Michael Vorfeld – percussion
Richard Scott – modular synthesizer
Frank Gratkowski – contrabass clarinet, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet, alto saxophone
Sam Andreae – Solo Saxophone
Three of Berlin’s most celebrated improvising musicians came together in 2015 and established an instant rapport as evidenced by these recordings and by sparking, crackling concerts in underground Berlin venues such as NK, Studio 8 and Loophole.
This post-Echtzeit trio express much of what is interesting and refreshing about the current Berlin scene, which is so very different from just a few years ago. Nothing is forbidden; passages of noisy spectral beauty, free jazz, agitated textures of contemporary composition, moments of “Echtzeitmusik” stillness and “English” free improvisation flow seamlessly and without contradiction. The music is open and truly improvised, perpetually able to change direction without obvious rules or adherence to any idiom. The three musicians move between such modalities in a way that is fluent and fluid rather than eclectic or impatient. Like the city itself, the music seems able to embrace many truths and perceptions simultaneously, without wanting or needing to choose one to live by.
As all three musicians have so much music “under their fingers” the group might in another era have taken on the mantle of “supergroup”. But such an idea is interestingly irrelevant to the music we hear on “Sieben Entrückte Lieder”. The music’s evident ambition is turned away from displays of technique and virtuosity and instead is directed towards infinitely more precious qualities: a virtuosity of listening, curiosity and playfulness, and a great pleasure in the collective embracing of the flux and flow of the musical moment.
MICHAEL VORFELD – percussion
Michael is a musician and visual artist based in Berlin who plays percussion and self-designed string instruments and realises electro-acoustic sound pieces. He works in the field of experimental, improvised music and sound art. He realises installations and performances with light and sound, photography and film. Besides his solo activities he is a member of various ensembles and collaborates with artists who work in many different art forms. His list of activities includes numerous concerts, performances and exhibitions in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
FRANK GRATKOWSKI – contrabass clarinet, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet, alto saxophone
Frank has worked as a soloist in various international formations (Grubenklang Orchester, Apartment House, Musikfabrik NRW, BikBentBraam, Zeitkratzer, WDR Orchestra, WDR Big band, Münchener Kammerorchester etc). Since 1990 he has been giving solo performances throughout Europe, Canada and the USA. With his first solo programme, “Artikulationen”, he was a 1991 prizewinner in the Musik Kreativ contest. Since 1992 he has been working in a duo with the pianist Georg Graewe, which is often extended through the participation of different additional musicians, such as drummer Paul Lovens and bassist John Lindberg. He has played at nearly every German and numerous international jazz and new music festivals, including Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Quebec, Les Mans, Mulhouse, Groeningen, Nickelsdorf, Barcelona, Lithuania, Warsaw, Zagreb, Prague, Bratislava, Sofia, Bucharest, Odessa, Belgrade, Madrid, Barcelona, Gothenburg, Huddersfield, London and Rome. He has performed with Robert Dick, Phil Wachsmann, Radu Malfatti, Herb Robertson, Marcio Mattos, Eugenio Colombo, Peter Kowald, Ray Anderson, Michael Moore, Ken Vandermark, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, Louis Sclavis, John Betsch, Jane Ira Bloom, Connie and Hannes Bauer, Xu Fengxia, James Newton, Muhal Richard Abrams, John Lindberg, Michael Formaneck, Ernst Reijseger, Fred van Hove, Theo Jörgensmann, Phil Minton, Peter Brötzmann, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, Hamid Drake, Michiel Braam, Han Bennink, Zeena Parkins, Mal Waldron, Misha Mengelberg and Beat Furrer among others. His discography counts more than 30 CDs under his own name and many others as sideman.
RICHARD SCOTT – analogue synthesizers
Richard is an English free improvising musician and electroacoustic composer living in Berlin working with electronics including modular synthesizers and controllers such as the Buchla Thunder and Lightning. He has been composing and performing for over 25 years, recently working with Evan Parker, Jon Rose, Richard Barrett, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Shelley Hirsch, Ute Wassermann, Axel Doerner, Audrey Chen, Frank Gratkowski and his own Lightning Ensemble. He studied free improvisation in the 1980s with John Stevens, saxophone with Elton Dean and Steve Lacy, and more recently electroacoustic composition with David Berezan and Ricardo Climent. He has had performed at concerts all over Europe, had several pieces featured at at the International Conference of Computer Music. He has released many albums, for example with Grutronic and Evan Parker for PSI records, “Thne Magnificence of Stereo” (sruti BOX), a series of duet and trio releases, a solo double modular synthesizer LP, “Several Circles” and an album with Sidsel Endresen, “Debris in Lower Earth Orbit” on CUSP Editions. He runs a digital label, Sound Anatomy, is initiator of the Sines&Squares Festival in Manchester, and has curated several concert series in Berlin, including Basic Electricity, AUXXX and Sound Anatomy.
SAM ANDREAE – Solo Saxophone
In both composition and improvisation I am intrigued by the processes and systems that function just bellow the surface of what we perceive to be music. Our own thoughts, senses, physical needs, emotional states and perception of others´ actions are as much a part of music as tonality, instrumentation or style. I see the act of music making simply as a series of interconnected actions and as an improviser or composer within this context I try to use a vocabulary that expresses these interests. This has lead me to explore the saxophone as a “sound object” rather than a musical instrument, striving for an objectivity within sound and a gestural approach to playing that places music in a wider context of art and performance. In my compositions I use these “background” elements as musical building blocks to create systems that performers can function freely within, the focus is placed on action and intention, with the aural results becoming products of this gestural process.