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All About Jazz

The duo Postmarks consists of London-born Austrian saxophonist Boris Hauf and the Chicago-based American pianist D Bayne. Their first CD Western Ave (Luminescence, 2005) was a limited-edition of only one hundred copies packaged in unique covers, each a handcrafted collage from twenties Chicago postcards. For National Parks, the duo went to Vienna to record with experimental guitarist Martin Siewert, maybe best known for his work with Trapist or in Hauf’s Efzeg. The outlines for the ten pieces the three recorded were composed by Hauf and Bayne, and inspired by U.S. national parks and their representation on posters from the thirties and forties.

Without veering too close to programme music, the pieces clearly display the influence of the material that inspired them. They are gently melodious and have a mellow tranquillity that is easy on the ear without risking becoming soporific. Occasionally there are traces that the two have been mindful of the thirties/forties origins of the posters, most obviously in Hauf’s sax work. For instance, his rising phrase that opens “Hubbell Trading Post at dusk” sounds borrowed from the big band era and will have many listeners racking their brains for its inspiration. Three of the pieces appear in two versions—distinguished as “at dawn” and “at dusk”—and comparison of these reveal that the compositions are not prescriptive but allow the players considerable leeway for interpretation and improvisation, to the extent that—at over eleven minutes—”Hubbell Trading Post at dawn” is over twice the length of “Hubbell Trading Post at dusk.”

As the inspiration for the music was a combination of nature (the parks) and nostalgia (the posters), the choice of Siewert as a guest player with the duo was an intriguing one, maybe signaling that Hauf and Bayne were seeking to avoid the music becoming overly pastoral or nostalgic. If that was the intention, Siewert—with his minimalist style and use of electronics—was a good choice to help steer the music clear of such things. In practice, Siewert plays a typically understated role, contributing just enough coloration to brand this as twenty-first century music; for instance his judicious injections of electronic noise clearly brand it as neither pastoral nor nostalgic. An inspired choice by Postmarks.

– John Eyles

The Wire

The beautifully designed digital collages that adorn this release, each reworking elements of 1920s posters advertising American national parks, apparently inspired musical outlines for the eight pieces here. Postmarks are the pianist D Bayne and the saxophonist Boris Hauf, who on this, their second album, are joined in places by the Viennese guitar experimentalist Martin Siewert. On the whole these are slow, moodily beautiful piano and sax improvisations, with Bayne’s forthright, oftener minimally repetitive piano providing a framework over which Hauf drifts smoky, semi-melodic lines. Siewert’s contributions are few and far between, but add an abstract electronic coloring that does just enough to keep the album, away form middle ground jazziness. Difficult to firmly categorizes, National Parks often veers close to tuneful politeness but retains an atonal edge throughout that undermines everything and provides a nervous and intriguing quality to the music.
– The Wire

freejazzblog

We like the music of saxophonist Boris Hauf, as can be read on previous reviews here. On these albums Hauf demonstrated his skill to create a sonic mood, a coherent environment sculpted with sound. On “National Parks” he is accompanied by D Bayne on piano and by Martin Siewert on guitar.

The music is inspired by the posters for US national parks from the 1930s and 1940s, which strangely add the dual color of evocating nature, while at the same time coloring with sentiments of bygone days.

The music is quiet, well-paced, subtle, beautiful, not cheerful but also not really sad, but rather solemn and light-hearted, if that is possible, and then Siewert draws a solid nail through the musical poster, ripping every sentiment of comfort you may have had.

Some of the tracks are real miniatures, short often minimalist pieces full of finesse and interesting playing, and they are as good as the longer pieces, which are on the second part of the album, with more room to develop the ideas while at the same time allowing for more emotional depth.

