Wednesday, 9 September 2009


For 4 Ears

The recording dates back to 2006, first time in which Urs Leimgruber and Thomas Lehn met and played together. Three years have passed but the whole sounds like it was conceived yesterday; that’s what occurs when artists approach an improvisation with the genuine will of forgetting what their musical training has been, contemporarily filling the brain with the sort of inherently memorized experiences that are exactly what informs our speaking, our reactions to adversity, our behaviour at large. Liberated playing should correspond to this, and it doesn’t happen always. Luckily, in Lausanne it does.

This is an instrumental combination that works, at times perfectly, because of the complementariness of the “styles”. In essence, Leimgruber’s high-pitched surges, the squealing invocations to implausible gods, the tentative conversations with absent birds are the product of a human apparatus that is surely as complex as Lehn’s analogue synth, which in turn tries to adapt its circuits to something that is controlled by a man yet behaves erratically. This fusion of probationary instances and filled interstices, from which peculiar complexities and spastic farts may emerge with the same consequence of an official statement, leaves no chance to interpretation. To quote Phill Niblock, the music “is what it is”, and we’re pretty much content that way. Soliloquies don’t last for long: an intelligent conversation elevates the level of the participants, if talking is effectively needed. This is what seems to materialize during these exchanges, a special brand of virtuosity where the ability in mutual listening counts more than the weirdness of a solution. Still, the moments in which the timbres almost disappear in a puzzling void (as heard in “Deux” following the eleventh minute or so) become occasions for veritable contemplation, at least until Lehn decides that a seriously hypercritical discharge must wake us up.

Finding an unsatisfactory release on this label remains a very difficult task. A specimen of gratifying experimentation which spits in the eye of silence after having paid respect to it (listen to the splendid “Quatre” to understand), Lausanne is a thorny record which is going to stimulate the common sense of those who want to deliver judgments from bias, the confirmation of Leimgruber and Lehn’s intrusive inventiveness.