Bugge Wesseltoft & Henrik Schwarz - Duo II

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Wesseltoft Schwarz return with a new selection of tracks, DUOII, demonstrating that while neither acclaimed jazz composer and keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft nor electronics maestro and producer Henrik Schwarz could be described as predictable, as a duo they are absolutely mercurial. Their natural affinity, and symbiotic musical relationship, seems to provide both with equal amounts of inquisitive, experimental and creative energy, and all without sacrificing their accessibility.

This second collaboration album (or third, if you also include the equally superb "Trialogue" where the duo was joined by bassist Dan Berglund - of EST, Tonbruket and RYMDEN fame) travels the sonic landscapes of their imaginations, in all directions. Like its predecessor, the album retains that organic quality that allowed the music to breathe and expand, blurring the distinction between electronic and acoustic, and between live and sampled performance. However, that is where the similarities end, as this time their stylistic mutations have followed different paths, and they have augmented their sound with guest musicians and vocalists, conjuring different vibes, sounds, methods and moods - all while remaining distinctly Wesseltoft Schwarz.

The sparseness of opener "Woodened Stone" with its insistent melodic percussive figure and interweaving pads, overlaid with serene interjections of piano, lays an open and welcoming path to the rest of the album. "Future Strings" takes us on a new direction that initially seems like some alternate reality where Romantic orchestras incorporated synthesisers, while "My First Life" (featuring vocals from Kid Be Kid) presents us with the contrast of a fresh take on urban soul, complete with lush strings. The track pairing of "Duolism" ("One Two" and "Two Two") brings Solistenensemble Kaleidoscop, a string quartet (Paul Valikoski - violin, Grégoire Simon - violin, Ildiko Ludwig - Viola, and Boram Lie - Cello), into the mix, and the expanded sound first flirts with the baroque while retaining a distinctly pop sensibility, then moves into a resonant and rhythmic dynamic that is somehow minimalist while simultaneously swelling at the seams. "Eye for an Eye" continues with the quasi-minimalist feeling, while the strings give way to a synthesiser/piano combo expanded by the voices of Jenniffer Kae, Jemma Endersby and Catharina Schorling, creating a piece of much larger scale than the constituent parts would suggest is possible. "Basstorious", featuring trumpeter Sebastian Studnitzky, brings together more traditional jazz elements, TB-303 style basslines, and the percussive stone/woodblocks heard at the album's beginning, and shifts effortlessly between upbeat urban dance and hazey late-night moods without dropping a semiquaver or its melodic hooks. The album's closer, "Now I'm Better" gradually comes into focus, with low sine bass tones, a steady beat that emerges and recedes, vibraphone soloing interweaving with piano over an evolving soundscape - all before erupting into a full-on stomp, moving with an irresistible and optimistic determination.

This long-awaited sequel to DUO indicates Wesseltoft Schwarz's disregard for rules or received wisdom remains healthier than ever, and that their work - both live and in the studio - will never be lacking in innovation or surprise. 


SKU 687437794933
Barcode # 687437794933
Brand Jazzland / Universal

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