

    rotations, by the double bass quartet sequoia, is the latest release on evil rabbit records. the latter was co-founded by meinrad kneer, one of the bassists in the quartet (that was apparently initiated by klaus kürvers), and a musician on the (admired by me) album colophony, featuring violinist jon rose. the latter association caught my attention, and a quartet of bassists sounded like a fine idea. (the other two are antonio borghini & miles perkin.) like colophony, rotations was recorded in berlin in 2012, but a month earlier. the album contains a mix of ideas, some more compelling than others, but is well worth hearing as exploration of an acoustic bass quartet. the "acoustic" aspect figures to be significant here, as kürvers is coming from an architecture background — apparently an emerging theme in this space. anyway, there are some precise procedural works, designated as collective compositions, and also some more seemingly spontaneous tracks featuring environmental transfiguration, including the opening take on crows, surely the most immediately enjoyable track, and the final track including evocation of fading resonances of traffic sirens. some of the more drone-focused tracks are a little slow for me, although the musical sound stage spread across the four instruments is part of the intrigue. at times, there is independent interaction, but at times, it's rather coordinated as a giant & unwieldy single instrument. it's somewhat audible in stereo, but the spatial aspect likely comes through much more clearly in person.

  • zdenek slabý, november 2014, kulturni magazin uni

    není to poprvé, kdy se srotí totožné nástroje na jedné desce; dokladů bychom mohli najít dostatek. jenomže v případě kvarteta sequoia nejde pouze o důkaz bohatého souznění, ani o případ nápaditě rozvinuté improvizace. kontrabasisti meinrad kneer, osnovatel programu evil rabbit records, a klaus kürvers, iniciátor projektu a berlínský improvizátor, kanaďan miles perkin, známý především ze spolupráce s francouzským pianistou benoitem delbeckquem, a ital antonio borghini, jehož inspirací je joëlle léandre a barre phillips, se vydali třetí cestou: zosnovali osm příkladů nekonvenčního zvukového hledačství. můžeme si je situovat, protože borghiniho a kürverse slyšíme ve středu nalevo a napravo, kneera zela napravo a perkina zcela nalevo. a společně nám dokazují, co všechno dokáže souběh čtyř kontrabasů, když se do nich opřou mistři – od rozdychtěného virválu přes harašivost, drkotání, popraskávání, výdešnot, skřípavost, mlátivost až po hartusování na pomezí potichlosti. jejich souhra je proměnlivá, někdy se probrnkává tón po tónu (birdcages), jindy je smyčcově probrouzdávaná (lifts & escalator), rotuje od špetek zadíravých zvukových šancí přes rozdmýchávané vybrušování až do smýčivé střemhlavosti. proorchestrovanost jednotlivých čísel sahá od jednolitého hlukového pableskování přes rozkurážené šmidrání či zajíkavé prodlévání až po rachotivé vídrholce, přičemž posluchač vnímá i určitou halucinačnost pojetí zcizovaných nástrojů. zřetelný rozdíl je mezi tematickými komprovizacemi a dvěma kratičkými mezihrami, které vytvářejí spíše odsekávaně bušné odhodlávání či přesýpačnou automatičnost a nemají širší vyznění.

    podobné akce mívají někdy platnost pouhé drónové zkusmovosti; s touto čtveřicí vnímáme album i co do poslechu jako celek, který nabízí nevšední zážitky, jako kdybychom projížděli při hřmějícím drkotání po horské dráze do chvátavé pohodovosti až po dohloučený závěr. takže jedenadvacátý evil rabbit nám opět poodhalí něco nového; je to label, který stojí za sledování.

  • ken waxman, october-november 2014, thewholenote.com

    as serious music has become both more ardent and more accommodating over the past few decades, so has the definition of what constitutes a musical group or which instrument is appropriate for a solo session. one of the instruments that benefitted the most from this liberal attitude is the double bass. freed from its singular function as a timekeeper in jazz or to suggest rumbling menace in so-called classical music, it has become the object of new experiments.