In a way you could qualify the music as free jazz impressionism, because of its concept and its accessibility and obvious beauty on the surface level, yet at the same time, the music remains open-ended, like nothing is definitive, with more abstract threads of sounds left unraveled, as if there is a question mark behind it all, and with some darker undercurrents, something fearful and unexplained, mayby unexplainable, hidden in the invisible parts of the scenes yet present, or with traces of the past somehow still lingering, only to be caught with sound, with repetitive arpeggios, slightly bending notes on the sax and screeching guitar sounds.
– Stef

freistil

On “National Parks” Postmarks reflect upon the appearance of various U.S. national parks and their representation on posters of the 1930s and 40s. Still, even without this background knowledge, the extemporization of this classic sax/piano line-up is impeccable.

Auf “National Parks” reflektieren Postmarks das Erscheinungsbild diverser US-Nationalparks unter Berücksichtigung ihrer Darstellung auf Plakaten der 1930er und 40er Jahre. Dieser inhaltliche Background spiegelt sich freilich in einem Saxofon-Klavier-Duo höchstens rudimentär wider, wenn überhaupt. Und auch ohne das Wissen darum funktioniert die Extemporierung der klassischen Besetzung hinaus ins freie Feld tadellos.
– felix freistil.klingt.org

MORE REVIEWS

Postmarks National Parks reviews

The beautifully designed digital collages that adorn this release, each reworking elements of 1920s posters advertising American national parks, apparently inspired musical outlines for the eight pieces here. Postmarks are the pianist D Bayne and the saxophonist Boris Hauf, who on this, their second album, are joined in places by the Viennese guitar experimentalist Martin Siwert. On the whole these are slow, moodily beautiful piano and sax improvisations, with Bayne’s forthright, oftener minimally repetitive piano providing a framework over which Hauf drifts smoky, semi-melodic lines. Siewert’s contributions are few and far between, but add an abstract electronic coloring that does just enough to keep the album, away form middle ground jazziness. Difficult to firmly categorizes, National Parks often veers close to tuneful politeness but retains an atonal edge throughout that undermines everything and provides a nervous and intriguing quality to the music.
– The Wire

Blow Up
Boris Hauf (saxophones) and D Bayne (piano) are Postmarks – assisted here by guitarist Marin Siewert who superimposes a layer of static electricity in intimate dialogue with the acoustic instruments. Inspired by America’s national parks and the way in which they were represented on postcards of the 30s, the album is full of lyrical passages that enhance a sound material organized with rigor and intelligence. (7)
– M. Busti, Blow Up

monsieur delire (Francois Couture)
Second CD from Postmarks – pianist D Bayne and sax player Boris Hauf (ex-Efzeg, among other projects) – with guest Martin Siewert on guitar and electronics. Delicate, thoughtful, quiet improvisations (they were in part pre-planned from what I understand), rich in abstraction. From time to time, an electronic tone cuts through, allowing the listener to refocus his attention, which tends to start wandering during this record. Not entirely convincing, but an interesting release.
–monsieurdelire

Le son de grisli
They are inspired by maps Americans national parks published in the 1930s and 1940s – to each his scores – saxophonist Boris Hauf and pianist D Bayne made ​​the trip to Vienna for Martin Siewert recorded their project – the Austrian may also intervene on guitar or electronics. A slow saxophone, timid and defeats piano notes and feedback Tension: So much for the opening ballad disgrace what Bandelier National, which does not communicate its nonchalance parts which follow. Is that the pianist has decided otherwise: borrowed, that he abuses Accessories interventions, arpeggios harped or leaks without ideas. And as Hauf follows suit while Siewert is not far from silent, we are eager to finish.
Le son de grisli (Guillaume Belhomme)

Boris Hauf Zeit-Ton Portrait Ö1

Zeit-Ton

Donnerstag
05. Juli 2012
23:03

link

Zeit-Ton Porträt. Wiener Weltenbummler: Boris Sinclair Hauf. Gestaltung: Andreas Felber

