from the booklet:
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
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.'
to be reckoned with on either side of the Atlantic!
Ken Waxman, Jazzweekly
strong journey through consistently intriguing waters, which takes
its time to unfold.
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC
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
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.
album sounds fresh as paint.
Nate Dorward, Paris Transatlantic
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
piano and percussion duo offers a solid and imaginative hour of
Eichmann’s ideas of pacing, dynamic, and cadence inform the
proceedings here, fully articulating the form while playing completely
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.