|This new electroacoustic disc, the first on the nuscope recordings label, features the trio 2nd Outlet with saxophonist/electronics master Luc Houtkamp, pianist Cor Fuhler, and percussionist Martin Blume. This CD was recorded at the LOFT in Köln, Germany during two different sessions in 2002 and 2003.
According to Thomas Lehn in the liner notes, "The resulting identity of 2nd Outlet is their finely balanced, but not too serious, act of playing with both of their identities. The traditional elements are on one hand, and the timbre work is on the other. The traditional idioms are set into the light of reflection, questioning their idiomatic meanings, by letting them co-exist with very imaginative timbre emanations, which you can hear across the entire disc in multiple shades and shapes."
In the Summer 2004 issue of Signal to Noise magazine, Bill Meyer says, 2nd Outlet's "...billing as a band is telling, for nothing about this music speaks of overweaning ego. Which isn't to suggest that they're overly reserved; each player proceeds decisively, and the collective musters a vigor that any self-respecting energy music ensemble would be glad to claim for its own."
This release features an 8-page booklet with liner notes from German synthesist Thomas Lehn and very original art from Dallas, Texas resident John Pomara.
JazzReview.Com: The trio 2nd Outlet is one of those true confluences of collective creativity. Luc Houtkamp on tenor and computer-controlled live electronics, Cor Fuhler on acoustic and prepared piano, and Martin Blume on drums and percussion each have a phenomenal range of sonic colors to work from and a beguiling artistic depth to draw on. Dutch reed player Houtkamp has combined his avid interests in improvisation, composition, and interactive electronics in an astounding number of projects; from solo reed performances to small free improv groups with musicians like Fred van Hove, Gert Jan Prins, and Johannes Bauer to large ensemble projects like King Übü Örchestrü.
Keyboard player Cor Fuhler's background is equally impressive. His group with Han Bennink and Wilbert de Joode is a superlative group working to extend the piano trio tradition. But he is also an inveterate inventor and musical researcher, whether expanding the piano's timbres with electro-mechanical devices, inventing instruments like the keyolin (which combines a keyboard with violin), or working in electro-acoustic settings like The Flirts (his duo with Gert Jan Prins) or MIMEO. Percussionist Martin Blume has been working for over two decades now in free improv settings with musicians like Peter Brötzmann, Frank Gratkowski, John Butcher, and Georg Graewe, or in collective groups like Lines with Axel Dörner, Jim Denley, Phil Wachsmann, and Marcio Mattos. What these three share is a dedication to the exploration of collective improvisation, along with a deep-seated fascination with an extended palette of sonic colors.
So Burnt Sienna and the other color names that make up the titles for the ten collective pieces on this CD ("Windsor Blue", "French Ultramarine", "Phthalocynine Green", or "Raw Umber" for example) are apt choices. As Thomas Lehn points out in his insightful liner notes, this is a group with a profound sense of timbre and sound color and their role in developing musical forms. The trio seamlessly wed the sounds of their acoustic instruments with the extended vocabulary of overtones, breath flutters, treated piano strings, scraped and struck percussion. This already rich palette is further extended and shaded by Houtkamp's real-time electronic processing of the trio.
Each piece serves as a discrete sound-painting, plumbing the hues and densities of the instrumental colors. Categorizations like free jazz, spontaneous improvisation, or electro-acoustics are rendered inconsequential for these three, as they constantly straddle or completely eschew stylistic boundaries. There are pieces that muse with meditative sonorities or smeared microtones, others that prickle with pointillistic refractions; some that buzz and oscillate with tonal abstractions, and some that even charge along with propulsive free jazz momentum. But all of this is synthesized and fused into a holistic approach that never sounds forced or mannered.
Nuscope's usual pristine production captures every detailed nuance of the music. This release inaugurates the "art of electro-acoustic music" series on the Nuscope label—and it proves an auspicious debut.