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Spaltklang - In Between CD (album) cover

IN BETWEEN

Spaltklang

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.71 | 5 ratings

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memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Review originally written for www.therocktologist.com

This is the fifth studio album from Spaltklang, a Swizz act led by mastermind Markus Stauss, who I've been in touch with since some years ago, exploring into his several musical projects in which Spaltklang is included, of course. His jazz and improvisation tendencies have led him to create interesting and challenging music, which is not truly easy to dig, but once you are into it, you cannot escape. This happens with this band. I've had the chance to listening and reviewing to their previous three CDs, which I've found great, and now I have the opportunity to write about "In Between", a five-song album that changed a bit the direction of Spaltklang, with the addition of Francesco Zago, a long-time friend of Stauss, and a wonderful musician.

What first caught my attention about this albums, was the length of the songs, because in the previous ones there were not so many tracks over the ten-minute range, and this time 4 out of 5 tracks are over that 10-minute mark, while the other lasts 9:30 minutes, so though the musical vein might be the same, this time Spaltklang changed a bit its style, morphing into a deeper improve-like jazz fusion tune. That explosion can be discovered in the first moments of "Look for, which clearly show the tendency of this particular album. In those 12 minutes we can find several changes, several stops and go`s, parts where the music flows and others where the winds create dark passages, sometimes accompanied by drums and bass, adding that rhythm which sometimes is simply lost somewhere.

The second song is "In Between", the title track is rockier, here the addition of the guitar puts different textures, however, don't expect a song easier to dig, no, it does not have a true rhythm, its structure vanishes and then we can listen to saxes here and there, with lots of stops, of silences, creating a kind of somber tension, which in moments might bore you. Better moments come later, but this song was not my true love, to be honest.

In "4 Elements" the sax sounds first, later drums join, and some seconds later the guitar also makes its contribution, here the song does have a rhythm, which is closer to jazz and more enjoyable than the previous tracks, by the way. What I like of this song is that it caught my attention since the first seconds, and its cadence, movement and even joy, made me feel comfortable during the whole 12 minutes. It is obvious that you will find some free jazz moments, some changes in mood and tempo, but the interest here prevails, fortunately.

"A Suite" is as you guess, yet another suite, this time reaching the 10-minute mark. The jazz tendency is clear again, and clearer the tendency to the winds, though here the bass plays a more important role than in the previous tracks, at least here I listen to a bass player freer, it transmits good energy and vibes, After four minutes there is a stop, silence and then new elements are brought, so we can expect a new structure or something like that, anyway, in moments the restructuration is so slow, that one could close the eyes and fall asleep. That middle part is not the brightest, however, the band compensates it when the music returns to its origin, with that nice bass sound and the chat between winds.

And finally "Ural Fragment" which is a slow free jazz track, which is also a long one, so if you feel the album has been slow and difficult to dig, here you will get crazy. Honestly I prefer the Spaltklang with shorter tracks, I felt more involved with them, with these ones, sometimes I just can match with the music, in moments my mind loses it interest with the music and focus in another things, which of course I assume it is not the goal of the music. So in moments I felt tired, and now with this last song, I sad "really, another long one?", though I must confess I like its crazy guitar moment after the fifth minute.

I am sorry Markuss, you may have expected a better rating, but I think so far this is my least favorite Spaltklang album, or maybe I just need more time and get used to its new format. My rate, 3 stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |

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