Next Delusion, Shameless 2016
freejazzblog.org, Derek Stone
In 2011, Boris Hauf gathered a sextet comprised of three reeds (himself on tenor/soprano, Keefe Jackson on tenor sax/contrabass clarinet, and Jason Stein on bass clarinet) and three drummers (Frank Rosaly, Michael Hartman, and Steven Hess, with the latter also adding electronics). The results, released as Next Delusion, were surprisingly restrained. There were moments of abandon, sure, but the predominant mood was one of brooding calm. Listening to that record was like watching the still surface of a lake, a lake in which you just knew there was some unspeakably terrifying beast. Whether or not you caught glimpses of that beast was beside the point – simply knowing that it could appear at any time was enough to make you feel uneasy.
On the group’s new outing, also called Next Delusion, it’s immediately clear that something is different. The uneasiness remains, and the compositions are just as taut and tense as before, but the sense of danger has been amplified; the proverbial flood-gates have opened up and you have no choice but to get swallowed by the deluge. The first piece, simply called “Bleed,”opens with the synchronized plodding of the drummers. It’s a dense and hypnotic rhythm, and it helps draw us down into the world Hauf has built – a world of submerged rooms, windowless, with no access to fresh air. Eventually, the reeds join in, moving together in fluid lines. The air is getting thinner, however, and a sense of urgency sets in: soon, each player goes off in different directions, producing wild offshoots and branches that give the piece a web-like structure. While Hauf stuck to tenor and soprano on the previous record, here he employs the baritone saxophone – a terrific choice that deepens the sound, fills it out, but also gives a somewhat menacing quality to the ensemble. His tone buzzes, rattles, and cuts through the composition in a deliciously diabolical fashion. In contrast, the other players, Keefe Jackson and Jason Stein, help keep the sound from getting toobogged down. If not for them, the piece would run the risk of becoming a monotonous slog. As things stand, however, Jackson’s tenor and Jason’s bass clarinet give the composition a manic buoyancy that acts as a counterweight to the rumbling low-end.
The center-piece, called “Steps,” hearkens back to the group’s previous record. It’s airy and abstract, but with an undercurrent of electricity that is not dissimilar to the charged atmosphere you can feel before the coming of a storm. The percussionists trade in the pounding drums of the last composition for sounds that are more nuanced: clanging waves, sibilant cymbal-work, and unnerving rattles. The reeds ride atop this rolling river of sound, contributing in subtle ways.
The final piece opens with the drummers locked together once again, sounding out a tribal call to battle. It builds and builds and then disintegrates, at which point the reeds engage in a tangled dance reminiscent of the first track. They continue on in this manner, sometimes frenzied and wild, sometimes serene, and then the composition comes to a close. In all honesty, this short collection of music (only 26 minutes!) could have easily been stretched out by another half-hour or so. Hauf is working with some wonderful musicians here, and the sound is a tantalizing mixture of elements I would have been happy to explore further. In any case, I highly recommend this to people who are more interested in the “textural” side of free jazz. While there are some undeniably fiery rhythms here, the real beauty lies in the atmosphere – when listening, you feel like you’re being swallowed up and subsequently crushed in the belly of a great sea-monster. Coming as I do from the Gulf Coast of Florida, I’ve experienced my fair share of hurricanes. I’ll never forget the feeling of the storm’s central eye passing overhead; you can look up and see the stars, but you do so with the full knowledge that you’re surrounded by an unthinkably immense pressure. This record can be thought of in a similar way. There’s a lot of space here, but it’s never empty.
Vital Weekly, Dolf Mulder
In 2010 Hauf made a first recording with his sextet, released two years later on Cleanfeed, titled ‘Next Delusion’ by the Boris Hauf Sextet. It took five years before Hauf invited his companions for another recording. The same players, the same unusual instrumentation: Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess and Michael Hartman on drums, plus three blowers: Keefe Jackson (tenor sax, contrabass clarinet), Jason Stein (bass clarinet) and Boris Hauf (baritone saxophone). Three drummers(!) and three blowers. An equivalent of this line up does not pop up in my mind. I guess there are none. From the musicians involved I only know Jackson and Rosaly from their work with that other European blower who has a link with Chicago: Christoph Erb. All of them operate mainly in different Chicago-based scenes. Hess, for example, is a member of the drone rock band Locrian (as a Popol Vuh-watcher I was surprised by their energetic cover of ‘Dort is der Weg’!). Logically recordings took place in a Chicago studio. Because of the backgrounds of most musicians, one expects to hear jazz. But that is not an adequate label. Nor is improvisation, as Hauf composed the three tracks that we find on this vinyl release on his newborn Shameless Records. Well then, what is it? All three pieces are composed from a very different angle. In the opening track ‘Bleed’ we have the blowers in the forefront, playing distinct but fine intertwined lines. The drummers make a contrast with a slow beat. ‘Steps’ is the opposite in a sense. Here drummers and blowers together paint a very abstract work. In this sound investigation the sounds produced result in a multi-coloured work. ‘Magus’, the third track, opens with a rolling and thundering intro by the drummers. After a few minutes the blowers start to produce their individual – improvised? – lines. There is tension and drama all over, that finds its way out in short climax. For all three compositions counts that Hauf is not seeking complexity, but seeks for something archaic and rough. Call it sound sculpting in concrete. When I try to visualize this music, I see a huge animal that is a bit uncomfortable about its size, but with a very sensitive heart. Charming!