Boris Hauf

Boris Hauf

“Ensemble für zeitgenössische Gebrauchsmusik”, kurz: EFZEG, so hieß die Formation, mit der Saxofonist Boris Sinclair Hauf in den 1990er-Jahren in der Wiener Szene bekannt wurde. Heute lebt Hauf in Berlin und pflegt enge Beziehungen zur Improvisationsszene in Chicago, wo er u. a. das Festival “Chicago Sound Map” kuratiert. Aktuell meldet sich der 38-Jährige mit CD-Veröffentlichungen seines Sextetts und des Quartetts “Proxemics” zurück.

importance of concentration and close listening

In one of the most pitifully attended concerts I’ve ever witnessed in Vienna, last weekend saw a deserted Porgy & Bess play host to the first gig in seven years by electroacoustic improvisation quintet Efzeg. The meagre turnout was probably inevitable, given that it was a hot Sunday night and that this music is not exactly a crowd-puller at the best of times; but it was also unfortunate, since what we had here was a reunion gig (oh, how I do love reunions) by a group containing some of Europe’s leading exponents of the electroacoustic genre.

I missed Efzeg the first time around, of course, which makes their 2012 reformation all the more pertinent. I’ve long admired guitarist Martin Siewert’s work, though, having seen him play both with avant rock unit Heaven And and in a trio with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and turntablist and Efzeg member dieb13 (Dieter Kovacic). Kovacic, meanwhile, turns up in Swedish Azz with Gustafsson, who was a guest at Heaven And’s last Vienna gig. You get the picture.

In marked contrast to those previous, bracing encounters, Efzeg are all about duration, the lengthy accumulation of sonic detail. During the concert, I found myself in an unfamiliar, somewhat disquieting mode of listening. I’m not used to the kind of patient unfolding of sounds that Efzeg present us with; years of close attention to free jazz and improv have conditioned me to enjoy, perhaps even to expect, a succession of thrilling events. Such expectations are clearly not part of the EAI aesthetic. The closest I’ve come would be the few AMM concerts I was lucky enough to see in London in the 1990s, before the deplorable schism that led to founder member Keith Rowe leaving the group. Come to think of it, Rowe’s tabletop style of guitar playing is clearly a direct antecedent of Siewert’s, although Siewert often plays in a more conventional style as well. Anyway, what AMM taught me, and Efzeg reminded me of, was the importance of concentration and close listening as a means of situating oneself within a musical environment.

That makes the whole thing sound like some kind of bloodless sonic experiment; nothing could be further from the truth. Over the course of two longish sets, the group’s four instrumentalists proposed a layered approach in which the saxophone, guitars and turntable each traced their own paths before coalescing into a pulsating and vertiginous wall of sound. The amiable Boris Hauf’s spare, astringent sax was bolstered by the quietly flickering guitar of the studious figure next to him, Burkhard Stangl. On the other side of the stage, Siewert was in abstract tabletop mode for the most part, occasionally exploding into fractured power chords. Next to him, dieb13 was to be seen thoughtfully looking through his records before deciding which one to play next, their soft drones adding layers of snowy interference. Meanwhile, visual artist and fifth member Billy Roisz was using the group’s audio as input for her analogue visual feedback projections. Constantly evolving in response to the shifting textures of the music, Roisz’s bold grids and insectoid patterns provided a hypnotic visual correlative. Taking the music and the visuals together, the overall effect was of a mysterious and unresolved entity stubbornly resisting capture. I sincerely hope the group continues to play live, despite the depressing lack of interest shown in this outing.

Richard Rees Jones

EFZEG melden sich zurück

Ein Abend ganz im Zeichen der wunderbar schrägen elektroakustischen Klangspielereien, der hohen Improvisationskunst und der kunstvollen Verschränkung von Sound und Bild steht am 17. Juni im Wiener Porgy & Bess auf dem Programm. Zu Gast ist mit EFZEG eine Formation, die sich nun nach mehreren Jahren Pause erneut wieder daran macht, mit den Hörgewohnheiten des Publikums zu brechen. Ein kurzer Blick auf die Namen der Beteiligten gibt eigentlich schon die notwendige Auskunft darüber, in welche Richtung es gehen wird: Boris Hauf, dieb13, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl und Billy Roisz. Eigentlich ein Muss für jeden, der sich für musikalische Erlebnisse abseits aller Normen und Konventionen begeistern kann.