    solo bass recitals are no longer the novelty they once were, but some four-string explorers go even further, creating situations where multi basses play together. take for instance rotations (evil rabbit records err21evilrabbitrecords.eu). operating as sequoia, four double bass players – two germans, one italian and a canadian, all based in berlin – come up with eight-tracks that irrefutably demonstrate the qualities of a program based entirely on what can be created with acoustic bass. acoustic sometimes has to be emphasized, because when germans meinrad kneer and klaus kürvers, italian antonio borghini and canadian miles perkin fuse swabbed impulses on a track such as lifts and escalatorsthe results resemble those created by electronic instruments. a block of coursing low-pitched tones, this sonic chiaroscuro still reveals separate timbre strata. shaking and bouncing the tune reaches a crescendo of spinning attachments then downturns. overall, interspaced with concise instances of jazz-like thumping, the cd exhibits all sorts of bass desires: staccato and languid, stentorian and shrill. the almost 16-minute rotationsfor example isolates an assortment of expositions. while one bass duo creates a droning ostinato, another two make the upper reaches of their strings chirp and whistle. interacting with tremolo slices, the final sound-image is that of a lively chicken coop with each fowl contributing distinctive notes. a similar divide exists on the final passing by.

    except here individual aggressive thrusts are layered from altissimo to basso, exhibiting mesmerizing strength within a mid-section of shrieking spiccato; and climaxing with a display of stentorian power that makes the 1812 overture seem like a mild exposition.

  • dolf mulder, 8 july 2014, vital weekly, number 940, week 28

    the small evil rabbit label, founded in 2006 by meinrad kneer and albert van veenendaal, built up an impressive catalogue of relevant improvised music. this new release is most certainly a highlight in their catalogue. with sequioa we are in the company of an international quartet compiled of antonio borghini, meinrad kneer, klaus kürvers and miles perkin, all playing double bass. for locating the different players, they are positioned in the mix respectively middle left, far right, middle right and far left. they met in berlin where they recorded everything on one single day in 2012. kneer is a german player switching between berlin and amsterdam for his musical activities. berlin-based kürvers has a background as an architect and historian. borghini from milan studied with joelle léandre and barre philips, among others. we find him most in italian combinations like the cal trio. canadian miles perkin is an improviser with miles perkin quartet as his main project. i could not trace who initiated this collaboration, but what counts is that it is a very successful one. in each piece they enfold a rich sound spectrum of deep resonating and vibrating sounds, like in the title piece that gave me the feeling of being inside some a big archaic machine. this 15-minute piece has two short partch-like interludes as neighbours, offering a moment of rest and a pleasant lightness. in 'birdcages' it is as if i was listening to an indifferent but beautiful pattern of raindrops falling. the improvisations move between low vibrating sonorities and high registers. sometimes delicate and breakable soundpaintings, sometimes operating as a brutal bulldozer. but whatever they are doing the pieces are solid and show a fine interaction between the players.

  • francois couture, 7 july 2014, monsieur delire

    sequoia is a lot of bass frequencies! it's a group of four free improvising doublebassists, among them evil rabbit records mainstay meinrad kneer and québécois miles perkin. the musicians are well separated in the stereo field, but even then their frequencies tend to mash up. the 15-minute title track and "passing by" are the highlights of this series of four-way improvisations where the double bass's entire vocabulary is put to use. interesting, but i was expecting a little more...

  • joachim keulemans, 25 june 2014, kwadratuur.be

    met sequoia presenteert bassist meinrad kneer alweer een nieuw project op evil rabbit records, het label dat hij in 2006 oprichtte met pianist albert van veenendaal. dit kwartet - dat opmerkelijk genoeg uitsluitend uit bassisten bestaat - verkent het rijke akoestische klankspectrum van de contrabas en opent met 'rotations' de deur naar een wondermooie wereld die maar al te vaak verborgen blijft.

    sequoia kreeg vorm in 2010, nadat kneer eerder dat jaar in verschillende constellaties had samengespeeld met antonio borghini, klaus kürvers en miles perkin, allen bassisten die actief zijn binnen het jazz- en improvisatiegebeuren van berlijn. de contrabas is binnen dit kwartet vanzelfsprekend vertrekpunt en vehikel, maar vanaf daar wordt elke vooronderstelling de kop in gedrukt dankzij een verrassend origineel en in sommige gevallen zelfs ondefinieerbaar groepsgeluid. individuele bijdragen gaan veelal op in een rijkgeschakeerd auditief totaalplaatje, dat door het gegoochel met allerhande klankkleuren de luisteraar om de haverklap op het verkeerde been zet. soms benaderen de contrabassen het breekbare timbre van een fluit, dankzij een opmerkelijke evenwichtsoefening met grond- en boventonen, terwijl men op een ander moment met een beetje verbeelding zelfs een accordeon kan horen zuchten.