Max McCormick, Sept 2015
“what a great big unholy sound!”
David Menestres, @AbstractTruth, Nov 2015
“When I die in the desert and the birds and coyotes are eating my organs and flesh, this is the album I hope they’ll be listening to.“
What’s in a name? It is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon for a band to become known by the title of its first album. (Prominent examples are the John Butcher group The Contest of Pleasures and the Evan Parker quartet Foxes Fox.) The latest case is Boris Hauf Sextet which released the excellent Next Delusion on Clean Feed in 2011, and now appears as Next Delusion on Hauf’s own Shameless vinyl-and-digital label with a different album of the same title.
In a world of loose or short-term associations, such name changes reassure aficionados that the group’s personnel and ethos remain unchanged from the album in question. And so it proves here, with the personnel unchanged from that Clean Feed album—Hauf himself on saxophone (baritone rather than the tenor or soprano of 2011– the only significant change here), Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Keefe Jackson on tenor sax or contrabass clarinet, drummers Frank Rosaly, Michael Hartman and Steven Hess, with the latter also on electronics; apart from Berlin-based Hauf, the rest are all Chicago-based.
Yes, that line-up is three reeds and three drummers, no other instruments. Sometimes albums list three drummers, but the small print reveals that they do not all play together. Not here, though–all three are ever-present. (Although two drummers are not uncommon, the only other group with three drummers that springs to mind is the 2015 touring version of King Crimson.) Hauf’s shift to baritone sax has made this sextet more bottom-heavy than before. Imagine the sound of baritone sax, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet and three drummers playing bass drums and tom-toms. It is no wonder this sextet lacks a bass player; one would get overwhelmed in this soundscape!
Across two sides of an LP—three tracks, twenty-six minutes—the six strut their stuff. The music is less jazzy than before but is not improv, as each piece is still a composition credited to Hauf. The music has no recognisable solos but plenty of ensemble blowing, sustained notes and interweaving, criss-crossing lines. The sextet’s rules of engagement seem to be that everyone plays most of the time. The only exception comes at the start of the final and longest track, “Magus”, when all three
drummers cut loose together, creating an exhilarating polyrhythmic tapestry, before the reeds join in together to generate a darkly brooding mood that bubbles away right to the end.
If Next Delusion ever plan to change their name again, Rolling Thunder would get my vote…
BORIS HAUF SEXTET, NEXT DELUSION – [CLEAFNFEED 2011]
Vienna saxophonist and improviser Boris Hauf was born in 1966 [sic!], in London. He has been a part of Chicago scene for almost a decade, and he made a pledge to American counterculture with a tribute to Levon Helm from The Band.
Hauf’s Chicago sextet Next Delusion consists of three wind players: Jason Stein (clarinetist), Hauf (tenor, baritone), Keefe Jackson (tenor, bass clarinet) and three drummers: Frank Rosaly, Michael Hartmann and Steven Hess.
The connection between Chicago and Berlin is not sporadic. Before Jeb Bishop quit the electric guitar in order to devote himself entirely to the trombone, the Art Institute of Chicago had organized a major event dedicated to Sainkho Namtchylak, a singer originally from Tuva, now based in Vienna, where the Chicago guitarists were performing a quartet by Werner Dafeldecker. Judging by recordings on YouTube, from 1991, it seems that Boris was an ace. At the beginning of the millennium, before the Viennese moved to Berlin, Hauf put his EAI sound on the map with labels Durian, Mego, Grave and Extraplatte, together with his colleagues from the band Klingt. With the group Efzeg, he became experienced with electronic sound textures, and with the use of saxophone, synthesizers and computer he used in his work with the American trio TV Pow, where, in addition to Hartmann, we can find a couple more obscure names.
