Saturday, September 24, 2011

Martin Kuchen: The Lie & The Orphanage

Martin Kuchen (sax)
The Lie & The Orphanage (Mathka; 2010)

Swedish saxophonist, Martin Kuchen, has explored various soundscapes for almost two decades now.

He has worked with Magnus Broo (in the quintet, Angles), Exploding Customer, Taco Bells trio and Erik Carlsson to name a few. He has worked with both avant garde settings as well as slight straight-ahead trio outings. But with each project he shines on multiple levels.

His bellowing arches of sound made on both baritone and alto sax almost sound like a full quartet at times. On his most recent solo release, The Lie & The Orphanage (Audio Tong), Kuchen creates a host of other worldly atmospherics that are beautiful, frightening and revelatory.

"The Testimony Of Marie Neumann" is a rolling experiment in chord changes. Kuchen manipulates the sax with different breathing techniques and additional found sounds. It's awesome. Like a futurist, Ken Vandermark. You get the feeling you are on a journey through a long cavern with dying flashlight. "The Orphanage" and "Plausible Lies" both feel like an audio collage to a dark nightmare that you somehow can't get out of. It's dense passage and crackling movements swirl inside one's psyche until you realize there is no resistance.

"Killing The Houses, Killing The Trees" inflects a layered and almost tribal element into the setting. The harmonics are pulsating and the focus really becomes the up and down movements of Kuchen's techniques both through breathing and precise note placement. It has cavalcade affect with little shots of intricately placed noise towards its closing notes.

Well most of The Lie & The Orphanage can be placed within the context of improvisation, there is not doubt that there is a melody and orchestration in place that leads the listen on the journey. I am a big fan of baritone sax and when someone finds new ways of conjuring up different sounds and theories it blows me away. Kuchen has done just that on his third solo outing. It really isn't a hard listen but it is definitely a must listen for everyone...

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