Spaltklang — In Between
(AltrOck Productions ALT 037, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-01-06Led by Swiss saxophonist and composer Markus Stauss, Spaltklang has been in action for a dozen years or more, with a four-piece configuration over most of the duration, and four previous albums (on the Fazzul label) to their credit. In Between is their AltrOck debut with a newly reworked five-piece lineup since their previous release En Suite from 2009. Joining Stauss and original drummer / keyboardist Remy Strauli (formerly of Yolk, though no keyboards are credited this time out) are guitarist Francesco Zago (of Yugen), Austrian trumpeter Ritsche Koch and double-bassist Christian Weber (also in Kurai with Zago) making this a truly international band. The five long cuts on In Between are a wild ride up and down the jazz side, with enough influence from ouside the idiom (chamber, rock, touches of funk and swing) to keep the proceedings interesting over the album’s nearly one hour duration. The sound is full of energy and rich melodies and criss-crossing counterpoint, bolstered by the frontline of sax and trumpet. Drums and bass maintain a subtle but busy interplay providing (along with guitar) a fluid framework to support the compositions. This ‘wild ride’ also implies lots of honkin’ and squonkin’ at times, so if that’s not something to your liking, you have my permission to wander off to another review. Truly though, this has more of a ‘Cuneiform’ sound than what one might normally encounter on the AltrOck label, recalling the whipped-up swinging jazz-rock of bands like Blast. While Zago’s furious guitar soloing on the the closer “Ural Fragment” is worth the price of admission by itself, this is a solid jazz-rock effort beginning to end with plenty of strong melodic elements that reveal themselves over repeated plays.
Related artist(s): Spaltklang
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more