    de acht tracks op 'rotations' volgen elk een apart spoor en ontwikkelen zich telkens vanuit een specifiek concept, maar over echte composities kan men niet spreken. in 'birdcages' brengt het kwartet aanvankelijk een plonkende dialoog op gang, waarbij elke bijdrage goed te onderscheiden is door de aparte positie die de muzikanten in het stereobeeld kregen toegewezen. gaandeweg wordt er overgeschakeld op aangestreken harmonieën, eerst nog ruw en roestig, maar later wat zachter en fragieler waardoor een oorverblindend veld van barokke samenklanken ontstaat.

    in de 15 minuten durende titeltrack wordt een versnelling hoger geschakeld en lijkt de muzikale trukendoos helemaal op hol geslagen. steeds maar nieuwe pulserende en roterende motiefjes worden in de arena gegooid en vormen gaandeweg een monumentale kolk van buitenaardse klanken. minstens even indrukwekkend is de kronkelende drone van 'lifts and escalators' waarmee het kwartet de luisteraar meeneemt op een reis doorheen de geluidsregisters. het stuk gaat voortdurend op en neer, trapsgewijs en via glissandi (waar de titel dan ook naar verwijst) om uiteindelijk te eindigen in de pikdonkere kelder.

    met afsluiter 'passing by' gaat de groep via snerpende en krassende uithalen even de muzikale acting out toer op, in een stuk op maat van adrenaline-junkies en noise-fetisjisten. ondanks de brutaliteit waarmee de contrabassen worden gefolterd, wordt er ook hier niet aan kwaliteit ingeboet . het hoge niveau wordt simpelweg in elke context gehandhaafd, wat mede te danken is aan het uitmuntende productiewerk van roy carroll (opname) en miles perkin (mix en mastering). het draagt allemaal bij tot het luistergenot van het verbluffend mooie 'rotations'.

  • herman te loo, 23 june 2014, jazzflits.nl

    een van de leukste practical jokes uit de jazzgeschiedenis staat op naam van violist joe venuti. hij belde een keer alle bassisten die hij kende om naar een (fictieve) gig te komen. de tientallen muzikanten moeten erg vreemd hebben opgekeken toen ze daar allemaal met hun bas in foedraal bij de club aankwamen. venuti lachte zich suf, omdat het hem erg leuk leek om zo'n grote hoe- veelheid mannen met zo'n enorm instrument bij elkaar te zien. groepen met louter contrabassisten zijn sinds venuti nog steeds geen gemeengoed geworden. het enige ensemble dat erbij in de buurt kwam, was het kwartet intermission van bassaxofonist klaas hekman met drie contrabassisten in de gelederen. het klankideaal van die groep was overigens wel het eerste dat in me opkwam bij het beluisteren van 'rotations', het debuutalbum van sequoia. het vooral strijkende viertal produceert een on- waarschijnlijk rijk geluid, waarbij de boventonen van de instru- menten een grote rol spelen. zware, onderaardse klanklagen, minimalistische timbreverschuivingen en percussieve houtgelui- den vormen een klankspectrum dat de volle 48 minuten blijft fascineren. het is soms moeilijk voor te stellen dat hier vier akoestische instrumenten aan het werk zijn. de argeloze luiste- raar zal de klankgolven soms eerder als elektronische muziek kwalificeren. wie onlangs de magistrale cd '1/2 hour drama' van antonio bertoni heeft beluisterd, zal bij 'rotations' ook veel van zijn gading vinden.

  • stef, 23 juni 2014, freejazzblog.org

    the double bass quartet consisting of antonio borghini, meinrad kneer, klaus kürvers and miles perkin has a totally different approach to music, more visceral, more direct and raw at times, which doesn't mean that it isn't very disciplined. the sounds of the individual instruments are extremely well captured and remain identifiable throughout, which allows for a clarity and sharpness of interaction even in the deepest plucked tones.

    it's hard to say whether the music is composed at times, yet it is clear that some patterns emerge and that every track has its own character and vision, offering us incredible sonic experiences, not only in the long "rotations", which gradually evolves from repetitive plucked and bowed phrases into absolute sonic mayhem, but also in the shorter pieces such as "interlude 1", which sounds like little girls hopping in the street, to the more dark and ominous sounds of "inside".

    the great risk about bringing like-minded musicians playing the same instrument in one band, is that you risk having music that is focused on the instrument, and that is a pitfall which is gloriously avoided here. the music itself stands at the center of the performance, but it could only be brought to live by having these instruments and musicians. of all the albums in the review list here, this is possibly the one that will be most compelling to non-bass players.

    a great album.

