Der Rote Bereich: Live in Montreux

COMPOSERS: Der Rote Bereich
LABELS: ACT
PERFORMER: Der Rote Bereich
CATALOGUE NO: 9434-2

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Der Rote Bereich (The Red Zone), is not unlike following a Tchaikovsky ballet with a hard-edged chamber piece by Alfred Schnittke. A live Montreux performance from 9 July 2001 reveals the amazing textural mileage an unlikely combination of guitar, bass clarinet and drums can amass over 11 selections in 49 minutes.

We encounter spiky unison themes that purposefully derail into deconstructed funk, with the bass drum working overtime filling in the overtones one would expect from a bass player. While guitarist Frank Möbus spins out clear, leisurely lines, bass clarinettist Rudi Mahall alternates between low register riffing and shrieking exclamation points a few octaves higher. Or else Mahall’s spidery flights of fancy soar over Möbus’s obsessive ostinatos.

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Selections never overstay their welcome, and often conclude with an unexpected twist. This music manages to be exploratory and concise at the same time, never meandering or lapsing into self-indulgence or cliché.