CD Ensemble 2INCQ: Rhön

NurNichtNur, recorded September 2002, released 2006 on German label NurNichtNur. Total Time: 66:17 Minutes. Marianne Schuppe – voice, Joachim Zoepf – ss bcl, Margret Trescher – fl, Dirk Marwedel – extended saxophone, Hans Tammen – endangered guitar, Ullrich Böttcher – elec, Ulrich Phillipp – b elec, Georg Wolf – b, Michael Vorfeld – perc, Wolfgang Schliemann – perc. Recorded by Joachim Zoepf, mastered by Joachim Zoepf & k-team.

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Belying its numerical membership, 2INCQ’s sound is minimalist and reductionist, somewhat like the Berlin-based King Übü Orchestrü. Containing burbles, whistles, slaps, mumbles, jiggles and quivers, there are no real featured soloists. Each of the numerical tracks reaches its descriptive zenith through a pointillist accumulation of electronically-triggered or acoustically expelled timbres.

That doesn’t mean however, that individual expression isn’t heard. It’s just that, unlike more aggressive music, not one exists in isolation from another. At points Tammen’s strummed reverb hangs in the air, as do hollow, wooden drum clip-clops and cymbal clangs, tough, broad puffs from Trescher’s quarter-tone flute, bowed double bass vibrations and rotating electronic drones. If either Zoepf’s or Marwedel’s wet reed tones, hisses or tongue slaps define some passages, then single word articulation in French and German, as a well as Bedlam style expostulations from Shuppe define others.

At nearly 17 minutes and almost 23 minutes respectively, tracks “II” and “V” give the tentet the broadest field on which to display extended swells and undulations. On the first piece contrapuntal percussion and wavering electronic pulses provide the shifting ostinato for the other players’ sound layering. Among the pitches exposed are irregular drum plops, flams and ruffs; double double bass sul tasto sweeps and spiccato motion; and connective tongue rolls and note swelling with body-tube vibrating from the reeds.

Even longer, and climatically the finale – followed by the nearly-six-minute coda of “VI”, “V” initially balances on reed split tones; tooting flute lines; continuous signals that could arise from Tammen’s, Böttcher’s or even Phillipp’s electronics; and most prominently the vocalist’s throat gargles and phrase-swallowed muttering.

Eventually this inchoate sequencing reaches a crescendo of sorts when Shuppe’s basso tongue rolls unite with Zoepf’s bass clarinet lines and sweeping double-stopping from Phillipp and Wolf. With the massed troops now galvanized for a purported, lower-pitched attack, string swells and echoing percussion thumps harden into battle-ready abrasions. Just when the point-of-no-return appears to have been reached, however, the track dissipates into growling electronic drones and reed gurgles plus double and tripe drum paradiddles. A conclusive reed squawk confirms the finale.

Ken Waxman, Jazzword.com