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Chapter 6
group relationships, elements of theatre, silences), while a certain aesthetic connection
to jazz always remained.20 Bassists Jan Roder and 35-year-old Italian Antonio Borghini
moved in relatively limited jazz-/Free Jazz-based circles,21 and so did Christian Lillinger
- whose exuberant and energetic drumming (as often broken and clattering, as ferociously
swinging) also occasionally extended into more textural and abstract areas.22
Owing to their strong individual voices (idiosyncratic instrumental timbres, ‘licks’,
pitch materials, instrumental and interactional techniques) such musicians became
immediately recognisable after just a handful of concerts, and the same was true
of many Echtzeitmusik/(Post-)Reductionist and electronic musicians23 - 32-year-old
percussionist/accordionist Hannes Lingens pointing out that:
If Lucio [Capece] plays a long soft note on the bass clarinet I think I could
recognise him.
And, looking to fellow percussionist Burkhard Beins, describing how:
[He] has these two stones that he makes circular movements with, and then
he puts that on the drum, [and] he puts that off the drum... [If I] hear that
on a recording... I would immediately know that’s him.24
Just as Mahall and Delius mostly performed with jazz-related projects, Beins was a good
example of a relative purist of Echtzeitmusik/Post-Reductionist and electro-acoustic
circles, and he busied himself with a medium-sized spread of activities, none of which
related overtly to jazz. Even within this scope, however, Beins changed his voice (and
even his instruments) between projects - his regular improvising groups including Activity
Centre (acoustic percussion, crystal-clear, exquisitely-placed small sounds, bowed chime
bars, papers blowing in the air),25 the louder and more noise-based Perlonex (electronic
and acoustic instruments), and the duo Mensch Mensch Mensch, where the second part
of each concert consisted purely of electro-acoustic improvisation (with ‘toys’, mixing
boards and specially designed electronic instruments).26 For Beins:
Whitehead describes how, regardless of the context, Delius maintains a “furry post-[Ben] Webster
tenor sound so big and blooming you hear all the tones inside one tone, offset by modern ideas about
phrasing, harmony and form” [Whitehead, 1998, 204-5]. Delius is half-Argentinian and was born in
England, before moving to Bochum, Germany, aged 10. He also doubles on clarinet.
Borghini told me he found it difficult “to separate [musical] languages”.
As well as having played with most of the first-generation German Free Jazz musicians, Lillinger
was active with the trio Dell-Westergaard-Lillinger, which focussed on what he called Energiezustände
(energetic states) - the traditional roles of vibraphone, bass and drums subsumed in a non-hierarchical,
textural, group sound.
Turntablist JD Zazie’s repeated use of a sample of a doorbell was an obvious example, see p. 174.
See also Ekkehard Ehler’s reference to Kai Fagashinski’s clarinet sound on p. 61.
I saw Beins with varying percussion setups: one resembling a conventional drum kit, another
resembling a classical set-up with a concert bass drum turned on its side. Both were accompanied by
a selection of small objects such as zither, bows, chime bars, stones and pieces of paper, as well as a
selection of different sticks, brushes and mallets.
I saw Mensch Mensch Mensch twice, and both times it consisted of solo acoustic pieces by Beins
and trumpeter Liz Allbee, before they performed in duo, using only electronics.