I won’t bore you with another story of my tough day tonight. You know how it goes by now… Just tomorrow to get through and then I have four days off, three of which will be spent at the Unnamed Music festival in London and Leeds. Sorry if I keep mentioning the festival, but it deserves my support and yours. Say hi if you come along. Today then I listened to another release on the Creative Sources label (I am determined to listen to each one properly and write something on it!) Actually it wasn’t easy to listen more than once to today’s disc. I really didn’t enjoy it much. The CD in question is a new release by an all female quartet from (I think) Switzerland named (really rather badly) Quatre Têtes. Their album of ten shortish tracks is called Figuren.
I’m not actually sure how to describe the music they play, but Quatre Têtes are mad eup of two pianists Gabriela Friedli and Claudia Ulla Binderand two wind instrumentalists, Susann Wehrli (flutes and melodica) and Priska Walss (trombone and alphorn) In places their music is definitely very jazzy. There are several patches of melody to be heard, and a tendency for different instruments to come to the fore and almost solo on different tracks. Elsewhere it has a new music feel to it though, almost a kind of loosely played Earle Brown. It is certainly improvised, as in places it meanders slowly all over the place. It is busy, but somehow it doesn’t quite have the spark and energy of good old-school improv. It actually feels a really polite recording, with no aggression and no real surprises.
I have to be honest, I just don’t like this CD at all, but I am really struggling to pin down exactly why. It just has a certain sound to it, a mixture of groaning (often farting) wind instruments and quite annoyingly persistent piano. It spends a lot of time developing ideas that just don’t interest me much, little loops of repeated melody from one of the group mixed with rhythmic patterns from elsewhere and the odd dissonant moment thrown in by one of the others. I hate being so negative about music but I have to be honest, this CD bored me to tears. Maybe to others with completely different expectations of what they want from a quartet of this type Figuren is a good record. I’m obviously only voicing one opinion but there was very little here that held my attention. Richard Pinnell (The Watchful Ear)
Susann Wehrli – flutes, melodica
Priska Walss – trombone, alphorn
Claudia Ulla Binder – piano
Gabriela Friedli – piano
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