Wenn sich fünf Künstler dieses Kalibers und mit einem solch offenen Musikverständnis einmal gemeinsam auf der Bühne einfinden, dann kann man mit Sicherheit alles erwarten, nur nicht das Gewöhnliche. Allesamt führende und innovative Köpfe der österreichischen Improvisations- und Elektroakustikszene stehen Boris Hauf (Saxophon, Elektronik), dieb13 (Turntables) Martin Siewert (Gitarre, Elektronik), Burkhard Stangl (Gitarre) und Billy Roisz (Visuals) als Gruppe für die vollkommene Überwindung aller möglichen musikalischen und stilistischen Begrifflichkeiten. Sie sind ausgewiesene Experten im Beschreiten der experimentellen, avantgardistischen und von den herkömmlichen Mustern und Definitionen wegführenden Pfade, virtuose Klangarbeiter, die das Spiel mit diesem zur allerhöchsten Kunst erhoben haben.

Eine exakte Voraussage darüber zu treffen, was nun wirklich passieren wird, legt das famose Quintett einmal richtig los, ist eigentlich nicht möglich. Dafür agieren die fünf musikalischen Freigeister einfach viel zu sehr im freien Raum, in welchem alleine das gegenseitige Zuwerfen und Weiterverarbeiten von Ideen, sowie aus Aufzeigen neuer akustischer Wege regieren. Was aber auf alle Fälle erwartet werden darf, ist eine intensive und abwechslungsreiche Klangreise, welche von schrägen  Free-/Impro-Jazz Interpretationen über die experimentelle Elektronik und Elektroakustik bis hin zu den heftigsten Noiseausbrüchen führen wird. Eine hochenergetische Mischung, die einer musikalischen Kettenreaktion gleichkommt, welcher man, ist sie einmal in Gang gesetzt, wohl kaum mehr Einhalt gebieten wird können. (mt)

http://www.musicaustria.at/magazin/jazz-improvisierte-musik/artikel-berichte/efzeg-melden-sich-zurueck

efzeg

We are thrilled that after a 7 year hiatus efzeg will reunite and play concerts again. (info)

1999: After a 3 month stay in Chicago, Illinois Boris Hauf was in search for a new sound for his (till then) project-based musical outlet ‘efzeg’. He invited Burkhard Stangl, Martin Siewert and dieb13 to play a concert/recording session within a series of ‘house concerts’ he was hosting in his living room in Vienna, Austria. The 4 met that afternoon for the first time ever in a musical context. They set up microphones and an 8 track recording machine and hit record: a fixed line up had crystallized out of that session and efzeg was no longer a project based ensemble. Shortly thereafter Billy Roisz joined the four musicians using their audio as input for her analog visual feedback projections. From their first album on (grain – durian 2000) efzeg was “at the cutting-edge of the European avant-garde music.” (allmusic.com).

From 1999 – 2005 efzeg released 4 full length albums, various music for video, compilations and a full length vinyl on high profile labels such as durian, charhizma, grob, hathut, en/of, staalplaat and others. Billy Roisz’ videos were an essential part of the many live shows the band played and were also represented on most CDs they released. It’s hard to find an ensemble with such a vast and consistently well received and highly praised output in such a short period of time. Even after a break up in 2005 efzeg was still productive releasing tracks on various compilations (Selsi 2008, Venusmond Part 4).

Join us for our first concert in almost 7 years and our 13 year anniversary on June 17, 2012 at Porgy & Bess, Vienna.

efzeg

Boris Hauf
Billy Roisz
dieb13
Martin Siewert
Burkhard Stangl