Swiss-born percussionist and composer Martin Perret is a fixture on Berlin’s creative and improvised scenes, and L’Anderer (“other”) is his main artistic outlet. Exploring his parallel interests in composition, improvisation and theory, Perret harnesses a rotating cast of collaborators who each shape the musical output in their own particular way.
This is the group’s second release, and in keeping with Perret’s creative credo it is an entirely different lineup to that heard on 2016’s Don’t Try You Are (which heavily featured rising star Marie Krüttli). Swedish ex-pat Otis Sandsjö is perhaps the most recognisable name here, while rounding out the band are Swedes Holmström and Lorinius (bandmates in Dark Horse), and Dutch multi-instrumentalist Morris Kliphuis, who brings some otherworldly synth textures to the opener.
The sharp intersecting lines of Junctures immediately set the tone. Grooving on a steady minimalist pulse, the piece then suddenly dissolves into abstraction at its midpoint before Perret’s theme re-emerges in a subtly altered form. The staccato Quandaries is altogether more abrasive, drawing heavily on Sandsjö’s “liquid jazz” to experiment with the layering techniques so common in contemporary electronica.
Atem, a serene free-ballad, finds Sandsjö building a solo out of hazy saxophone harmonics, gently propelled by Lorinius’s cleanly articulated counterpoint. Low-end piano harmonics build an unsettling landscape for Sandsjö to roam during the opening segment of Some Place, before Holmström’s repeating figures are stretched and distorted in free time. Steadily intensifying ensemble exchanges ensue, creating a genuine sense of jeopardy before the group settle into some kind of melodic and harmonic resolution.
Perhaps the most ambitious compositional statement of the set is the final track, A Long Distance. Once again playing to Sandsjö’s strengths, Perret’s foursquare backbeat marks processional time as the saxophonist explores a claustrophobic range of electro-acoustic timbres. Pent-up tensions are finally released in the majestically sweeping melodic coda, and the ensemble really brings it home. As an exercise in precision, discipline and control, it is a remarkable example of Perret’s compositional and improvisatory methods in action.
Another thought-provoking release from the Germany-based label QFTF, Junctures is a short but impactful statement which both demands and rewards repeated listening.
Hear/buy Martin Perret’s L’Anderer: Junctures at martinperretslanderer.bandcamp.com
Junctures; Quandaries; Atem; Some Place; A Long Distance (36.04)
Otis Sandsjö (ts); John Holmström (p); Morris Kliphuis (ky) on track 1; Alfred Lorinius (b); Martin Perret (d). Hitipapa Studio, Berlin. No date.
QFTF Records 157A