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Derek Bailey Derek Bailey/Franz Hautzinger Review

Album. Released 2002.  

BBC Review

Free improv fun with quartertone trumpeter Huatzinger in duet with the wily old master...

Peter Marsh 2002

Derek Bailey's fondness for the duet setting has been pretty well documented in pairings with musicians as diverse as percussionist Jamie Muir to Anthony Braxton to dancer Min Tanaka. Here he teams up with Viennese quarter tone trumpeter Franz Hautzinger, whose CV includes work with Radu Malfatti, Otomo Yoshihide and the Berlin composers collective The Zeitkratzer-Ensemble.

Hautzinger's trumpet sounds nothing like a trumpet for the most part; instead, his low hums, gaseous hisses and sudden percussive flutterings come across as the workings of some gigantic, unreliable central heating system. Bailey is...well, Bailey; but Hautzinger's hermetic soundworld forces him into some of his most expansive playing.

Sticking mainly to electric guitar, his usual vocabulary of crabbed chords and resonant, stinging harmonics is spiced with insectoid scrapings and shimmering chords. "Contracts" is Bailey in minimal mode, offering poignant, almost jazz voicings under Hautzinger's breathy swoops and rumbles. "Appointment" is still more lyrical, with Hautzinger exploring the upper register, the guitarist acerbic and spindly on acoustic, as is "Krautrock" (sadly not a cover of the Faust classic). It's on this track that the pair really seem to gel, with Bailey displaying a rare moment of obvious virtuosity (yes, it is actually pretty tricky to play like this - try it sometime).

Occasionally Hautzinger drops to muted valve clicks and Derek riffs with him, as on the quicksilver interplay of "The Vietnamese Driver". Its tempting to think that this CD presents the tracks in the order they were recorded, as there does seem to be more animated interaction happening as it progresses; but maybe that's just the process of listening, attuning to the soundworld these two extraordinary musicians create.

Not for everyone, sure, but for those even vaguely interested, highly recommended.

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