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Moebius / Mueller / Schoenecker - Amalgam

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Artist: Moebius / Mueller / Schoenecker

Album: Amalgam

Label: Utech

Review date: Sep. 10, 2006

Residents of Vienna and Milwaukee know what to do with long johns; this Austro-American trio is similarly facile with long tones. Two days after Thanksgiving, 2005, sound artist Werner Moebius (no relation to Dieter Moebius of Cluster, but because Austria is a small country it turns out that he has worked with Hans-Joachim Roedelius) toted his laptop to the town made famous by beer. There he joined forces with percussionist Jon Mueller (who also runs the Crouton label) and synth/shortwave operator Jim Schoenecker.

The resulting piece is a masterful example of the slow boil; over the course of 27:44 they build gradually but continuously from a wavering sine wave to a Dagwood sandwich of variegated layers of electronic fizz. Mueller's interventions shape and pace the performance; whenever the fuzz threatens to pool or stagnate, his surging snare rolls and arrhythmic clatter deliver an oblique kick that keeps things rolling. It's not always easy to tell Moebius and Schoenecker's contributions apart, and that's all right; it's the collective voice, not the individual statements, that matters here.

Shortly after issuing this release, Utech announced a temporary halt to its wide-ranging series of small-run releases documenting the fringes of contemporary improvisational research and development. Whenever the label resumes operations, it could do far worse than to issue another dispatch from this team.

By Bill Meyer

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