Posted on Sep 3rd 2009 12:38 am
MORITZ VON OSWALD TRIO
Honest Jon’s Records 2009
04 Tracks. 44mins23secs
With a past as rich as his, and a musical footprint counting the legendary Basic Channel imprint and Rhythm & Sound no less, two projects he spearheaded with Mark Ernestus, techno/dub legend Moritz Von Oswald needs no introduction. His latest project, answering to the seriously cool moniker of Moritz Von Oswald Trio, is just the latest in a long string of high profile dub-based work. Having enlisted the unquestionable talents of Max Loderbauer, of Sun Electric and NSI fame, and Sasu Ripatti, who splits his life between his Vladislav Delay, Luomo and Uusitalo guises, here on percussions duty, Moritz Von Oswald leads here one hell of a project.
Divided into four quarters, or Patterns, of varying sizes, Vertical Ascent displays much of Von Oswald’s touch, channelled into vast minimal soundscapes and propelled by powerful dub engines, but the addition of Ripatti’s live percussions and Loderbauer’s electronics open up the scope of the project quite considerably by flooding it with rich organic textures. The fruit of hours of live improvisations, these four cuts, brought down to size and finely adjusted by Von Oswald, are at once exquisite slabs of atmospheric dub, effervescent electronic epics and fertile electro-acoustic experiments. Pattern 1 and 3 are the more upbeat sequences here, the former rapidly settling into a train-like flow, driven by Ripatti’s rippling percussions and Loderbauer’s smooth and warm sounds waves, expanded, through peaks and troughs, over a quarter of an hour, while the latter, shorter by four minutes, is heavily infused with Ripatti’s taste for Jamaican grooves, brought to life through the omnipresent use of steel drums, leaving the other two to feed these with deep dub pulses, seemingly withdrawn from the fore but active all the same.
The trio engage in much more introvert and cathartic moments with Pattern 2 and 4, defining these with less rhythmic emphasis, turning their attention on the sound density of these two pieces instead. Of the two, the more elaborate experiments are found on Pattern 4, which continuously ebbs and flows according to the throbbing low-end bass pulsations inflicted by Von Oswald throughout, and grows darker as layers of delay and effects build up. Pattern 2 on the other hand is a much more austere and slumbering affair, with its crawling beat, accentuated by a lone toll-like steel drum for most of its course, and rarefied components painstakingly dragging it through muddy fields from one end to the other.
The four distinct patterns composing this album, while heavily feeding from each of the three contributors’ identity, take them into territories far removed from their respective natural environment. The result is utterly fascinating and powerful, and appears to gain definition and depth with repeat listening. Over fifteen years after he started breaking the mould and opened up new grounds for others to explore, Moritz Von Oswald is still ploughing well ahead of the competition.
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