"It continues a career-long fascination with dub reggae – Jamaica’s contribution to minimalism – where vocals were removed, drums beefed up, and then cloaked in delay and echo. Von Oswald’s greatest innovation was to take the method and apply it to techno, resulting in pan-Atlantic tracks tinged with dread." - Moritz Von Oswald; interview from The Guardian
"I was always a sound guy." - Moritz Von Oswald
It is hardest way to start writing a piece of review, for example review of Moritz Von Oswald Trio's LP. Why? Let's do this fast! We all have heard about dub techno, right? We all enjoy in deepness, repetitive bass lines and wanted those tracks to last for whole eternity. Yes Moritz Von Oswald is the key figure in German techno, band/label/genre itself, he is also the godfather of Dub Techno, lover and passionate collector of Jamaican music, one half of Basic Channel/Rhythm and Sound (with Mark Ernestus - we can talk for hours about this guy, owner of Hardwax, and creator of Dubplates and Mastering studio), Maurizio (Von Oswald's solo dub techno project), and of course Moritz Von Oswald Trio.
Mark Ernestus, Moritz Von Oswald, Sasu Rippati cca 2010
A collective of electronic music's true vanguards, whose solo project were always exploring new territory. Super groups at least in modern Pop music are always threatened to keep status quo: " just do what you are best at, do your part, and then together play one old song" - so everyone can play their part, audience's favorite .
In techno things are different, people are really, when they work together, trying to push each other more, and over the possibilities to go even further the border. So, first incarnation of bend was Von Oswald, Mark Ernestus (NSI, Sun Electric) and Sasu Rippati aka Vladisalv Delay. Von Oswald was on mixing board and rhythm machine, Rippati was behind drums, and Ernestus analog synths, synthysayzers: constatly jamming and combining Afro rhythms, dub, Jazz, electronica, ambient and space sounding passages and techno. Also we know that everyone of them pushed their own sound further and further. They still do.
One thing you got to know, the idea behind Moritz Von Oswald Trio is to jam, just like in Jazz, musicians simply play with each other, in the mold which is based around main rhythm, till the time itself simply disperce, to be forgotten. This old idea of musicians playing for no reason, only here musicians are electronic musicians with their wired, pluged-in equipment. Surely they weren't first, but absolutely they did it best, as far as you ask me... and trust me, lots of them screwed with my brain musically for most over 25 years. Idea is to take something like jazz jammin' and recording it. The same Modus Operandi is used on ALL albums.
The picture, above, made circa 2010 is pictured when first album Vertical Ascent came out. Strong industrial railway-like rhythm, but spaced out sounds and tones. In one moment you could hear something like rocket ship ascending, and then the rest of the album went into more space-y, more free float-y atmosphere. So for me it was storytelling from the industrial revolution to the space traveling.
Second album was a little bit lighter with the rhythm sections then previous. But more dubby and influenced by Caribbean rhythms. Even some of other musicians joined the crew: Paul St Hilaire - long time Rhythm and Sound collaborator, on guitar that gave you that mellow, relaxed feeling (and of course it's delay-ed and reverb-ed), and also on the second guitar there was Tobias Freund (whose name is associated with, mostly Ostgut Ton, and other labels and releases, also master of production and mastering - aka Tobias., or his collaboration with Atom TM, NSI with (Max Ernestus) was also playing a guitar.
Horizontal Structures in one moment takes us, from Caribbean techno suddenly goes to our Megapolises, and it's perfect soundtrack for observating the Sun - reflecting from skyscrapers and glass. So it's no wonder lots of sounds that reminds on steel and breaking the glass.
Well Fetch was the album that didn't grab my attention as first two. Formulaic isn't a bed word in here. They add some more live instruments like Flute, Saxophone and Clarinet. It's more melodic, and maybe more dubby. Sure, I recommend it, but as I said I didn't spend more time with it to catch more from it, maybe you will.
But if you want to hear it how all that sounds live, how their compositions sound before live audience, which is recorded and released too. An interesting live album and I considerate it more funnier than others LP's. Main technician behind main mixer is legendary Francoise Kevorkian who sometimes mixes some samples live. Also worth of mentioning, you can hear cheers from the crowd, in the moment when Carl Craig join the rest of the band to play some keyboards. Those 40 minutes (39:40 to be exact) are thrilling and show how they perfectly operate in live environments. Pure joy.
But Sounding Lines brings some changes. First of all Sasu Rippati is not involved in project, but there is drummer, a drummer that, I'm sure you will place him in top 10 drummers of the world ever: Tony Allen.
I think he don't need any introduction (but who needs there is link on his name). And yes, with Tony Allen's involvement sound evolved, especially on rhythms. Rhythms are changed, they become slightly aggressive and funky. Some reviwers said that Von Oswald restrain Allen, something like:" He have one of largest living drummer on the world and he didn't gave him chance to show his full potential." Tony Allen really incorporate himself into what Moritz Von Oswald Trio does. Album is more danceable than others. Tracks are faster, except in Sounding Line 4 which is space, slow dub track, and Sounding Line 5 (Spectre), dubby and jazzy ambient excursion into afterlife. Maybe the best track on whole album - there is something voodoo and outer this dimension of life inside it.
And when I describe all albums of Moritz Von Oswald Trio's career, you know what you can expect; sorry you can only guess. It's masters at play. Very serious play. These all texts could stand in one sentence: Techno, Dub and Jazz played by the people who loves it, and do that all their lives, do that with such easyness and perfection.
I find this on the internet, and if anyone is interested in original Moritz Von Oswald mixing deck, here is your chance to get it here.