4 February 2020
SOSat eve 1-1
Then session 2, Saturday evening. Very slightly late, quite cold inside (21degC vs. 43degC and fires outside), but the music was electric. Electric and hot, but not in terms of equipment: this was fully acoustic, despite arrays of mics for recordings. I'd lent an amp, but Wilbert didn't want it and, given his powerful hands and raised action and huge sound, no way he deeded it. This was loud and intense and massively interactive and impressively together. The final note just happened, obviously arrived to some surprise to all, but I know that feeling, when you know the band is to do something, without clear messages. At least not conscious messages. I heard a few snippets of lovely jazz lines from Frank and some great (and somewhat unexpected) funky grooves from Wilbert, if wonderfully altered with harmonic movements. I mentioned this after to Wilbert and he claimed all is grist for this mill - a wonderful, knowing response to my ear - jazz or Boulez (Debussy?) or whatever influence. The funky groove surprised but enlivened me. Achim was all quick passages, flowing under his hands, mostly pretty atonal, mostly also prepared for diverse sounds. Wilbert was just a swig of techniques: bow, jazz pizz, slaps, strums, pulls, scrapes, retunings (not least one return in the middle of a piece, with tuning fork between his teeth). Frank passed through clarinet and flute as well as the alto. All this form all with power and energy to spare and intense concentration and listening. These guys are very good and everyone knew it. A revelation and a pleasure. As a sample, they have a few CDs on Spotify called oblengths and palaë.
Achim Kaufmann (piano, Germany), Wilbert De Joode (bass, Netherlands) and Frank Gratkowski (alto sax, flute, clarinet, Germany) performed first up at SoundOut 2020 Saturday evening at the Drill Hall Gallery.