The Sextet acquires an aesthetic of minimal rather than reductionist sound, in the introductory “Gregory Grant Machine” where frequency points are established by raindrop-like cymbals and microvisionary horn sounds that slowly heat up the intoxicating drone of collective timbre, spreading an aura of solar orgasm. In “Eighteen Ghost Roads” a suggestive atmosphere is created by the vocalistic thick harmonic clusters of the three horns, followed by the massive blast of refined drumming.
In the polychromatic “Fame and Riches” the idea is enshrined in the apple of an eye with the provocative voice of a saxophone playing a double role: the soloist and the first-rate score in something which sounds like almost a chamber orchestra. And although they are robust in “Wayward Lanes” it is not required from listeners to catch every detail. They are crawling under the listener’s skin – oh yes! – but leaving a space for the listener to instinctively find his or her own way.
original review in croation here.
translation: Ana Marija Sokovic
The New York City Jazz Record
“[…] On Next Delusion by Berlin-based saxophonist Boris Hauf, […] forms […] an even more unconventional lineup. There can be few instrumentations that are completely novel, but three horns matched with three drumsets recalls few precedents. Waxed on one of the German’s regular trips to Chicago, Hauf has assembled a talented crew, though their abilities are almost totally sublimated to the leader’s offbeat conceptions.
For much of the time, the three percussionists (Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess and Michael Hartman) are so restrained as to be subliminal and the horns (Keefe Jackson, alongside Stein and Hauf) aren’t much more demonstrative. It’s largely impossible to tell who does what in the four tracks, which defy categorization in their execution of Hauf’s austere and rigorous charts. Dissonant unisons and subdued drones characterize the horn lines, which often sound on a parallel but unconnected track to the rumbling massed drums. Ultimately it’s a curiosity that sounds like nothing else.”
The New York City Jazz Record
NEW YORK’s ONLY HOMEGROWN JAZZ GAZETTE
crow with no mouth
A collision of musicians that on paper might suggest fractious, frantic results, is instead a gestalt of tempered, balanced, largely restrained playing, with egos in abeyance and empathy keenly evident. You can refer to Bill Meyers’ fine liner notes for a run-down of Hauf’s affair with the city, but I do find one aspect of this ensemble’s joined sensibilities of interest. Essentially the Sextet is an encounter between Chicago improvisers of the Umbrella Music Collective (Jason Stein, Keefe Jackson and Rosaly) and musicians associated with (let’s forgo bickering about placeholder names) EAI (Michael Hartman of T.V Pow, Hauf with his Efzeg affiliation, Steven Hess of, among many projects, Haptic). A little research reveals that all of the Sextet came to Chicago, from every direction,between 1999-2001. Efzeg became active in Vienna in 1999, but Hauf began his infatuation with the Midwestern city that year, returning annually, more or less, to this date; Keefe and Rosaly hit the city in 2001; T.V. Pow, as a trio, became active in the city at that time; in other words, the present-day Sextet gathered in Chicago at least 12 years ago, drawn to it as a burgeoning locus for experimental music. That’s one aspect of this collision.
The music at hand owns some of the blurring of individual roles associated with Efzeg or Haptic; the horns often braid and twine together without solos or a foregrounded voice. There are passages where, oddly and refreshingly, the three drummers lay out, opening a World Saxophone Quartet-like space for Stein, Hauf and Jackson’s stacked harmonies. The flip is true as well – one piece finds the percussion rumbling alone, with an admirably tamped-down fire. There are occasional bursts of frenetic reed work, though reigned in and always returning and folding back into the whole.
Somehow – and I count this as no small feat – Hauf has immersed himself for many years in his adopted city, his love for theimprovisation forged there self-evident, without becoming derivative or diluting his own sound and approach. This enables the Sextet to be a strange brew, an authentic collective, remaining horizontal, unimpeded by egos, and able to foment, as they do onNext Delusion, a surprise or two.
