Monday, November 06, 2017

Rights - Schnellertollermeier (Cuneiform, 2017)

Rights is an interesting band, one that combines progressive rock, minimalism and jazz fusion into an alluring and compelling sound. These three musicians, Andi Schnellmann on bass, Manuel Troller on guitar and David Meier drums attended jazz schools in Switzerland and Scandinavia and have been working together as a band for more than ten years. They use sections of repetitive sounds to build up the drama of their opening piece "Rights," which gradually draws from that power to become darker and more imposing as the performance proceeds into the arena of grinding prog fusion. The pressure is high, and the band concentrates their sound to make the music lunge forward like a venomous snake, before backing off into the hypnotic repetitive figure that began the piece. They haunt the middle ground of the performance gathering strength, regulating the intensity of their sound with nuanced precision, adapting their source material, taking it apart for clues on how to proceed. The trio is gradually increasing the volume and dynamic power of their music by alternating short blasts of percussion with intricate guitar and bass. Subtle cymbal play ushers in "Piccadilly Sources" which has aspects of minimalism in its opening stage, and their hard won experience and expertise allows them to take the riff that they develop and use it for a range of variations that may not be jazz, although you could certainly see it from here. This music is hard to put your finger on, and that aspect of their sound keeps their music open for a a range of theme and variation sections that become quite compelling especially after they blast into a King Crimson (circa '73-'74) takeoff, adding a section of blistering drums that carries them through to the conclusion. "Praise/Eleven" has a gentler oping for guitar developing colors and shading with the remainder of the band gradually folding into an intricate and complex rhythm. They take a musical form and then develop an idea that will allow them to and play it through and see where it leads. This track allows them to investigate light and shade, and how they can use these concepts in their music. After a period of navel gazing they are able to kick the music up to another level, making powerful, imposing sounds that reverberate with purpose. "Round" is the concluding track on this album, developing a complex interwoven rhythm immediately that winds itself tighter, building up forces that are released with spasms of pure energy with strands of theme and melody woven into the fabric. The speed builds faster and faster to a frenetic level and then they blast off with the full force of the band playing powerful prog rock/fusion at a grand volume. The band regulates the intensity of their sound by dropping off of the heavy music to sections of whirling rhythm allowing the listener to hear concise, repetitive patterns which are the true DNA of their musical organism. This album worked quite well and it is clear that the band has been working hard at their craft. While it might not appeal to a jazz audience, those interested in intricate rock and roll that is played with integrity and concentration will find much to admire. Rights - amazon.com

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