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Zauss - 2012 - "Notturno Leise im Wind"

(68:16, Fazzul Music)


1. Ein Reisenwusel 6:37
2. Schegge 5:01
3. Morgenrote 5:51
4. Make a Zauss Noise Here 3:05
5. Tribal Music 5:02
6. Pulviscolare 3:56
7. Leise im Wind 9:19
8. Mutazione 6:58
9. Echi Imprevisti 2:06
10. Vibrationen 4:47
11. Carving Air 5:34
12. Big Breath 9:12


Markus Stauss – saxophones 
Francesco Zago – guitars; loops

Prolusion. The international project ZAUSS consists of Italian guitarist Francesco Zago and Swiss saxophone player Markus Stauss, who have collaborated on a number of different projects over the years. Zauss is the name given to the sole project involving just those two, and so far four albums have been released under this moniker. "Notturno Leise im Wind" is the third of those, and was released through Stauss’ own label Fazzul music in 2012.

Analysis. As also stated in the review of the previous album by this creative due, the type of music to be found on this CD is one that resides well within the heartland of avant-garde jazz and challenging aspects of progressive rock. Instrumental music more or less defined by having a non-focus on conventional melodies and harmonies used in music of a more mainstream character, with a strong, if not total, improvised nature, performed by two quality musicians with an intimate knowledge of their chosen instruments. It is nice to see a project of this kind that develops its style and expression, and that there is an actual marked difference between this album and the one released the year before. I experience the opening cut Ein Reisenwusel as something of a transitional creation in that context, opening with the dramatic, often abrasive tendencies that made up one half of the territories explored on the previous album, and then the second half of this creation shifts towards a more careful display dominated by gliding guitar textures in what I will often refer to asRobert Fripp-sounding, with the saxophone complimenting and supplementing. An arrangement that was fairly typical on the second type of tracks that dominated this project's previous CD. From then on we're presented to a musical landscape with more width, depth and variation than on the project’s previous production. The use of stark, dramatic and abrasive sounds is lessened, and when used, they are often present in short instances or in a more dampened manner. The floating, gliding and hovering Fripp-ian guitar details both with and without the saxophone as a complimenting feature are rather more used throughout, but then more often in select instances and passages rather than as an ongoing and distinct feature. In addition, multiple shades of dampened abrasive and careful atmospheric sounds and effects are brought into play from both instruments. The end result is creations that are harder to categorize into specific orientations, and whether this is planned or not, the album as a whole comes across as a more cohesive production in that respect, with less variation from one piece to the next, but with a generally greater scope to each of the individual tracks. Personally I'll readily admit that I enjoy the charms of this project most when the sounds and effects used are not as dramatic and upfront abrasive, but I do enjoy the use of non-conventional sounds when used in a more careful manner. In the case of this CD the machine-like, dystopian and rather unnerving soundscape named Schegge is the one that impressed me most. If there ever is to be made a new movie in the Terminator series of films that has scenes from the ruined leftovers of the future world the terminators come from, this is the kind of music that would be a perfect fit for such a setting. Another track from the album, Tribal Music, shares many similar features; as far as tribal music goes, I'd say that this one sounds like it was pulled from a post-apocalyptic one at that, possibly transported back to our time with a time machine.

Conclusion. Zauss is a project that hones in on the most challenging aspects of avant-garde jazz. Instrumental, not relying all that much on conventionally compelling melodies or harmonies, with a liberal use of dramatic, twisted effects, sounds and instrumental movements that demand a lot from the listener. In this case arguably not quite as challenging as on their previous album, but my conclusion for this production will be the same as with their previous one. Those who enjoy challenging avant-garde instrumental music with liberal amounts of improvisational movements, and find the use of abrasive effects and various kinds of noisescapes to be refreshing additions to such performances, should know their visiting time with this one.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 15, 2016
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Markus Stauss


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