The bewildering pace and high batting average of Clean Feed continues, and this latest batch brings together a range of improvisational approaches, scenes, and meetings. Boris Hauf is probably still best known as a participant in the Vienna improvising scene of the turn of the millennium, a saxophonist as comfortable in electronically rich environments (like Efzeg) as in micro-improvising. This new sextet music – with Hauf on tenor and soprano, Keefe Jackson on tenor and contrabass clarinet, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, and Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess, and Michael Hartman on drums (Hess also adds electronics) – is a rich amalgam of the two approaches. Next Delusion often sounds as if something of the woody intensity of Gebhard Ullman’s clarinet trio (at least their methodology if not their instrumentation) meets with a percussion sound midway between the spare beats of Martin Brandlmayr and a kind of Paul Lovens bustle. The opening “Gregory Grant Machine” is terrific, moving between sections of Polwechsel’s flinty sparseness and solemn moving chords from low woodwinds, continually dipping in and out of silence. It’s an approach that Hauf favors for this instrumentation, and he uses it even more effectively on “Eighteen Ghost Roads,” whose slow sectional chords rise patiently and deliberately to a stately, ROVA-esque feel before erupting in a threeway percussive rumble that sets up a different context for the same horn movement. There’s plenty of variation on the record, lest you think there are simply different settings for this general approach. Each tune features great attention to tonal / timbral contrast, often pitting high whining feedback against eructations from the lower horns. A burble of reed popping sets the course on “Fame & Riches,” which morphs via woven tones and the gentlest, deftest cymbal work into a sustained hum of an atmosphere. And the closing “Wayward Lanes” races along with a skirling series of bass clarinet patterns wending through a thicket of rimshots. It’s a compelling record, a consistent study of contain tension and contrasts.
— Dan Warburton, PT
Fascinated by the minimalist textures revealed by balancing percussion and reed timbres plus an overlay of electronics, Berlin-based saxophonist Boris Hauf convened these telekinetic exercises in collective improvisation during a 2010 busman`s holiday in Chicago.
A frequent visitor to that city, Hauf is best known for his work with the efzeg combo, but these CDs are even more reductionist. Replacing the guitars that were part of efzeg with piano micro-tonalism of one-name Austrian Juun, plus his own harmonium playing on Proxemics, Hauf fills out the juddering narrative with contributions from his tenor and soprano saxophones, Keefe Jackson’s contrabass clarinet and tenor saxophone and Steven Hess’s drum beats. Hess, who is almost prominent in metal bands; Hauf and Jackson, who leads his own band and is a fixture in Chicago FreeBop combos; are all accounted for on Next Delusion with the trio augmented by exploratory Windy City bass clarinetist Jason Stein and two additional drummers: Michael Hartman and Frank Rosaly, both of whom gig frequently on the Chi-town Jazz scene.
In all honesty the discrepancy in the sound density between four or six players is minimal. Both measured and lingering the sextet’s four tracks travel a similar linear path as the three advanced by the quartet. If anything the most audible variation is the prominent reed textures Next Delusion. Often Stein’s bass clarinet, Jackson’s contrabass clarinet and the lower notes from Hauf’s tenor inflate together into an exposition of subterranean-pitched, tugboat-horn-like blowing. At the same time the output is never completely opaque, as split tones, snorts as well as linear air movements are also audible. Although the potential exists for rhythmic heavy-handedness from the three accomplished drummers, instead the percussionists are exemplary in cooperation. For every explosion of united rolls, ruffs and rebounds that upsets the chromatic cohesion, there are many more instances of the kit manipulators limiting themselves to rumbling timbres on drum tops or isolating cymbal claps and splashes.
If there’s a defining track it’s “Fame & Riches”; obviously no reflection of those involved with experimental improvised music. Beginning with reed tongue-slaps, flutters and squeaks, bass clarinet slurps and contrabass clarinet slurs eventually coagulate into a dense, nearly motionless reed mass. Finally meticulously angled saxophone lines and microtonal drum slaps reanimate the sequence.
With a mixture of European concepts and American know-how, Hauf and company maintain individual expression among the harmonies and rhythms of extended group expression.
Jazz ‘n’ More
Hauf, a saxophonist, electronic musician, performance and videoartist lives in Berlin and maintains a close relationship with Chicago’s avantgarde scene, where he initiated and also curates “Chicago Sound Map”, a festival focusing on the dualism of composition and improvisation. Hauf’s last CD “efzeg krom” was released 2006 on hatHUT. Through selective concepts this German-US production “Next Delusion” successfully translates sound and structures of electronic music to acoustic improvisations. The atmosphere of the collective is the primary focus. Transparent and effective drama is created by clear texture changes that remind me of Bill Dixon and Barry Guy’s LJCO. In “Eighteen Ghost Roads” the three reeds gradually ascend in small groups of sustained notes, to be then primed in the second part by the rumbling continuum of the drums.The reeds weave diverse soundscapes composed of tongue and breath noises, violent chanting and oscillating metallic sounds and become the medium of contemplation.