  • cricco manieri, 10 june 2014, sands-zine.com

    (…) allo stesso modo la sobria copertina di "rotations" lo colloca, già dal primo colpo d'occhio, nel catalogo della evil rabbit. quella del quartetto formato dall'italiano antonio borghini, dal canadese miles perkin e dai tedeschi meinrad kneer e klaus kürvers è una musica chiaramente indirizzata agli amanti della new thing e del jazz sperimentale europeo. ancor più in particolare il disco piacerà a chi apprezza gli ensemble formati da un numero variabile dello stesso strumento. qui viene il bello, dal momento che ad essere moltiplicato per quattro è uno strumento musicale piuttosto ingombrante e dalle possibilità alquanto limitate, il contrabbasso. eppure nelle mani di questi quattro virtuosi - li intendo tali non tanto per doti tecniche, che pure ci sono, quanto per inventiva e idee – dalle sedici corde vengono tratti suoni che spesso esulano dal suono di un contrabbasso, o almeno da come noi lo immaginiamo. a dare spessore e vitalità alle otto piste intervengono il gioco degli incastri e delle tecniche esecutive utilizzate – dal pizzicato agli impieghi dell'archetto – che riescono a sviluppare sia dissonanti coiti collegiali sia delicati passaggi minimal-ambientali sia piccole sinfonie elettroacustiche. la dislocazione stereo-spaziale, segnalata nelle note di copertina, è estremamente utile a coloro che intendono dare appartenenza fisica ai vari suoni.

    due ulteriori righe per sottolineare che questa è la vera europa, in grado di tessere incontri e collaborazioni che superano lingue, tradizioni e nazionalità diverse, un'europa cosmopolita che non ha paura delle contaminazioni ed è aperta alla cooperazione con il resto del mondo, un'europa ben diversa da quella falsa che hanno disegnato i potenti e i padroni del vapore. sostenetela con le preghiere e, soprattutto, con l'azione.

  • guillaume belhomme, 21 may 2014, lesondugrisli.com

    avec celle de meinrad kneer, ce sont en sequoia trois autres contrebasses qui usinent, scient ou provoque des avalanches : antonio borghini, klaus kürvers et miles perkin, accordés, le 31 mai 2012 en studio, sur une musique d'ombres portées. leurs instruments changés en sculptures sonores fuselées, le quatuor de contrebasses joue de torsions et de courants divers pour accoucher de chants parallèles aux pizzicatos graves et grincements de mécaniques qu'on trouve en creux de ce bel enregistrement.

  • eyal hareuveni, 13 may 2014, www.allaboutjazz.com

    sequoia is an international, berlin-based double bass quartet comprised of german meinard kneer, active on both the dutch and berlin improvisation scenes and the founder of evil rabbit records; klaus kürvers, who initiated this project, a former architect and cultural historian and another player of the berlin improvised scene; canadian miles perkins, a frequent collaborator of french pianist benoit delbecq, and italian antonio borghini, who studied with joëlle léandre and barre phillips. the quartet explores the multiple sonic possibilities of the double bass, employing various extended and invented techniques along with unconventional tools and objects in order to coax a new palette of sounds from the bull fiddles. the quartets repertoire is based on structured improvisations and graphic ideas.

    the four are positioned on its debut recording along a wide spectrum-kneer on the far right, kürvers on the middle right, borghini on the middle left and perkin on the far left-that creates a nuanced and diverse deep-toned sound, mainly on the sonic searches pieces as "resting crows" and "inside." but the sonic strategies of the quartet are versatile. the quartet creates a tight, minimalist interplay on "birdcage," where the sound of all four forms a reserved and focused unity, or a tight sound poem on "lifts & accelerators," articulated by all four with their bows. the fierce usage of the bows on "passing by" produces a series of disturbing multi-phonics and overtones.

    the longest, self- titled piece investigates patiently with various extended techniques and its sonic effects, of each of the musicians and together as a quartet. this cerebral approach demands precise command and disciplined control of the double basses, but the sonic effect is arresting. the double basses remotely sound as stringed instruments but create together an ethereal industrial-electronic sound wave, interrupted occasionally by wooden percussive hammering.

    impressive experiment with a wide array of deep-toned sounds.

