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the temperature dropped again
Arnal & Eichmann
the temperature dropped again
1. swing dribble – pointing north / 2. pendulum/ 3. bermuda triangle boat trip / 4. half pint / 5. radio set
four french apparitions 6. l’appat / 7. la méduse / 8. l’écureuil ivrogne / 9. le désir froid
for Benno Trautmann 10. ...durch offene Grenzen

Dietrich Eichmann – piano, Jeff Arnal – drums, percussion
recorded at Hans-Rosbaud-Studio, Baden-Baden, on December 6, 2002
Leo Records 2004

total duration: 62:33

item no.
LR 390
retail price: € 13,90


from the booklet:
There is a new generation of musicians with a bright look into the future who try out everything to create a new music and two of these new inventors are percussionist Jeff Arnal from New York City and pianist and composer Dietrich Eichmann from Old Berlin.
Jeff Arnal contributes a unique approach towards sculpting the form, focus, intensity and dynamic qualities of the music. The broad spectre of his capacity as an improviser may be underlined by the fact that he frequently shares the stage in a duet setting with one of the most spontaneous saxophonists of our time, Charles Gayle.
A musician who seeks the challenge to play with Charles Gayle on the one hand and Dietrich Eichmann on the other must be a very special character. I hope to meet Jeff Arnal someday somwhere – the sooner the better!
In the eighties Dietrich Eichmann understood himself as a pure free improviser, as much as that is possible, of course, before he turned into a composer. Today he includes ideas he originally developed for his compositions in his playing which is freely improvised, but out of a different conciousness. He told me that he could not improvise the way he does today if he had not concentrated on compositional structures all the time before.
Somehow Dietrich Eichmann works the opposite way of Portuguese flutist Carlos Bechegas who would choose the better parts of his free improvisations to ‘compose’ concerts and recordings while Dietrich has his compositional skills at hand while freely improvising. About both situations we could speak as forms of constructed improvisation.
Im May 2002 Dietrich performed with The Straight Trio at the Improvised and Otherwise Festival of Sound and Form in Brooklyn, NY. Jeff is co-artistic director of this annual festival of experimental music, dance and multi-media work. During this visit the duet had their first musical meeting. At their second meeting in December of the same year they recorded at Hans-Rosbaud-Studio in Baden-Baden, Germany. Their wonderful music is entirely improvised although determined by the compositional ideas of both musicians.
One day Dietrich told me the following: ‘John, you’re almost seventy and it’s highest time you get serious’, and I replied, ‘You’re right, Dietrich, let’s produce a CD together’. Of course, there is another reason, too: Jeff and Dietrich have a lot to offer and it’s right here for you!

John ‘Sugar Daddy’ Rottiers

'A rare collaboration between a classical composer and a jazz/improv drummer. Arnal and Eichmann belong to a new generation of musicians and are definitely counted amongst the most versatile personalities in contemporary avant-garde music. This exciting encounter brings into being a unique dimension of music with fresh sounds of existential beauty. Their spontaneous improvisations tend to emerge as structures. Sometimes tense, sometimes dark and even disturbing, their music is always gripping.'

Leo Records

Two to be reckoned with on either side of the Atlantic!

Ken Waxman, Jazzweekly

A strong journey through consistently intriguing waters, which takes its time to unfold.

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC

My last encounter with Eichmann was as the composer of the weighty piano concerto "Entre Deux Guerres", written as a response to the unprecedented violence of 20th-century history; he is also composer of a concerto for Peter Brötzmann and twenty-piece orchestra with the equally formidable title "Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights". I'd not quite anticipated his lightness of touch as an improviser at the piano. The surface is tremulous, sometimes busy as a blackfly swarm; more often it's pointillist taps of a single note, like the proverbial crow dropping pebbles into a pitcher of water. Eichmann works inside the instrument for much of the album, and a lot of the real musical activity here occurs in the overtones, though his use of preparations and the manual damping and bending of notes is subtle, a far cry from the weird Dali soundscapes conjured up by players like Denman Maroney.
Drummer Jeff Arnal, a protégé of Milford Graves, is similarly preoccupied with light, microscopic textures, rapid and evanescent. Like Eichmann he likes to tap quietly and insistently, like a sculptor gently chipping away at a block of marble.
The album sounds fresh as paint.

Nate Dorward, Paris Transatlantic

A fine duet featuring two lesser-known but extremely talented players, the fine Brooklyn-based percussionist Arnal (who studied with Milford Graves) and the explosive pianist Eichmann (who studied with both Wolfgang Rihm and Alexander von Schlippenbach). Though their partnership isn't too long-standing, they play well together. "Swing dribble" is a nice study in contrast with Eichmann exploring the lower register and the timbre of prepared strings inside the piano as Arnal delicately delineates the outlines. Though the feel here is often thunderous, there are multiple details which convey the level of intelligence and sensitivity here. "Pendulum" also begins from delicate preparations or extended techniques (slashing inside-piano harpsichord effects) and ramps up. Eichmann dances nervously as Arnal generates a whirring drone sound - again, contrast is one of this duo's specialties. These pieces don't ramble on, much to the duo's credit (and this may also be adduced to their tendency to think in compositional terms, trimming the excess musical fat). Notice how patiently they trade lacerating sounds on the menacing "Bermuda Triangle Boat Trip". "La Meduse" has a claustrophobic quality to it, as well, enhanced by the insistent minimalism of Eichmann's pattern - a nice one. "Radio Set" begins very abstractly, though what's best about this piece is that they vary their dynamic approach and explore a single mode for the entirety of this performance. "Le Desir Froid" is a palette-cleansing blast of noise before the long final track. Overall, this is a contribution to an already existing "literature" - the post-Cecil piano/percussion duo - but it stands easily with some of the strongest entries..

Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine

This piano and percussion duo offers a solid and imaginative hour of improvisation.
Dietrich Eichmann’s ideas of pacing, dynamic, and cadence inform the proceedings here, fully articulating the form while playing completely spontaneously.
Likewise, Jeff Arnal, always walks the tightrope, playing instinctively and with great surprise in knotty dynamic situations. He understands the implicit directive that the music gives to play around his collaborator as much as through him.
As the pieces unfold, there are wonderful surprises, disconcerting moments, and, of course, eternal movement through the terrain of jazz, classical, and other musics that serve as touchstones for their joint creations.

 Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Eichmann and Arnal cover a great deal of territory. Their intimacy with their instruments allows them to bring forth an array of fresh, unpredictable sounds; the music is alternately dissonant, meditative, industrial, lilting, explosive, and stark.
In the first suite, “Pendulum” is a particularly lovely piece, simultaneously lyrical and free, and “Half Pint” works boldly with silence.The highlight is “Four French Apparitions”; the four songs shimmer with delicacy and beauty as Eichmann’s rapidly cascading high notes create an otherworldy sparkle of sound.
They hold to no particular limitations or rules as they work the edge between music and sound; both are interested in dynamics and the use of space as well as the orchestral sides of their instruments. A playful element is at work as well; clearly they enjoy the process.

Florence Wetzel, All About Jazz, New York, June 2004

L’improvisation est le meilleur exercice qu’un compositeur puisse pratiquer pour savoir où il en est dans sa musique. Pour Dietrich Eichmann et Jeff Arnal la musique n’a d’intérêt que si elle révèle les sentiments, la tension et la passion des hommes qui la bâtisse. Cette idée force est à la base de ce duo qui s’avère être à l’origine d’une véritable réflexion sur la création contemporaine. Enregistrée d’une traite à Baden-Baden en décembre 2002 et livrée brute, sans mixage ni retouches intempestives, la musique présentée sur the temperature dropped again, résume les intérêts des deux interprètes pour la création dans ce qu’elle a de plus noble et de plus sincère. Aucune retenue ni prédisposition esthétique, la musique coule comme un fleuve capricieux, se jouant des obstacles placés ça et l à pour retenir sa pulsion naturelle. Dès lors la musique prend son envol, construit son propre langage, son vocabulaire qui s’enrichit d’autant plus qu’elle chemine, qu’elle se grave sur la platine.

Pour Dietrich et Jeff la recherche de la musicalité l’emporte sur toutes les références techniques ou les artifices fédérateurs, but avoué, elle renvoie du créateur, cette image qui tend à s’estomper de fragilité et d’opiniâtreté.

Sébastien Moig, JazzoSphère

Ora aqui temos um trabalho que se situa entre aquilo a que se vai chamando música "clássica" contemporânea - designação anglo-saxónica algo inexacta (sim, como se pode ser clássico e contemporâneo ao mesmo tempo?) -, e a improvisação de matriz jazz, vivendo da própria ambiguidade formativa e estilística dos seus dois protagonistas, o pianista alemão Dietrich Eichmann e o baterista/percussionista dos EUA Jeff Arnal. O primeiro começou por estudar com uma das figuras cimeiras do free jazz europeu, Alexander von Schlippenbach, mas depressa optou pela composição, tornando-se aluno de Wolfgang Rihm e produzindo peças concertantes ou para orquestra de câmara (ainda que sem esquecer o seu passado como "jazzman": o solista da sua «Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights», uma obra infelizmente ainda não passada para disco, é Peter Brotzmann). Só muito recentemente Eichmann aceitou voltar à cena da improvisação, ao lado de músicos como Wolfgang Fuchs ou Takashi Yamane, mas avisando que a forma como hoje improvisa tem tudo a ver com a sua dedicação às estruturas composicionais. Arnal, por sua vez, é um baterista com raízes no jazz (colabora regularmente com Charles Gayle), mas os seus interesses levam-no até ao domínio da "new music" - a música dita "erudita" dos Estados Unidos, muito mais experimental e inventiva que a do Velho Continente. Resultado: uma música feita de células, deflagrada e pontilhística, em que o piano volta, muitas vezes, à sua condição primária de instrumento percussivo, e a percussão procura ultrapassar o seu convencional papel de gestor de métricas. Ambos os músicos dão particular atenção à transmutação de formas e estruturas. Não o fazem recorrendo a padrões rítmicos ou a fraseados melódicos, o que seria demasiado fácil e óbvio, mas também não se contentam com a simples elaboração de texturas. Uma prova de como a música espontânea pode ser tão complexa quanto a escrita.


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