Der Saxofonist, Elektroniker und Performance/Videokünstler Hauf lebt in Berlin, aber pflegt enge Kontakte zur Avantgarde Chicagos, wo er seit 2007 auch das Festival ”Chicago Sound Map” zwischen Komposition und Improvisation leitet. Die letzte CD ”efzeg krom” des Berliner Saxofonisten Hauf erschien 2006 bei hatHUT. Seine deutsch-amerikanische Produktion ”Next Delusion” ist ein gelungener Versuch, die Sounds und Strukturen der Elektronik mit selektiven Konzepten in akustische Improvisationen zu übersetzen. Es geht vor allem um die Atmosphäre des Kollektivs. Klare Texturwech- sel erzeugen eine schlichte, effektvolle Dramatik, die mich auch an Bill Dixon und Barry Guys LJCO erinnert. In ”Eighteen Ghost Roads” hangeln sich z.B. die drei ähnlichen Blasinstrumente mit kleinen Gruppen ausgehaltener Töne allmählich in die Höhe, grundiert im zweiten Teil vom polternden Kontinuum der Trommeln. Ambientartig werden Bläsersounds vom Zungen- und Atemgeräusch bis zum heftigen Skandieren, schwingende Metallofone und andere Free-Errungenschaften zu verschiedenen Klangflächen verwoben und so zum Medium der Kontemplation. Eindrücklich.
All About Jazz
Reedman Boris Hauf frequently pushes the envelope. For evidence, one need only look at his longstanding affiliation with the avant-garde, acoustic-electric Austrian band Efzeg, known for subliminal sound-sculpting mechanics and ethereal subtleties. However, his repertoire is quite extensive. Making frequent trips to Chicago over the years, he has aligned with like-minded individuals and noted improvisers, often residing on the same musical plane, similar visions coalescing for unpredictable outcomes. On this release, Hauf merges a three-horn attack with three drummers. Needless to state, the band’s makeup and scope of intent offer abstract permutations amid a keenly inventive platform, where hidden meanings are slowly revealed.
At times microtonal, Hauf leads the ensemble through layers of minimalism planted on understated motifs and asymmetrical pulses. The musicians slowly gravitate via a “rising from the ashes” sensibility that is spiced with ominous scenarios amid a symphony of tumbling polyrhythmic drum parts, casting an implied sense of urgency throughout. For instance, on “Fame & Riches,” the popping notes and rhythmic tapping maneuvers from the horns border on a serious-minded cartoon vamp played in concert with haunting soundscapes and low-key treatments, such as the drummers’ China cymbal swashes.
Jason Stein’s flickering bass clarinet notes, accented by free-form percussion grooves, parlay a vibe of happenstance during “Wayward Lanes.” However, the band renders a brash climate as intense dialogues ensue, leading to a heavy-handed military beat fused into hyper-mode and prompting a day of reckoning type situation. Therefore, Hauf’s undulating frameworks and impressionistic tendencies spin a phantasmagoric slant into a setting that is open for interpretation via transposable plots divulged on subsequent listens.
What can you expect from a Berlin-based saxophonist (tenor and soprano) who also has a parallel activity as an electronic musician? Well… the unexpected. And the surprise here is not only the instrumental configuration – three horn players, three drummers -, but also the musicians associated. Keefe Jackson (tenor sax, contrabass clarinet), Jason Stein (bass clarinet) and Frank Rosaly (drums) are names you can find in several Chicago avant-jazz projects, but the other choices made by Boris Hauf, also centered in the Wind City, are a puzzling indication that this sextet is not a common Chicagoan enterprise. Michael Hartman (drums, electronics) comes from the noise/electronic ensemble TV Pow, and Steven Hess works normally in brutal metal and “near silence” electro-acoustic bands like Cleared, Haptic and Locrian, going from one extreme to the other. Before even listening to the CD you’re aware of the proposed intentions: to explore all the contradictions naturally introduced by the performers, and to keep alive the inherent musical tensions. And the truth is that “Next Delusion” boils to the point of explosion. Remarkable.”
Liner Notes by Bill Meyer
The Boris Hauf Sextet is a Chicago band, but it’s not one that any Chicagoan would put together. It’s not so much the triple-horn, triple-drum kit line up, since folks here put together all sorts of unusually configured ensembles, but the combination of people. You might find the Berlin-based saxophonist’s accompanists on the same bill, but not in the same group. Jason Stein, Keefe Jackson, and Frank Rosaly are all members of the jazz scene associated with the Umbrella Music organization, and it’s not rare to see any two of them together. Michael Hartman is from TV Pow, the spearhead ensemble of the city’s truculent electronic/noise scene, while Steven Hess engages in low-volume synthetics and hi-octane art metal with Cleared, Haptic, and Locrian.