  • beppe colli, 6 may 2014, cloudsandclocks.net

    My kind of album, and one that will offer a stimulating audio experience to those willing to take the risk, in a way Rotations could be filed under "traditional" - provided one has a look at the year on the calendar, that is. Quite vivacious when it comes to timbre, highly inventive when it comes to the organization of the material, it's "open" enough to actively engage listeners while not being so "indeterminate" as to make them wholly responsible to find meaning.
    Musicians involved, in alphabetical order: Antonio Borghini, Meinrad Kneer, Klaus Kürvers, and Miles Perkin. The liner notes indicate the position of each musician in the stereo spread, making it possible for attentive listeners - headphones are of course welcome - to perceive the individual contribution of all involved.
    Sporting fine recorded sound by Roy Carroll, the album was mixed and mastered by Miles Perkin. At 48' 10", an album of perfect length, just like an old vinyl record. Excellent dynamics.
    Given the fact that recording sessions were concentrated in a single day, I'd guess a certain amount of preparation was involved, since the type of music featured on the album - the cover doesn't say, but my guess is we are presented with the fruit of "scored improvisations" and "graphic scores" - is often in danger of coming out as formless. Starting from my first listening session I perceived that I was confronted with something already organized, the opposite of those circumstances where one "finds" meaning by simply becoming accustomed to listening to the same random succession of events over and over, so that they appear to have been given meaning right from the start.
    What about the featured instrumentation, I hear you say. Well, I could mention synthesizers, percussion, vocals, echoes, and low frequencies, since this is the timbral panorama that's in front of us. But no, it's "just" four double basses. There, I said it.
    This is the kind of information I want to reveal last, since my experience in the trenches tells me there are a lot of courageous listeners when it comes to unusual sounds, the same listeners becoming fearful when it comes to encountering particular instrumental combinations as written on paper.
    It goes without saying that it's the great variety of acoustic timbres that's one of the most stimulating feature of this work. Here I think that the editing and mixing have given an added dimension thanks to variations in volume and the use of artificial reverberant spaces, so providing the material with additional ex post shaping. Whether this is true, also the quantity of any ex post intervention, are fatally bound to remain hypothetical entities.
    I think that when it comes to the general framework this should suffice, so let's have a quick look at those pieces.
    Resting Crows is a good starting point. It fades in with a taste of Ayler-like "Free Jazz". There's a central episode that's quite percussive. A lively "tutti" at the end.
    Birdcages is split in two parts. The first part features a melodic arpeggiated phrase that is played in hocketing fashion by all doubles basses, notes traveling in the stereo spread with changing colours; a kind of flamenco chord played unison takes the first part to its close. The second part features chords played unison with arco, the whole sounding not too far from slow renditions of Roscoe Mitchell's Nonaah; then the chord blooms into a melody, all instruments playing independently. There's an air of austere lyricism, à la Mitchell. In closing, a "pedal".
    The main function of the two brief episodes titled Interlude I and II is to frame the long piece titled Rotations. Both feature arpeggiated, percussive climates.
    Just like Inside, the long (14' 56") piece titled Rotations sounds like the outcome of a "scored improvisation" and shows a more "active" dimension in the mix, with the addition of some effects. There are elements which sound like "scrubbing" and "loops". At times one can almost hear a kind of "ethnic flute". Starting at about 5', rhythm accelerates, then starting at about 7' there's a funny combination of timbres that appears to pair Hans Reichel's daxophone and the square wave of an old VCS3. We hear what sounds like a choir, then a more rarefied air. (Then, silence - like a space reserved for applause.)
    Lifts & Escalators sounds like a "programmatic" piece, maybe a "graphic score". There's an ongoing ascending movement. Then, an improvisation along "minimal/meditative" lines, with a certain Eastern flavour. We hear "vocals" (?). In closing, a long melodic descending phrase, sounding like a tape slowing down.
    Inside features fine percussive work, with a "loop" of harmonics, and elements placed in space, to add depth, something which reminded me of Biota. Here I thought I could detect a greater use of added reverberant space. This is a very fine piece, which sounds more "abstract" than those around it.
    Passing By is the album's close. Though I'm aware my definition is in a way too facile, to me this piece sounds like what a still observer perceives when immersed in the changing sound space of a railway station. It's a fine piece, and one that doesn't become predictable with repeated listening sessions. Theatre or movie directors are invited to join in.