Tiny Reviews: Menschmaschine, MSV Brecht, John Moulder, & Kyle Bruckmann

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Menschmaschine Hand Werk, MSV Brecht Hippie Tunes, John Moulder Quintet The 11th Hour: Live at the Green Mill, Kyle Bruckmann Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack: Cracked Refraction.


Menschmaschine – Hand Werk

Menschmaschine is a Swiss jazz ensemble that wears their love of Kraftwerk on their sleeves. Two feet very much in the modern Euro-jazz sound, they’ve constructed a series of unavoidably catchy tunes.  Even when they run willingly off the jazz reservation, they inevitably return, bringing both the song and the melody with them.  Some occasional vocals, which shouldn’t scare off anyone who prefers their jazz to be without; the vocals here are quite enjoyable, and since they tend to show up more often than not in the tracks that stray away from jazz, that should mitigate your reservations.

Your album personnel:  Christoph Utzinger (bass), Kevin Chesham (drums), Oli Kuster (piano), and Domenic Landolf (tenor sax & bass clarinet), and Nadja Stoller (vocals, looper, blockflote, glockenspiel).

Really a fun album, that I’ve enjoyed for a little over a month (as of publish date).  Music that’s lively and unpredictable.

Released on the Meta Records (Germany) label.  Jazz from Switzerland.

Available on eMusic.


MSV Brecht – Hippie Tunes

MSV Brecht is a Berlin quartet of sax/clarinet, guitar, bass, and drums.  They’ve got a Euro-jazz jazz-rock fusion thing going on.  What that means is that it’s introverted music that’s good for staring out windows at rainy day landscapes, but has way too much kick to actually fall asleep to it.  It also means that it’s gonna sound more like indie rock, at times, than anything resembling jazz.  Warm sweater sax notes and drifting melodies, guitar that sometimes hums, sometimes screams, percussion that doesn’t settle for just-good-enough, and some nice matching of clarinet and bass.

Your album personnel: Timo Vollbrecht (tenor sax, clarinet), Peter Meyer (guitar), Bernhard Meyer (bass), and Hanno Stick (drums).

Jazz fans, if you like Brian Blade’s Perceptual, you might find something to like here. Rock/Indie fans, if you like the Doves Last Broadcast, give this album a run.

Released on the Unit Records label.  Jazz from the Berlin, Germany scene.

Available on eMusic.


John Moulder Quintet – The 11th Hour: Live at the Green Mill

Backed by saxophonist Geof Bradfield (who also doubles on bass clarinet), pianist Jim Trompeter, Larry Gray on bass, and long-time collaborator Paul Wertico on drums, guitarist John Moulder presents an excellent live set from Chicago’s historical jazz venue, The Green Mill. Moulder has emerged as one of the unique voices on jazz guitar, equally comfortable showing a face of quiet solitude as he is of sharpened steel. No better representation of that is on the album’s final song “Time Being”, with Moulder’s mesmerizing guitar lines giving lift to Bradfield’s heartbreaking opening notes on sax, and then closing with rock-like heat that could make the sun blush with embarrassment. Moulder uses both acoustic and electric guitars on this set. Sound is solid for a live recording, and the sounds of the Green Mill, when they hit the audio, enhance the listening experience rather than step over it.

Your album personnel:  John Moulder (electric & acoustic guitars), Geof Bradfield (saxophones, bass clarinet), Jim Trompeter (piano), Larry Gray (bass), and Paul Wertico (drums).

Released on the Origin/OA2 Records label.  Jazz from the Chicago scene.

Download a free album track at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artist and label.

You can read a more comprehensive album review I wrote for AllAboutJazz, HERE.

Available at eMusic.


Kyle Bruckmann – Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack: Cracked Refraction

An intriguing session with Kyle Bruckmann on oboe & English horn, and backed by bass clarinet, viola, percussion, and bass. A little bit jazz, a little bit nu-classical, a little bit avant-garde, and now there’s enough ingredients to make this an unclassifiable dish with an addictive taste. Some compositions have the frenetic pace of a horror movie chase scene, and some compositions only need two lovers and a pastoral scene in the countryside to make it complete. Back in Chicago, Bruckmann had his hands in disparate projects, including classical, post-punk, free jazz and electronic experimental, so it’s no surprise that this album pretty much shatters boundaries on sight.

Your album personnel:  Kyle Bruckmann (oboe, English horn), Tim Daisy (percussion), Anton Hatwich (bass), Jen Clare Paulson (viola), and Jason Stein (bass clarinet).

Released on the Porter Records label.  Music from the Oakland, CA scene.

Available at eMusic.


That’s it for today’s article, and the third of three parts of the Tiny Reviews from this batch of new arrivals.

Here’s some language to protect emusic’s rights as the one to hire me originally to scour through the jazz new arrivals and write about the ones I like:

New Arrivals Jazz Picks“, courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

My thanks to emusic for the freelance writing gig, the opportunity to use it in this blog, and the editorial freedom to help spread the word about cool new jazz being recorded today.