Umland Records 14
Overall, the harsh dissonance and some might say passive aggressive timbre propelling from the Bruit 4 brass group may suggest the European Union’s current political stalemates. However the organization of the ensemble and the denouement of the eight-section suite resemble the ideals that the EU was set up to achieve. Organized by Essen-based Florian Walter, who plays a so-called hybrid “Hechtyphone” here, other Bruit members are microtonal trumpeter Axel Dörner from Berlin, Italian trumpeter Flavio Zanuttini and Norwegian-born, Copenhagen resident Torben Snekkestad who plays a self-invented reed trumpet.
Listeners expecting the full-throated sassiness of conventional brass quartets will likely be surprised and mystified. Muting the instruments’ capillary characteristics, synergy among the four is in most cases on a lower plane than reductionist, depending on flat-line airiness, wisps and mouth burbles. While “Eight Sound Objects” is often conceived of as four parallel lines proceeding separately there are also periodic episodes of meiosis-like harmony. A break from this sonic grisaille, sometimes animated with tongue pops and whistles, occurs in an enlarged mid-section, encompassing what otherwise would be tracks 4 to 7. Rawer with pauses for breath, these staccato sequences set the air buzzing as inchoate timbres attain infrequent crescendos and diminuendos. With splayed pitches ranging from ocarina-like to pedal tone resemblances, the repeated overtones that result are as sonically palimpsest-like as well. Eventually as oscillated space-ship launching sounds are added to the vacuum cleaner-like buzzing, brassy brays and hand-muted expressions, the tonalities bubble upwards one final time then dissipate.
More a program of unexpectedly restrained air textures then the result of a brass-affiliated concert; these improvisations are aimed at a limited audience. But those willing to face the challenge will likely find much here.
Personnel: Axel Dörner (Firebird trumpet); Torben Snekkestad (reed trumpet); Flavio Zanuttini (trumpet) and Florian Walter (Hechtyphone)