Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wolfgang Dauner, OUTPUT

ECM, 1970; out of print

6 tracks, 37:35

Ahhh, Wolfgang Dauner! From his early free jazz albums (FREE ACTION being the best) to his insane combo Et Cetera (and of course the psych-jazz classic THE OIMELS), the man never fails to amaze and confound. On this album, he is joined by his usual (and EXTREMELY talented) drummer Fred Braceful and frequent cohort Eberhard Weber on various string instruments. Braceful was also a member of the insanely creative Exmagma. Both would later be part of Et Cetera as well. Dauner himself handles piano, Clavinet, and ring modulator. The results are absolutely incredible. Braceful's drumming can go from steady to insanely free-form at the drop of a hat. Weber is no slocuh on his instruments either, capable of both tasteful cello atmospheres and near-Sharrock freakouts; Dauner uses the ring modulator to occasionally turn his guitar sounds into something else entirely. Dauner himself is fine playing the piano in a relatively straightforward fashion, or using the modulator to heavily process its notes for an unearthly effect. He treats the Clavinet pretty much the same way, and its distinct tones are made even more alien in the process. Reviewing individual tracks is pointless, as everything from the murky "Mudations" to the closing "Brazing The High Sky Full" (co-written by Braceful and featuring his eccentric vocals) needs to be heard in one go for the full effect. Every track holds its surprises; one particular highlight is "Nothing To Declare", which manages to come closest to jazz. It's also the longest track at ten and a half minutes, not a second of which is wasted. It's somewhat surprising this came out on ECM, as the wild experimentation present here is far removed from the usual ECM sound. Fans of electronic jazz should find plenty to love here, as will adventurous post-rock fans; rock fans may be slightly put off, as this is by no means a rock record, but give it a chance anyway. Somebody really needs to reissue this pronto!

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