The Great Harry Hillman — Tilt
(Cuneiform Rune 433, 2017, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-07-26
Nope. There’s nobody in the band named Harry Hillman. The band is named after Harry Hillman, the American hurdler who won three gold medals in the 1904 Summer Olympics in St.Louis. The band is a post-jazz improv quartet from Lucerne, Switzerland, featuring drummer Dominik Mahnig, guitarist David Koch, bassist Samuel Huwyler, and Nils Fischer on woodwinds. Tilt is the band’s third full length release, following their self released debut Livingston (2013) and their sophomore recording Veer Off Course (2015) on the German Klaeng label. The music on Tilt takes a number of forms, mostly improvisational but some structured pieces and others that swerve between those poles. Early in the opener “Snoezelen” one might get that “Facelift” feeling, like the early parts of the Hopper classic on Soft Machine’s Third, which wanders around for a few minutes and eventually morphs into the memorable classic. “Snoezelen” never really makes that transition, though — it just continues to wander in the darkness with nothing solid ever materializing from the opening free improv, even though the anticipation is created while each of the musicians introduces himself boldly, Mahning creating an amazing din on the kit while Fischer blows out some beautiful melodic lines on sax. “Strengen Denkt An” follows, a more seemingly composed piece with Mahnig building a powerful structure while Koch slashes and burns it with blistering electric guitar outbursts, but eventually it settles into mellowland as bass clarinet takes the lead and pushes the noisy elements into the background. Throughout the remaining six tracks there are many stunning moments of epic musical telepathy that will make the journey worthwhile, but at least as many where the listener is just waiting for something to happen. The second to last cut, “How to Dice an Onion,” is one of the disc’s best numbers, combining an effective composition and skillful improvisation with an interesting groove that leaves the listener wanting more.
Related artist(s): The Great Harry Hillman
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