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(64:56, Fazzul Records)
“Neulich Neben Der Grenze”, issued under the moniker of ZAUSS, is a joint effort by saxophonist Markus Stauss and guitarist Francesco Zago, both of them from Switzerland. I have heard as well as reviewed several albums with Stauss’ participation. All of those are stamped by signs of his specific saxophone playing, but nevertheless, more than half of them strongly differ in style, this one generally a standout in this respect. The majority of the nine tracks presented have been freely improvised, and yet, the music doesn’t come across as being unstructured, at least compared to all (okay, almost all) of the other spontaneously-created outings that I’ve heard. The album’s overall style would probably be best described as jazz ambient, albeit the music is often unusually heavy. Besides, even Stauss’ saxophone parts not always appear as free improvisations, while Zago is busy most of the time either with playing metal guitar riffs or, say, providing soundscapes (which he does by using loops), none of the features suiting my concept of real impromptu stuff, meaning in this particular case, of course. While I’m by no means a fan of this approach, the material in hand doesn’t alienate me from itself, to say the least.
Vitaly Menshikov: September 17, 2012
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