CD Reviews

Wednesday 3rd March

March 4, 2010

So, a day late, here are my thoughts on Savagnieres, the duo disc released a few years back by Cristoph Schiller and Peter Baumgartner on the Creative Sources label. Apologies for writing about something that has been available for a while now, but it is certainly still available, and as it passed me by when it first came out I have no problem writing about it now. Savagnieres is one of two discs involving the Spinett player (spinettist?) Schiller that I purchased from him when I saw his live duo with Sebastian Lexer a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed his live performance a lot, and that coupled with the enthusiastic recommendations of Simon Reynell encouraged me to pick up the two discs, Savagnieres being the first of the two I have listened to.

I have written many times before that my natural taste in improvised music tends to lean towards a blend of electronic and acoustic instrumentation, and this CD is quite an extreme example of that musical configuaration. For those unaware of what a spinett is, it is best described as a small harpsichord, with Schiller’s personal instrument also modified slightly to allow additional preparations. Baumgartner on the other hand plays here using a laptop, but in a manner that is decidedly artificial and about as far away from the plucked strings and acoustic resonances of the spinett as is possible. While Schiller’s sound changes frequently, full of rattles, clatter, chiming strings and resounding hollow notes, so Baumgartner’s contributions to the five tracks on Savagnieres tend to be deep, semi-rhythmic pulses and drones that change only slightly over time and tend to add a colour and atmosphere to the duo, that Schiller than paints into with his smaller, incidental sounds.

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