Recommended: Brot & Sterne – “Tales of Herbst”


This is a potent serenity.  This is music whose imagery is so strong, it’ll compel even the most distracted, awoke listener into daydreams.  The enfolding harmonics of the hurdy-gurdy, the melodic warmth of trumpet and the mesmerizing percussion of hang drum come together on Tales of Herbst for one expression of tranquility after the other.  But this isn’t sleepytime music.  Augmenting their instruments with electronic effects, the trio’s hypnotic sound bubbles with activity and reveals an unending supply of nuance and details.  Perhaps most reflective of the approach from the trio that goes by the name of Brot & Sterne is their riveting version of the Joe Zawinul composition “In a Silent Way.”  With their unique instrumentation and singular sound, the trio doesn’t mimic the legendary Miles Davis album, but they certainly channel its spirit.  Intensely introspective, the music captivates right from the first note.  But they wind new melodic diversions around expressions of the original, and when the cadence bursts ahead, the rhythmic potential of all three primary instruments takes hold.

The source of the enchantment is in the details, and the details are everywhere on this album.  There’s the way that trumpeter Franz Hautzinger makes the melody dance on “Unterm Mostbirnenbaum,” and how Peter Rosmanith directs bursts of hang drum to modulate the tone of “Rimmal” from something unrelenting to something quite tuneful, and how the hurdy-gurdy of Matthias Loibner blurs the line between leading the melody and reshaping it after the fact.  Ultimately, however, the magic of this recording is revealed during moments when all of these elements, and more, come together in unison, and exudes a beauty greater than the sum of its individual efforts.  No better evidence of this exists than opening track “Aufbrechen” and finale “Heimweg,” and how the former piece builds intensity one small step at a time, while the latter piece dives right into a pool of serenity and never comes up for air.

A seriously mesmerizing album.

Your album personnel:  Franz Hautzinger (trumpet, electronics), Matthias Loibner (hurdy-gurdy, electronics) and Peter Rosmanith (hang, percussion).

Released on Traumton Records.

Listen to more of the album at the label’s Bandcamp page.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon | eMusic