Oguz BŁyŁkberber/Tobias Klein
A cover whose various images look quite anonymous and nondescript, and whose connection
to the material featured on the album appears to be non-existent to me (and why
didn't they use a few pictures of the musicians shown while playing their
instruments, or some liner notes about the recording process?) is the
inadequate presentation of some of the finest music I've listened to in the
last few months.
at a bit above 55' - by no means short, Reverse Camouflage will intrigue
and fascinate listeners, with a fine recorded sound (the music was recorded by BŁyŁkberber and Klein, with mixing and mastering
work done by sound engineer Micha de Kanter), a vivacious timbral palette, a
fine sense of balance between improvisation and composition, a stylistic
variety that doesn't detract from a sense of unity and coherence, and an astute
use of overdubbing that greatly benefits the whole.
my fear of finding a small crowd of angry readers carrying big sticks waiting
for me as I come home at night that prevents me from calling this album
"surprisingly accessible", though I really think it is, thanks to a
clarity of ideas and a distillation process of what's played, thanks to what I
imagine to be a long process of synthesis. (An album like this can only be the
result of a long past work done together, even if the cover doesn't say.)
years ago, the bizarre album called President Of The Globe made it possible for
me to "discover" (alto) sax and clarinet player Tobias Klein. While
my knowledge of the work by Oguz BŁyŁkberber is quite more recent, and a lot more "selective". Reverse Camouflage features both Klein and BŁyŁkberber on
clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet. The liner notes don't say on
which side of the stereo spread they appear, and my familiarity with their
timbre is not enough to make me guess. As it's to be expected, the timbral
palette is on the "dark" side, but timbres go all the way towards the
alto sax and tenor sax realm, with squeaks, reed overtones in the flute range,
and "noises" that say that we are listening to an album of
Jazz is obviously featured as a language, with a few moments
showing literal connections, and no fear whatsoever of appearing tonally
predictable. While there are also sound explorations, "dancing"
rhythms, and a palette of styles that are carefully executed and far from being
Listeners are invited to a first-hand exploration of this album.
What follows is just a list of a few noteworthy moments among many.
travels between the "Ethnic" and the "Blues", in the
territory between berimbau and mouth harp, with a time signature that reminded
me of a "looped" figure, with echoes of tenor sax and conch shell. A
track that's obviously composed.
opens rubato, halfway between Eric Dolphy (mostly for the timbre of the sound
palette) and Thelonious Monk (mostly for reminding me of the mood of the
original version of 'Round Midnight). Here the clarinets are engaged in a fine
offers a framework with percussive and blowing air elements, with apparent use
of overdubbing. Then, instruments play unison, with a "beating
oscillators" effect that reminded me of the work done by Richard Teitelbaum
on the modular Moog on the album Time Zones. A pointillistic episode follows.
There's another "oscillator" episode. A written track that makes fine
use of its duration.
offers an agitated mood, with a fine contrast between a "free-sounding
saxophone" and a "chamber-like" counterpoint. Fine use of
starts with a "free-sounding" palette, ŗ la Rova. There's a fine
variety of timbres and "characters". There's a fine melodic phrase,
and a melodic dialogue.
has a percussive start, with reed squeaks. There's an agile rhythmic figure
that sounds quite "Brazilian" to me. What follows underlines the
percussive nature of the track, which - though quite accessible - is much
easier to listen to than to describe.
offers a "light", "cool-sounding", melody, whose rhythmic
development is made less predictable by the work of the other clarinet. After a
brief episode featuring "held" notes, the instruments change roles.
(That's what it sounds like to me!)
features an arpeggio clarinet, with the other instrument that appears to
comment, after a delay, on what the first instrument just said. It reminded me
of Rova, or a string quartet. Then there's a "B" section that's more
"lyrical"-sounding, quite "hushed".
features a "lyrical-sounding" solo instrument sounding halfway
between a flute and a clarinet with a percussive/meditating counterpoint coming
from the other side. The "cloth" becomes progressively more
"dense"-sounding and "Braxton-like", with the whole that
would appear more "traditional" with the backing of a rhythm section.
A fine use of overdubbing creates a "swinging" reed section full of
features a soft-, light-sounding pedal (as per its title?), fading in. (In a
way, it could be said to be somewhat similar to Roscoe Mitchell's Tnoona, but
without the drama.)
sounds surprisingly "funky", with the bass clarinet to the fore and a
very fine solo part. There's a very strong percussive element, with a
"berimbau" and various percussion.
features a very "traditional-sounding" unison that reminded me of the
famous Eric Dolphy track Something Sweet, Something Tender (off Out To Lunch,
1964). Two clarinets engaged in a lyrical dialogue.
starts with "subwoofer" sounds, a meditation for low tones, then a
low-sounding pedal growing in volume. Bass unison. Long drones. There's a
"cut" at about 4' 20", with a "Hopper-like" melody and
an ascending development. At about 5' 50" a vivacious rhythm in the bass register,
then starting at 6' 26" sound lines like a synth with generous use of an
LFO. A fine composed episode that brings the album to an appropriate close.
© Beppe Colli 2016
CloudsandClocks.net | Mar. 17, 2016
P. S. 23/03/16:
Today I received a message from Tobias Klein, stating that - in so, differently from what I assumed - there are no overdubs on this album.