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Horizontal Structures

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Album Review

On their second studio album together, Moritz von Oswald (programming, keyboards, percussion), Vladislav Delay (percussion), and Max Loderbauer (sequencer, synthesizer) are joined by guitarist Paul St. Hilaire (a frequent collaborator with von Oswald's Rhythm & Sound) and double bassist Marc Muellbauer. The new elements do not obscure the trio’s potency as improvisational hypnotists. St. Hilaire's presence is rather slight, providing gentle, sometimes circular prickles. Muellbauer anchors the majority of the 15-minute “Structure 2” with a furtive dub bassline as the other instruments swarm and tap around him; on “Structure 4,” the busiest track, his role is very different, providing interjections that are percussive more than anything else. Von Oswald, Delay, and Loderbauer are accommodating, playing more openly here than on Vertical Ascent. There is no clutter — just immaculately sculpted and pared-down improvisations that reveal deep nuances with each play. As is the case with the trio’s debut, nothing will throw the listener around the room: the most violent sound in the hour-long set comes from a thumped tambourine (or something like it). But it’s all quietly dazzling, a sinuous fusion of jazz, dub, and techno that pulls from German, African, Jamaican, and Latin forms without the slightest hint of stuffiness.

Biography

Born: 1962 in Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Prior to becoming one of the leading figures in electronic music in the 1990s, Moritz von Oswald was a Berlin-area percussionist who played in one of the last incarnations of Palais Schaumburg and worked on LPs by Holger Hiller and the Associates. By the end of the decade, he'd made the leap from drummer to producer, working with fellow Palais Schaumburg member Thomas Fehlmann as 3MB, the in-house production team at Berlin's Tresor Records. While involved with Tresor, von Oswald recorded with Detroit...
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Horizontal Structures, Moritz Von Oswald Trio
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