The Sextet’s assembly of similar-sounding instruments and contrasting aesthetics exerts a powerfully disorienting undertow, so that the music always seems to be under pressure. In the first two pieces the horns often operate as one, radiating long tones like sunbeams dimly glimpsed through heavy winter clouds; the drums either sit out or chip away at the low brass’s choral figures like dissenters who can’t decide whether to vote against the status quo or just stay home and drink. The reeds take a different approach on “Fame And Riches.” First all three erupt in a popcorn-popping melee in which it’s as pointless to ask as it is impossible to tell who does what. Then Hauf pushes to the center, playing a blues whose acerbic self-challenge brings to mind Roscoe Mitchell, only to melt back into a liquid haze of horn and cymbal tones that coalesce like some alloy forged in an old South Side steel mill. Limber improv and caterwauling laments bring the tensions to the surface on “Wayward Lanes,” and a final group pummel dispels them.
Hauf doesn’t want for things to do at home. He has combos for every occasion, commissions for dance and film soundtracks, and a monthly pre-dusk play date for kids and parents. But nearly every year since 1999 he’s spent time in Chicago. His first time here he dropped his bags at the Tokyo Hotel, a decrepit establishment that mainly caters to locals down on their luck, and looked up Fred Anderson. The AACM founder and mentor of a multitude of Chicagoans invited Hauf down to his bar, the Velvet Lounge, where he schooled him on points of saxophone harmony and played him a Charlie Parker interview. In Chicago Hauf got his first (and only) tattoo, bought his first (and only) baritone sax. He comes to Chicago to make things happen.
Why Chicago? It’s not the only place where you can find musicians who play rigorous orchestral compositions, austere electro-acoustic improvisations, and vein-popping prog-punk rave-ups, but where else would it be the same guy, on the same night? The uncommon fluidity of Chicago’s musical community is well documented, but Hauf’s just as drawn to its attitude. Lozenge and TV Pow, both of whom have welcomed him on stage, may not sound alike, but they share a laconic skepticism, personal amiability, and why the fuck not spirit that’s as American as Bugs Bunny. They’re also able and willing, unlike players in most American cities, to put in the time and faith to make things happen over the long hall. People here know that while they have something precious, they can’t be precious about it. Like the septuagenarian icon/bartender Hauf met his first night in town, they know first hand the unglamorous grunt work that keeps a scene alive. Chicago’s musicians not only match Hauf’s aesthetic orientations, they light a fire under his ass.
Bill Meyer, Berwyn IL, April 2011
There’s been an interesting mini-trend in recent years, not often successful, wherein musicians active in the electro-acoustic improvisation scene seek to come to terms with avant jazz, usually an oil and water proposition. Saxophonist Boris Hauf, who has been active in the eai world for quite a while, has been experimenting in this vein over the past few years and manages, often, to negotiate this territory with an unusual nimbleness, probably derived from a clear great respect for certain rich traditions.
For Next Delusion, he assembles a sextet consisting of three reeds (himself, Keefe Jackson and Jason Stein) and three percussionists (Frank Rosaly, Michael Hartman and Steven Hess, the latter also contributing electronics). Hess, in fact, is also a member of Haptic, another group that, more obliquely, nods in the jazz direction. The massed reeds automatically summon memories of the World Saxophone Quartet and, indeed, one picks up traces of that seminal ensemble but to me, the guiding spirit from the jazz pantheon is Julius Hemphill specifically. Echoes of the sonorities found in Hemphill’s magnificent pair of recordings, Dogon A.D. and ‘Coon Bid’ness can be gleaned here as well as the overt use of staccato passages for punctuation.
“Gregory Grant Machine” really luxuriates in those rich strains, a dark, moody brew with the creamy reeds atop a broiling roast of percussion. Most of this music really lies more in a jazz milieu than otherwise, but the ambiance is informed by eai so that one pays more attention to the textures, the small sounds, the variations amongst the musicians on like instruments than one would have with Hemphill, where the overall effect and surge was the salient ingredient. Hauf pulls off the imposing trick of imparting something new to a genre long gone stale. He’s not always so successful; here and there the music meanders and the saxophonists fall back on busyness and over-saturation rather than restraint, resulting in more clutter than cohesiveness. But even at these points, there’s a lot to say for the sheer deliciousness of the reeds/percussion melding — it’s never less than sensuous and scrumptious.
Es ist in jeder Hinsicht ein sehr ungewöhnliches und gewagtes Stück Musik, mit welchem das Boris Hauf Sextet Boris Hauf seine Hörer konfrontiert. „Next Delusion“ (Clean Feed Records) ist schlicht und einfach das Paradebeispiel für ein musikalisches Experiment in Reinkultur. Mit drei Saxophonen und drei Schlagzeugen sehr eigenwillig instrumentiert, taucht das Ensemble rund um den Namensgeber Boris Hauf in eine Klangwelt ein, in welcher jegliche stilistische Begrifflichkeiten und Definitionen vollkommen außer Kraft gesetzt zu sein scheinen. Was regiert, ist alleine der Geist des freien Spiels, der Wille, ein Hörerlebnis der ganz anderen Art zu erschaffen, eines, welches sich kunstvoll von herkömmlichen Musikentwürfen abhebt.
Nein, in irgendeine stilistische Schublade oder Kategorie lässt sich das, was die sechs Herren abliefern, nicht stecken. Dafür räumt das Boris Hauf Sextet zu sehr mit allem auf, was nur im Entferntesten mit herkömmlichen und gewohnten Formaten zu tun hat. Es sind das Spiel der freien Kräfte, die avantgardistische Auslotung des klanglich und musikalisch Möglichen sowie der Versuch, etwas ganz Neues zu erschaffen, was von den ungemein experimentierfreudigen Protagonisten zelebriert wird. Die faszinierend leichtfüßige Art, mit welcher die drei Saxophonisten Boris Hauf, Keefe Jackson und Jason Stein und die drei Schlagzeuger Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess und Michael Hartman mit den Begriffen Free Impro, Jazz, Klangkunst und Elektronik umzugehen wissen, diese nach eigenen Klangvorstellungen umzumodeln verstehen und in einem höchst eigenwilligen, manchmal sehr schrägen und an Nuancen umso reicheren Gesamtsound aufgehen lassen, offenbart sich schlicht als die allerhöchste Kunst des freien Spiels.
Das wirklich Schöne am Musikentwurf dieser außergewöhnlichen Band ist, dass eine wirkliche Vorhersage darüber zu treffen, in welche Richtung sich ein Stück tatsächlich entwickeln wird, zu keinem Zeitpunkt möglich ist. Bewusst werden von den sechs virtuos agierenden Instrumentalisten immer wieder falsche Fährten gelegt, um dann im nächsten Moment mit spontanen und aberwitzigen Wendungen zu überraschen. Zugegeben, die wirklich leichte Kost ist es nicht, welche der Sechser anbietet. Aber dennoch, man fühlt sich trotz aller nicht bestreitbaren Komplexität und Sperrigkeit auf eine faszinierende Art und Weise gezwungen, sich der Herausforderung zu stellen, die CD vom Anfang bis zum Ende durchzuhören. Was eigentlich den eigentlichen Beweis für die herausragende Qualität dieses Musikexperiments liefert.
„Next Delusion“ ist ein Stück Musik geworden, das eindrucksvoll unterstreicht, welch faszinierendes Klangerlebnis man von allen Scheuklappen befreit und mit dem Mut zum Experiment erschaffen kann. Aufgeschlossene Musikliebhaber, die sich auch gerne auch einmal auf neue Sachen einlassen, sollten diese CD daher auf jeden Fall einer intensiven Gehörprobe unterziehen. (mt)
Enregistré à la même époque que Proxemics, Next Delusion donne à entendre Boris Hauf conduire un sextette dans lequel prennent place Steven Hess (batterie, électronique) et Keefe Jackson (saxophone ténor et clarinette basse) et puis Jason Stein (clarinette basse), Frank Rosaly et Michael Hartmann (batteries). Là, les vents progressent à l’unisson, que les tambours attisent puis contraignent. Des graves sinueux se répandent au sol et bientôt les rôles sont distribués : série de duels, pour l’essentiel, qui arrangent l’ensemble par modules. L’intérêt de l’auditeur variant au gré des inspirations.
No compasso da ilusão
A primeira característica a reter deste grupo é a sua estranha e, acima de tudo, raríssima formação. Trata-se de um sexteto constituído por três sopros (madeiras) e outras tantas percussões. O líder Boris Hauf fica-se nos saxofones (tenor e soprano), Keefe Jackson atira-se ao sax tenor e clarinete contrabaixo e Jason Stein (líder do projecto Locksmith Isidore) trata do seu habitual clarinete baixo. Nas baterias estão Frank Rosaly, Michael Hartman e Steven Hess – este último acumulando ainda responsabilidades nas electrónicas.
Originários de campos de actuação distintos (a maior parte vem da jazz de Chicago, mas há gente oriunda das cenas noise e da improvisação “near-silence”), os músicos encontram neste projecto uma plataforma de união e expansão. Surpreendentemente, a música não fica limitada pelas características dos instrumentos; antes pelo contrário, cada músico trata de explorar as possibilidades de cada instrumento, exibindo uma larga variedade de recursos.
