Jonas Kocher, Gaudenz Badrutt – Strategy of behaviour in unexpected situations

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CD / Free download
Insubordinations

This delightfully titled album from the Swiss duo of Kocher (accordion) and Badrutt (electronics) is available as a CD, or as a free to download file from the label. It is not then necessary to pay for this music, but I thoroughly recommend that you do. A single track, recorded (I think) in a live concert setting in Berlin during October 2011, this is a fine example of improvised music that lives and breathes tension. Kocher’s accordion work has impressed me a lot over the last year or two. His attention seems to be on the quality and diversity of sounds he can pull from his seemingly non-versatile instrument rather than slip into the tendency for drones that the accordion used in experimental settings often leans toward. Badrutt’s electronics are of the minimal kind- a combination of sine-like tones, small clicks and bits of fizzing distortion. Its something of a cliché to say that it gets hard to tell the two musician’s contributions apart, but often here this is the case. The music they make arrives out of silence. There are a lot of quiet passages acroos the thirty-two minutes here, either those of complete inactivity or often just thin tones from one or the other musician, but when the music does erupt, as it does often in tiny bunches of sound, it does so in a jarring, spiteful manner. Think the lowercase clicks and buzzes of the turn of the millennium improv scene, but instead of polite little sounds submerged in long silences, when the calm is broken here it is done so in a quite vicious, aggressively cutting way. The temptation is to relax into quiet music, but Strategy of behaviour in unexpected situations exists in a constant state of expectancy- will the next sound be a quiet, calm one or a brittle, edgy one? The tension in this music is such that listening carefully leaves you jumpy and unsettled.

Not much more to say about this one then. beyond that this is music right up my street. What is clear to me here is the attention the two musicians are paying not only to one another but to how they build their music as a whole, and that attention, and the effort and strain taken in undertaking it is palpable here. This improvisation that lives and breathes each time you press play, but doesn’t do so through adrenalin rushes or dense layers of activity, rather relying on the naked qualities of brief, simple, yet affecting sounds placed neatly in opposition to one another. Well worth a purchase.

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