Peter Brotzmann & Fred Lonberg-Holm – Ouroboros (2018) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Peter Brotzmann & Fred Lonberg-Holm – Ouroboros (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 40:42 minutes | 390 MB | Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Astral Spirits

Recorded by Stefan Deistler at Loft Köln on January 18, 2011.

Faced with a daunting discography that tallies to triple digits, it’s easy to forget that Peter Brötzmann has also been a prolific visual artist for the entirety of his professional career. The two forms expression still regularly cross-pollinate in his work with original paintings and woodcut prints serving as album cover art and the vivid and visceral feelings conjured by his uncompromising music fueling the coarse and stark subject matter of said imagery. A painterly dynamic is particularly present in his many duo encounters. Most commonly with percussionists, but also increasingly with less intuitively-matched instruments that supply texture and color field focused canvases upon which he can scrawl and scribble in bold and often bruising strokes by way of his battery of reeds. Ouroboros is a vinyl document of one such dialogue, recorded at The Loft in Köln, Germany in early 2011 and pressed to just 300 copies.

Steel guitarist Heather Leigh and vibraphonist Adasiewicz are two relatively recent conscripts to the tandem-geared side of Brötzmann’s relentless output. Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm is a compartively older associate, first joining the German in the vaunted Chicago Tentet and later in other aggregations. Four years separate this date from an earlier one for the now defunct Atavistic label from 2007, but the two together are very much of a piece. Lonberg-Holm uses electricity to turn the strings and body of instrument into a chameleonic sound generator. Parts of “The Figure Eight”, which closes the first side of the album, find him mimicking extended reed sounds. Brötzmann moves from throaty bass clarinet purrs to piercing shrieks, the latter exhortations sounding like the aural embodiment of a bullmastiff violently shaking some smaller mammal mightily in its jowls before summarily snapping its neck.

“The Circle”, which commences the concert, is shorter in scope, but equally fraught as Lonberg-Holm sculpts an introduction of scraped and stridently bowed shapes that presage Brötzmann’s bellowing entrance on overblown alto. Opening Side B, “The Spiral” repeats the combination, this time with tattered shreds of melancholic melody wrought through the cascade of caustically-charged sound. Longberg-Holm shaves smoldering ribbons from his strings and the measured aggression has the flavor of calculated combat with surprisingly beautiful interludes of restorative détente. Last on the freely improvised bill is “The Fusion of Opposites”, less rumination on the duality of the participants than a final foray into contrastive, but still highly complementary communication styles as Brötzmann voices a tenor variation on his venerable and wounded blues theme “Master of a Small House” against electronics-enhanced arco accompaniment.

Derek Taylor

1. The Circle (06:04)
2. The Figure Eight (13:42)
3. The Spiral (16:09)
4. The Fusion of Opposites (04:47)