,★` are: Jonas Labhart (saxophone, effects), Laura Schuler (violin, effects), Berni Doessegger (drums)
What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
B.D. We started as a duo in 2016. Now it is a trio with Laura Schuler on violin. But we think it not as a trio, but as an open collective.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
B.D. We just released our first recording. It is called track,★`s because, we’ve recorded tracks…
J.L. And track,★`s is about the merging of free improvisation with a chamber music-like approach and insertion of electronics that establishes a filigree space of musical happenings. The seven unedited tracks trail the labyrinth of possibilities of improvisation like folds, while the sense is subject to ongoing negotiation.
B.D. This requires for us to question the act of collective improvisation to get beyond its informal rules and dogmas. So it is a deconstruction of the possibilities and the horizon of music, improvisation and freedom. This whole concept means for us a form of study of improvisation, that is not only self-empowerment beyond musical ideologies but also to debate the question what improvisation is, what social and political context it deals with and which urgency it includes.
J.L. ,★` symbolizes this imaginary space, created over and over anew, that is shared with the listeners to ponder about the meaning of music and improvisation.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
B.D. For me, like for Jason Moran, a main inspiration comes from Skateboarders like Andy Anderson, Alexis Sablone or Marc Gonzales. When they skate down the street they show us not only a bunch of new and innovative skate tricks, they show us also a new way to understand the environment of streets, stairs, rails and walls. That has something to do with the political understanding of things. A musician not only shows technical ability but also a new way to understand and listen to music. He shows us to the other possibilities of the world.
J.L. I originally studied Jazz composition and the whole history of western composition from the Middle Ages to today because I was always wondering how music is built. My understanding is that music conveys a deeper meaning and that by knowing how it is built I might understand that meaning better. By getting to know all those different ways of musical thinkings I was dared to find my own way. Therefore I feel musically influenced by famous composers or contemporary musicians and the street musician around the corner alike.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
B.D. The sound of our music, I think, is contemporary, in that way, that we use all these synthetic oriented sounds and mix it up with jazz and chamber music. The sound is not a mix of the above but between those genres. On the other hand, the process is very democratic and very fragile one. Instead of jamming on we often think in three counterpointed voices: every voice speaks for its own, but it creates a world, a totally new world, with a total different environment in a total different shape. So what you can listen to is the event of creating a new world together, where the ideas of each one of us are as new for us as for the audience.
J.L. And by listening to the the new music that is created by the three different musical approaches that genuinely want to interact in a free environment you can hear a process that you know very well from any situation in life: negotiating the terms.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
B.D. A book we discussed in the collective recently is “Undercommons” by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten. But also older books like “Le pli – Leibniz et le baroque” form Gilles Deleuze. The Pli means for us something ongoing, immanent, and potentially infinite.
J.L. I probably would want to bring one “magnifying glass” on a specific development in music, e.g. all recordings of Henry Threadgill. Or Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
B.D. We prefer live. Because free improvisation is an art form that is happening in a certain situation. We think of our music more as a process rather than a product, because it happens right here between us. But in fact the moment of the recording is not so different. The mics are the audience, so you have more a hypothetical audience in mind.
J.L. I agree with Berni, music comes to be alive in live situations, which is also one of the reasons I am very hesitant of putting out records. However, this recording preserves the tracks we played on that day and therefore preserves this day with all its peculiarities. And for this I would not want to miss this recording.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
J.L. “Track 1” is the first track on our record, and was chosen by the video artists Miro Schawalder and Yeliz Palak for a short film that deals with the hard physical labor in agriculture that in rich countries is nowadays fulfilled by automated machines and day laborers from abroad.
B.D. It is an insight into the factory of agriculture, where farmers are different than in the past when they used to walk down the field on the way home. It is a film about the forgotten people, because nowadays these laborers are behind machines and hidden by the economical complex of agriculture.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
B.D. I would like to deal with some electronic musicians who have another approach to sound, form and interaction. They try to interact through machines and therefore it is very different to my acoustic approach with the drums.
J.L. Next to the electronic expansion I would like to find artists from a different field like visual artists, dancers etc. that share our approach to improvisation.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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