A responsabilidade maior cabe a Boris Hauf, músico da cena berlinense (nascido em Londres), que nos últimos anos tem desenvolvido uma intensa actividade em projectos musicais diversos – procurem por efzeg, Owl & Mack, The Understated Brown (ou só TUB), Severe Moral Purity e Proxemics. Curiosidade extra: já fez música para uma peça de Vera Mantero.
Ao longo de quatro peças (com mais de dez minutos, cada um delas) o sexteto explora diferentes ambientes, trabalhando uma música requintada que fomenta a comunicação instrumental, sublimando eventuais redundâncias. Com este disco, uma das suas mais recentes edições, a Clean Feed volta a confirmar que o jazz actual é uma matéria mutável, que não tem receio em beber nos mais diversos afluentes para conseguir como resultado um fluxo profundamente original.
Experimental saxophonist Boris Hauf (of Efzeg fame) introduces a new kind of sextet: three saxes/clarinets (himself, Keefe Jackson, Jason Stein) and three drummers (Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess, Michael Hartman). Four Hauf compositions, all around 10 minutes in length, all subtle plays on textures and superimpositions of voices – some passages are strongly reminiscent of The Remote Viewers in a very delicate mode. The music is tiny, barely holding together, on the verge of self-effacement – typical of Hauf’s writing, which is often microsonic, like impressionism for very attentive ears.
Le saxophoniste expérimental Boris Hauf (d’Efzeg) propose un sextet nouveau genre: trois saxos/clarinettes (lui, Keefe Jackson, Jason Stein) et trois batteurs (Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess, Michael Hartman). Quatre compositions de Hauf, toutes dans les 10 minutes, toutes jouant sur les textures et les superpositions d’écritures – certains passages m’ont fait penser aux Remote Viewers, en mode très délicat. La musique est menue, ténue, souvent à la frontière de l’effacement – typique de l’écriture de Hauf, souvent microsonique, impressionisme pour oreilles très attentives.
Mousieur Delire (Francois Couture)
Berlin based saxophonist Boris Hauf creates some unusual music, synthetic of several modern styles, regardless of genre, combining jazz with noise, minimalism and electro-acoustic musings. On “Next Delusion” he is accompanied by Keefe Jackson on tenor sax and contrabass clarinet, Jason Stein on bass clarinet and the triple percussion line-up of Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess, and Michael Hartman on drums.
As the cover art illustrates, this is not exactly music for birthday parties, offering the combined sound of resigned desperation, sadness and doom. The first track evolves quite monotonously in the literal sense, with increasing volume and intensity. The second track starts without percussion, with the three saxes playing slow subtle harmonic shifts, to be suddenly interrupted by a triple percussion outburst, then gradually both conflicting approaches overlap and end in harmony. On “Fame And Riches”, the mood is black again, with Hess’s electronics adding to the eery atmosphere of low-toned unison lines. The album ends with a rhythm-less free-for-all in which saxes and percussion explore chaos, broken by sustained and very long rumbling of the drums, finishing in an orchestrated repetitive and rhythmic fashion.
There are moments when you wonder about the actual substance of what you’ve just heard. But then, it’s so intriguing you want to listen again. And that feeling does not go away. What is happening here? Possibly a strange and not unpleasant kind of disorientation. And somehow that is what we like.
Downtown Music Gallery
“Featuring Boris Hauf on tenor & soprano sax, Keefe Jackson on tenor sax & bass clarinet, Jason Stein on bass clarinet plus Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess & Michael Hartman on drums & electronics. Although all of the members of this unique sextet are currently based in Chicago, they come from different musical scenes. What is also unusual is that the instrumentation includes three reeds and three drummers and no bassist. Mr. Hauf is part of Efzeg (with Martin Seiwert & Burkhard Stangl) as well as working with Werner Dafeldecker and Kyle Bruckmann in the past.
“Gregory Grant Machine” simmers quietly, minimally and mysteriously like that Euro style of lower-case improv but perhaps a bit more dense or agitated – eventually building to some intense foghorn-like drones. For “Eighteen Ghost Roads” the three drummers whip up a powerful storm percussion while the reeds create more eerie drone layers. The reed players mostly deal with textures rather than solos creating shimmering lines that shift the currents on which this music is based. The turbulent shifting textures of the reeds on “Wayward Lanes” creates a disorienting vibe that is most effective while the drums also rustle up more rolling waves. Without long or designated solos we are forced to listen to this music is a different way. The rewards for serious listening are still found within each layer nonetheless.”
Bruce DMG, NYC