München cs800









Classical music continues to be a significant fount for collaborations in this space, particularly for string groups, including various projects around Ernesto Rodrigues. Those (more often arco) string articulations can involve a variety of novel pairings as well (including with non-strings...), but what I've taken to calling the "jazz string quartet" (with double bass instead of a second violin) seems to be becoming an ongoing format (for a variety of musicians...). And it's been specifically ongoing for Berlin-Lisbon quartet Dis/con/sent (Dietrich Petzold, Ernesto & Guilherme Rodrigues & Matthias Bauer), now releasing its fifth album on Creative Sources, München (recorded there live this past June): While the program presents two substantial four-movement "string quartets" (complete with opus number being the recording date...), indeed suggesting a classical format, the brief accompanying materials emphasize the live & unedited (& uncut) nature of the performance. There's also a sort of aggressiveness (or at least novelty...) built into the sound of Dis/con/sent — whose first album was reviewed here in October 2018 — via extended technique, with Petzold especially bringing "bowed metal" (& clavichord & tenor violin here) & sometimes vocalizations, but those qualities (despite some solos...) are also increasingly bound to the flow of the quartet as a whole. Technique becomes in service to an overall sense of abstraction (per the post-Bartók quartet world...), i.e. to a classical sense of scope & form. (So this differs from e.g. more "anthropological" productions involving zoomimesis, etc. Rather there's a focus on new, but coherent ensemble textures around four string instruments — with various other inspirations being more subsumed.) And so München does follow a line of development for this quartet, the "digital" release Kühlspot Social Club (noted here in a December 2018 discussion around Ljubljana, that album being from the trio here minus bass...) appearing on the heels of Dis/con/sent, with Ulrichsberg (as mentioned in another mini-survey of string quartets involving Rodrigues around Fantasy Eight in August 2021...) & Kompositionen (as noted briefly for its turn to graphic scores in a different October 2022 review...) both being recorded in 2021. The trio with Petzold & the two Rodrigueses hasn't recorded since Ljubljana (May 2018), but had already released Sacred Noise (a double album, recorded in 2016) & Der Sturm (digital, 2017) as well.... (And then the first mention of Petzold here was actually with the quartet album Crane Cries in April 2018 — with the conventional two violins, so unusual for this space — while the most recent specific mention was with yet another "jazz" string quartet, again with the same underlying trio, but with Jan Roder on bass, Get your own picture reviewed in January 2020.... And for Bauer, the most recent mention was with the "trombone trio" Der Dritte Stand in July 2022....) That's a lot to relate (while still only mentioning strings albums, until the last that is...). But München does show considerable development around this format, especially via its more abstract collective idiom, presenting two instant compositions that would sustain LP-length albums by themselves. (One might then press a contrast with Lisbon String Trio, another long-running Rodrigues group, but crucially featuring guests — as well as often more of a world vibe, pace jazz per se, largely excised from Dis/con/sent at this point....) The result then involves variations in intensities, some scuffling in some moments, but also soaring passages of extended four-way flow, including via novel combos of harmonics, pizzicato, etc. (Varieties of harmonics are particularly creative at times....) Dramatic to open, continuing to glimpse broad vistas, München thus reaches for symphonic senses of abstraction & "completeness," i.e. for the world of the post-Beethoven string quartet (far more than it does for classic jazz...). And while it also involves some slack, it does mostly arrive: Regarding the "instant" part, there's far more expressivity & flow here than e.g. a typical classical quartet trying to work through a novel, through-composed score.... Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts